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Jesus said, “I will build My Church…” There is a single organization that teaches the entire truth of the Bible, and is called to live by “every word of God.” Do you know how to find it? Christ said it would:

  • Teach “all things” He commanded
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About the Author
David C. Pack 

Founder and Pastor General of The Restored Church of God, Editor-in-Chief of The Real Truth magazine, and voice of The World to Come program, David C. Pack has reached many millions around the globe with the most powerful truths of the Bible—unknown to almost all. He has authored 80 books and booklets, personally established over 50 congregations, and appeared as a guest on The History Channel. Mr. Pack attended Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, entered the Worldwide Church of God ministry in 1971, and was personally trained by its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong.

The Bible’s Greatest Prophecies Unlocked!

A Voice Cries Out

by David C. Pack

The Bible’s very greatest prophecies are on the threshold of fulfillment, with some already underway. They will soon explode with a force far beyond what anyone anticipates, including religious leaders, theologians, prophecy watchers and “experts” who think themselves in the know! The time for understanding colossal prophecies—history written in advance—has come! You can comprehend all that lies ahead. After reading this book, you will. Described in Scripture as “closed up and sealed till the time of the end,” knowledge of awesome future events has been opened, revealed and explained. Incredible prophecies now thunder a powerful warning to all who will hear and heed!


There is gnawing concern on the minds of millions about the course of human events. As world trends and conditions grow worse, and ever more confusing and complex, uncertainty is increasing—and worry is deepening—about what lies ahead for all mankind.

Towering questions loom over every nation!

Everyone wants to know what the future holds. So many are confused, not knowing where to turn for answers to the great questions about the future!

Suppose you could know the direction and conclusion of world events—world history—in advance of the outcome. What if you could know the courses of nations before they happen? What if the future of great nations—indeed the greatest nations—could be known? Imagine knowing tomorrow’s biggest headlines before they come to pass, and how events will affect you, and every human being, personally.

Approximately one-third of the Bible is prophecy—history written in advance. Over four-fifths of this future history is yet to be fulfilled. Tragically, most Bible readers are completely unaware of awesome, impending world events, soon to involve all nations. Vast sections of Scripture are hidden, and remain outside their understanding—completely lost to them. The result is that most simply have no idea what the future holds.

Many have opinions, but few recognize how to find the answers. Others think they already understand the prophecies of the Bible. The result? They remain ignorant of fascinating, incredible—vital!—knowledge, life-changing knowledge.

No book you have read, or ever will, on prophecy is like this one. Different from all others on the subject, it is destined to be read by vast numbers—and probably soon.

Ominous Signs Abound

Turmoil, fear and confusion now grip all nations of the world. Terrorism, economic upheaval and resultant widespread uncertainty are everywhere. Many sense that the differences between and within nations are intensifying and are threatening to spin out of control. New and different power blocs are forming, with traditional alliances wavering, waning or disappearing.

Ominous signs of grave difficulty in resolving humanity’s most fundamental problems abound. Many sense that the world is hurtling toward trouble, even possibly terrible calamity. Disease, famine and war sweep the planet as never before. New diseases are continually emerging and old ones are re-emerging worse than ever. Famine now decimates entire segments of local populations. Weapons of mass destruction, so incomprehensibly lethal and devastating that they boggle the mind, now threaten humanity—also as never before. Many nations are learning to live “on alert” to terrorist cells, which can strike anywhere without notice.

World conditions, events and trends speak daily in frightening terms about how things could quickly turn in the wrong direction. The future of nations, including the greatest nations, hangs in the balance. History shows that all the great civilizations eventually crashed, having become decadent, awash in material prosperity and greed—and educated in wrong knowledge. This can happen again!

Now think of poverty, illiteracy, disasters of every kind, violence, religious division and confusion, governments collapsing or under siege, increasing riots and protests, shortages of food and drinking water, shallow, pleasure-driven, immoral entertainment, breakdown of family values—and of virtually all other values held sacred for generations—that fill the headlines of newspapers and newscasts.

Then there are the stunning events and conditions throughout the financial world that are affecting every nation. One development after another—virtually all of them bad!—are impacting both Wall Street and Main Street. The effects are seen in tight credit, global stock markets, banks and other lending institutions, rising unemployment, rising inflation, rising fuel prices, declining retirement and pension funds, fallen home values, frozen business and home equity lines, corporate bankruptcies and bailouts—as well as the projected budget deficits of city, state and federal governments, in America and many other countries. These also have a rippling effect through all levels of politics in every democratic or Western nation. The entire global economy is being regularly revisited, reviewed and revised, with many acknowledging they simply do not know what to do next.

Where is it all going?

No Solutions

The question of what lies ahead for the whole world has become the very greatest question today. Millions are searching—wondering about the course of events. More and more world leaders are also expressing pessimism about the rise of troubles, evils, ills and woes also both within and between nations, including those that are the most powerful. So are educators, military planners, sociologists and scientists.

With all nations of Earth increasingly overwhelmed by a complicated and worsening array of difficulties confronting and challenging them, the greatest thinkers are being employed to find answers—solutions! The problem? There are no solutions to any of the world’s biggest problems anywhere on the horizon, but rather only new ideas that never seem to work!

Of course, many are unmoved—not concerned—about the tumultuous events surrounding them, trusting that things will work out in the end “because they always do.” Also believing things will eventually “turn out all right,” others close their eyes, choosing to pursue pleasure and the accumulation of material goods at an even more frantic pace. But for the short term, things will not turn out all right. World conditions are and will become far more serious than any imagine.

Almighty God will soon have to intervene and save humanity from itself. But before this occurs, world trouble will greatly increase—intensifying to staggering proportions. This will be followed by unexpected and cataclysmic events that will shake the whole world, affecting the life of every human being on Earth! Events are building to a final culmination—a tremendous climax! Nothing that has occurred over the past 6,000 years even remotely compares to what is yet to come upon this world! Civilization, as we know it, will change forever.

Countless Ideas—One Authority!

Knowing something is terribly wrong, many sense the world has reached what the Bible calls the “last days.” This has caused a mushrooming of interest in prophecy.

A growing percentage of thinking people are now asking whether the answers lie in the realm of biblical prophecy. We hear from them every day, and from all over the world. In effect, a market has developed for information. With opinions everywhere, books about prophecy now abound. Just count the number of volumes about this subject within the expanding “Christianity” sections of major bookstores. Again, there has been an explosion of books presenting popular scenarios, ideas, theories, suppositions and interpretations of “how it will all play out.”

Millions of people now routinely discuss terms such as “Antichrist,” “Great Tribulation,” “Millennium,” “Armageddon,” “Beast,” “Mark of the Beast,” “666,” “False Prophet,” “God’s Wrath,” “Abomination of Desolation,” “Babylon the Great” and others, without proper context, meaning or comprehension. Again, they simply do not know where or how to look within God’s Word to get correct understanding of what these and other terms mean, and how they will play out, sequentially, within God’s Master Plan for the end of the age. Like a kind of “Rubik’s Cube,” the many critical elements of prophecy never line up—never come together—for millions wanting to know. This is because, instead of examining for themselves the hundreds of clear scriptures on these and other aspects of prophecy—for proof—many seem content to trust in “experts.”

These supposed experts have set themselves up as authorities on Bible prophecy. There are fiction writers, history-based writers, technical commentators, “mathematicians” and “code experts,” as well as a nearly endless stream of outright false prophets, phony prognosticators, crystal ball gazers and self-proclaimed seers and psychics spewing little more than ignorant confusion on unwitting, but willing, listeners and readers.

When understood, all popular human interpretations of Bible prophecy are ridiculous—a complete jumble of ideas where a little truth is mixed with much error. They are almost painful to read—yet large numbers now subscribe to dangerous, counterfeit scenarios. Those sincerely interested in learning the truth remain tangled in a Gordian knot of disjointed, confusing, competing—and plain wrong!—popular ideas and opinions.

This is because none knows how to understand—either how to use, or even that there are, keys to unlocking climactic Bible prophecies.

But who is an authority? Who really knows?—who really understands what the future holds as outlined in the Bible? While religion should hold the answers, it has not even figured out most of the questions—and, when understood, is seen to be the biggest part of the problem. However sincere at least some preachers and religionists may be, all of their publications merely add to the confusion offered to those desperately seeking answers in all the wrong places.

What is the truth about prophecy? What does the Bible really say about events preceding Christ’s Return? Sobering world conditions make this question larger than ever.

The Keys to Understanding

Most who write about the Bible do not realize that this Book interprets itself, that if a symbol is mentioned within a prophecy—any prophecy!—and virtually every prophecy involves symbols—the Author of this greatest of books would not leave the most crucial questions, those involving all humanity, subject to human interpretation. He would provide clues—necessary vital keys!—to understanding the large portions of His Word devoted to future events. He would also make known that He is the Author of the Bible. And He would make absolutely clear that the Bible is a book backed by His authority—that it is His divinely revealed instruction book—and that this need not merely be “accepted on faith.”

God would provide proof of all the things He says!

The Bible commands its readers: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thes. 5:21). This certainly applies to prophecy. You will find that what the chapters ahead explain can be proven—that it is not just opinion from one more ill-informed, self-appointed “expert.”

Tragically, most who read the Bible remain in near total ignorance of its meaning, including being completely unable to recognize the speed, sequence and seriousness—and the awesome magnitude!—of certain onrushing prophecies. And again this is on top of not truly comprehending what any of them actually means!

So many just cannot untangle the maze of what happens when, as well as where and to whom—and why.

The Questions

In pursuit of the truth, some people never seem able to correctly identify the questions that must be answered to get to it. They cannot create a road map to their destination. They stumble around “ever learning” but “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim. 3:7) of a matter. If we are to answer the great questions about Bible prophecy, we must first correctly identify them—carefully spell them out. Then we must understand why they are important, and be unwilling to accept any but proven facts, whether from God’s Word or history.

All that is written in the coming chapters is the truth about the greatest prophecies of the Bible. This book presents numerous facts, much evidence and real proof in answering the many questions that one might have—that one should have.

Realize that every explanation of a biblical teaching has a reasonable and natural limit, or it could almost go on without end. This is true of prophecy. But this subject also cannot be shortchanged. Its explanation must be conclusive. Therefore, this book has been written in thorough fashion. The reader will be left with inescapable conclusions—answers!—to all the crucial questions regarding Bible prophecy.

Many Bible Prophecies

Here are but a few examples of questions (a great many others appear as the book develops): Many wonder if the world has entered what is called the “end time.” How can you know if this time has come, and if it has, what does this mean?—for you and the rest of the world?

Then there is the Middle East, the region prophesied thousands of years ago to lie at the center of the very biggest—the most planet-rattling—and shattering!—events ever to occur on Earth! While some Bible students seem to sense at least this much, they do not know in any detail what these events are, or why they will come. Others seem to know the Middle East should be avoided at some point, but assume the rest of the world will be largely “okay.”

Of course, the book of Revelation evokes an endless stream of questions about its meaning and purpose. The last book of the Bible stands shrouded in mystery to almost all who read it. Seen as filled with terms—metaphors, symbols and descriptive language—that seem impossible to decipher, many lose hope that they will ever understand even its most basic messages.

Within Revelation is the often talked about, but almost universally misunderstood, mysterious “beast.” Who or what is this multi-headed, strange and fierce-looking beast?—and who (or what) is the “woman” that rides it? Then, what is the dreaded “mark of the beast”? The Beast of Revelation is the topic of countless speculative books promoting popular theories—but they are all terribly, even disastrously, wrong!

What about the meaning and timing of the infamous battle of Armageddon—and the lead-up of events surrounding it—as well as the abomination of desolation, the four horsemen, the seven seals, the antichrist, the great tribulation, the day of the Lord, the 144,000 and the great multitude...and so many other topics mentioned either in Revelation or by various prophets of the Old Testament?

These are just some of the greatest questions.

The Last Days—and a Way of Escape

Jesus Christ foretold that immediately preceding His Return these and other prophecies would slam into a completely unsuspecting, unprepared world. Here is what He told His disciples: “And take heed…lest…that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34-35).

These are truly stunning words. Yet, most do not concern themselves with conditions and events that Jesus plainly states will affect everyone on the entirety of the planet—“all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth”—and that these things are to occur without notice or warning, as with a snare.

Jesus continued in Luke with this all-important instruction—for those who are listening (heeding): “Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (vs. 36).

Are you concerned about a prophecy of such magnitude?—one with so much at stake for every man, woman and child alive today? You can escape what lies ahead. You need not fear—if you do exactly what God instructs.

The Sign of Christ’s Coming

In the Matthew 24 parallel of Luke 21, Jesus went on to spend this chapter, and all of chapter 25, explaining exactly what would occur—what the careful Bible student should be looking for and expect—before His Coming.

So then, naturally following this is the most central, all-important question that should be on the minds of all who care about these prophecies—“Can I escape what is coming, and, if so, how?” In the chapters ahead, you will find the answers to these and many related questions—straight from the pages of your Bible.

There is a related group in all of this who, not knowing God’s supreme purpose—His master plan—believe that the meaning of gigantic prophecies is permanently sealed. These seem to think that God would inspire a host of very specific prophecies, large and small, and have them recorded—but never intend anyone actually know their meaning. Isaiah 29, verses 11-12, is its own prophecy of—first—how some would say all prophecy is “sealed,” and—second—how others would openly profess themselves “unlearned”—ignorant!—and thus unable to know God’s intended meaning. Take time to read this passage.

However ridiculous, these are positions held by many millions who describe themselves as Christians! Obviously, these would be little concerned with escaping that which they neither know nor understand—nor think can be understood.

You can know the plain truth answers to all crucial questions about the future—in fact, you should! And they are all laid out right there on the pages of your Bible! Like so many pieces of a large puzzle that only make sense when fully assembled, each of these questions and others represent a part of a bigger picture, one that is shocking far beyond the imagination of those who think they know the meaning of Bible prophecy.

However, you must come to recognize that this picture not only speaks to the bad news of the near future, but also to the marvelous good news just beyond in store for a world desperately in need of this news. It is the awe-inspiring hidden knowledge presented within the true gospel—the real Message that Jesus Christ the Messenger brought! This understanding overarches everything you can learn about the Bible.

The Greatest Prophecies

The Bible’s very biggest prophecies are on the threshold of fulfillment, with the early effects of some already underway. They will soon crash and explode with a force completely beyond what anyone anticipates, including “prophecy watchers” who think themselves in the know and on God’s inside track!

The time for understanding these colossal prophecies has come! You can comprehend the message they bring. And after reading this book, you will—I repeat, if you are resolved to do what God requires.

In a few pages—and this will be hard to believe—you have already learned more about the truth of Bible prophecy—just in correct terms alone—than most will ever know. But this is only the barest introduction to the subject. Again, one full third of the Bible, prophecy is a topic that requires all the many chapters comprising this book.

When a large subject is being covered in detail, sometimes a reference of varying size to a connected or related subject must be made. The book does this often. (It also repeats certain crucial scriptures in different contexts.) This could happen more than once—or even many times—with a topic until that topic is eventually covered somewhere in its own greater detail. The Table of Contents will let the reader know when this is scheduled to occur. Do not let these references pull you prematurely to later chapters. The correct view of any prophetic topic involves much setup—and context—to be properly understood.

If you are serious about understanding the future, the book should be read twice. The first time is for flow of events and overall understanding. The second should be done more slowly and for more careful examination of facts and verses cited.

The book builds in layers, and the reader does himself a disservice by hopping around. Chapters must be read in order! This book builds toward tremendous understanding—and at many points as it develops. In fact, no other book on prophecy even comes close to the impact of this one.

I repeat: You are holding one of the most important volumes you could read. It is written with a tone of urgency and pulls no punches. After a point in your reading, you will be unable to put the book down. (Chapters Thirteen through Eighteen alone will prove this.) What it reveals is so compelling, so powerful, so clear—and so provable!—you will fight anger over the mass deception that has been perpetrated on you—and is still being foisted on millions around you.

You are about to see prophecy made clear—the very biggest and most crucial elements of it—all of them—made easy to understand through use of plain language. You will be intrigued—truly fascinated—by what can be known about the future, and will close this book with a firm grasp of everything that is about to happen on planet Earth. Necessarily covered from every conceivable angle, these prophecies will be obvious in meaning to all who sincerely seek to understand—and act upon—what is learned. In the chapters ahead, you will see the Bible’s greatest prophecies unlocked!

Crucial foundation must first be put in place—layer by layer…

Chapter One – Why Prophecy!

Any study of prophecy begins with the simple definition of what prophecy is. Most lack an understanding of even this most basic knowledge. Bible prophecy is “the inspired, divine revelation or foretelling of historical events, written in advance of those events, pertaining to the unfolding of God’s Plan for mankind.” A shorter definition is simply “foretelling the future.”

Prophecy is factual history recorded in advance! God foretells major events before they happen. He wants His servants to know what the future holds—what lies ahead for the world. The Bible is approximately 750,000 words. This means that 250,000 words are devoted to prophecy. Over 80 percent is yet to be fulfilled. Therefore, many major events must yet come to pass.

Before examining in detail the array of events foretold to occur, we must ask: What possible purpose would God have for devoting a full third of His divine Word to a subject—any subject—and then leave mankind in the dark about it?

Prophecy Only Understood by Christ’s Servants

Many have been taught or believe that it has always been God’s intention to leave all prophecy sealed, closed from understanding.

However, the very introduction to the book of Revelation shows God’s intent is to reveal to “His servants” what lies ahead for all nations. The apostle John begins recording Christ’s words with, “The Revelation [a revealing] of Jesus Christ [not John] show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass...signified...unto His servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ...Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Rev. 1:1-3).

At the end of Revelation it states this for emphasis: “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand” (22:10).

How many have noticed this? Then, even more important, is how many have concerned themselves with whether or not they truly are God’s servants? Do not be so sure you know who is and is not.

Obviously, none can “keep” the prophecies of Revelation, or any others, unless they understand them. God must provide the necessary clues to understanding all that lies ahead. We will examine these.

Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13 are all parallel accounts of what is called the Olivet Prophecy. This all-important prophecy works in combination with the books of Revelation and Daniel. It puts in sequence events that span the entire period from Christ’s First Coming until His Return, almost 2,000 years later.

Most have not understood the events of this long prophecy because they do not understand how keys unlock it—and they do not understand that Jesus spoke it “privately” to only His disciples—“His servants” (Rev. 1:1). This must be understood because it identifies who are and are not able to really comprehend what lies ahead for the world!

Matthew 24 uses the most detail, so we look there, where the prophecy starts in verse 3. (Because of its central importance, note that this chapter will be referenced as much as any other in the Bible.) Now notice: “As He sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world [age]?”

In verse 4, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” Jesus goes straight to the problem that would exist at the end—there are many deceivers at work today. How many people are doing what He said, and taking heed? How many are carefully doing their homework regarding men claiming to represent God?

There are an ever-increasing number of “prophets” arising, exactly as Christ warned three times (just in Matthew 24) would occur at the end of the age. Also, just as He warned, “many will be [and are being] deceived.” Most are not aware of this phenomenon—and its impact in all corners of Christianity.

Next consider verse 15, which concludes referring to “Daniel the prophet” and the admonition “whoso reads, let him understand.” Most today do not—and will not—understand the events soon to smash into civilization. Here is one big reason. God’s servants obey Him (Acts 5:32). Understanding flows directly from obedience to God: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments” (Psa. 111:10).

Grasp this. All real understanding of God’s Plan and spiritual truth comes from God. It is only the action of His Spirit that opens one’s eyes. Notice: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (Eph. 1:17-18).

All who yield themselves in obedience to God, wishing to be His disciples—His servants—will be able to understand all the great prophecies to be fulfilled in the last days! Professing Christianity refuses to obey God, rejects His authority over them—and remains blind as a result. No amount of trying to understand will unlock God’s purpose to those who ignore His commands.

This is the great first key to grasping the meaning of major biblical prophecies. They are intended for, and will only be understood by, God’s people. All others will remain in confusion, mangling and misunderstanding the horrific, world-shattering events that will soon directly impact every person on the planet!

All Prophecy Sealed Until “the End”

There is a crucial second key that must be identified, and understood, by all seeking to grasp God’s end-time purpose. Without it, nations have remained in total blindness regarding even the question of human survival. Scales cover their eyes. Of course, unable to understand, cynics and skeptics have dismissed all the prophecies of the Old Testament as dusty, antiquated, “old Hebrew literature and poetry, of no use to us today.”

They will soon learn how terribly wrong they have been!

Now note this second key well, for almost none have understood it. All the major prophecies of the Bible have been sealed by God until the “time of the end”—the “last days.” This key hearkens to the group that says prophecy is sealed. Accidentally close to the truth, they have missed a central point. All the great prophecies are no longer sealed!

You do not need to take my word for it. The prophet Daniel, under the direct inspiration of God, makes this point plain—for all who will believe it. Recognize that God is speaking through Daniel, rather than Daniel giving some personal opinion about future events.

The book of Daniel spans a period of over 2,500 years, detailing the fulfillment of events then all yet to occur. Generations of Bible students, unwilling to believe God, have attempted to interpret Daniel’s prophecy. All have failed, resulting in endless disagreement and confusion.

Here is what an angel instructed Daniel at the end of his prophecy: “But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (12:4). (Seven times, in just this one chapter, it speaks of the “end,” “time of the end,” or when all things would be “finished.”)

Unsatisfied, and not grasping what was being told him, Daniel once again sought to understand. Notice: “I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” (vs. 8).

The angel repeated himself: “Go your way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” (vs. 9-10). Jesus later cited Daniel when He repeated that “the wise shall understand” events described to occur at the end of the age. Let me reiterate that God says obedience brings understanding. No wonder Daniel adds, “none of the wicked shall understand.” Any who rebel against God’s Law, regardless of how they see themselves, fall into this category.

Daniel foretells a time—now here—when “knowledge shall increase” and reveals the compelling, even electrifying, story of what God plans to do in our time. Daniel’s message had no application for his own time!

God’s promise was always to unseal the prophecy when the end time arrived!

So, the second vital key to properly understanding Bible prophecy is that all previous generations—of even God’s true servants—had no chance to comprehend events described in Daniel’s book, or in other biblical passages related to it.

Beginning in the twentieth century, having been revealed and explained, the Bible’s greatest prophecies now thunder a powerful warning to all who will hear—and heed!

A “Sure Word”

The apostle Peter wrote this about how God intends that prophecy illuminate the understanding of those who study it: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place…” (II Pet. 1:19). This verse reveals God’s purpose—His “sure word of prophecy,” bringing “light” to “dark places”—so people will “take heed.” You must be willing to heed what is written.

Now continue: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” (vs. 20). This is most crucial to understand. No single verse—or even any two or three passages—is sufficient to bring full, correct prophetic understanding on big events.

Grasp this. All of the verses on every aspect of prophecy must be carefully assembled first. Second, building the truth begins with the most clear and obvious passages. These are two of the greatest rules of Bible study when exploring any of this Book’s topics. Sadly, these rules, and the rest of the twelve rules of Bible study, are not followed by, or even known to, almost any who read God’s Word. Prophecy “experts” are no exception.

Continue again in II Peter 1: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (vs. 21). In short, prophecy comes from God, through His servants, as He inspires them to record His words.

Many of the Bible’s greatest servants were prophets. These men held high office. In fact, most whom God worked through in the Old Testament held this office. Their names jump from Scripture.

Acts 3:19-21 reveals that prophets can announce the kingdom of God. With one exception (Jonah), every prophetic book of the Old Testament records something about God’s coming kingdom. Others delivered powerful messages—usually warnings.

Proof of God’s Existence—and Power

Prophecy can be summarized as having four distinct purposes. All four must be understood. But before this comes some necessary setup.

In ever-increasing numbers, people are seeking psychics, channelers, tarot card and palm readers, fortune-tellers, astrologers, crystal ball gazers and every other medium to tell them what is going to happen.

But no human being operating on his own power can foresee the future. Historians can only record what has already happened. Meteorologists, with the aid of modern technology, can forecast the weather with reasonable accuracy. But even these predictions become unreliable when they model patterns more than perhaps a week ahead.

Psychics and seers can sometimes see elements of the future, because they are connected to the wrong side of the spirit realm. However, these visions invariably have errors alongside any correct elements. (For example, mediums or false religious leaders have on a number of occasions predicted that an earthquake would occur on a certain day and at a particular place, and a quake did strike—but a day earlier or later than predicted, or on the right day but in a different place.)

Few go to the one infallible source, which foretells all the important events that will soon come upon the entire world. This can be done—and with astounding, absolute accuracy!

So plain is the proof, you can easily learn it for yourself! And afterward, you can rest assured that what you have learned will occur—that it is no less certain than tomorrow’s sunrise. When you have completed reading the balance of this book, you need never again doubt the authority of anything found in the Bible—including all matters discussed in its remaining two-thirds, the other 500,000 words it contains about other subjects. In fact, just Chapter Four makes this the case.

So then, the first purpose is that, when proven to have been fulfilled, prophecy becomes undeniable evidence of the existence and power of God. God alone can fulfill prophecy. No human being has even the knowledge of what are world-shattering future events, let alone the power to bring them to pass centuries or even millennia beyond his lifetime. For this reason, it has been said that prophecy is the challenge the skeptics dare not accept!

How true!

God openly taunts all such skeptics in Isaiah 41. We read from the Moffatt translation: “Now, the Eternal cries, bring your case forward, now, Jacob’s King [God] cries, state your proofs. Let us hear what happened in the past, that we may ponder it, or show Me what is yet to be, that we may watch how it turns out; yes, let us hear what is coming, that we may be sure you are gods; come, do something or other that we may marvel at the sight!—why, you are things of naught, you can do nothing at all!” (vs. 21-24).

This passage becomes God’s challenge to disbelievers.

Another bold statement, also in Isaiah: “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them” (42:9).

God is careful to ensure that the credit for foretelling events goes to Him alone, rather than any false prophet or false god. Again from Isaiah: “I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of My mouth, and I showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. Because I knew that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew, and your brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared it to you; before it came to pass I showed it you: lest you should say, My idol has done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, has commanded them” (48:3-5).

God does not guess at what will occur. He is not merely the best forecaster or prognosticator. Acting deliberately, He brings to pass what He says will happen. If He tells us something—anything—is to occur, it will occur! Moffatt renders verse 3, “What has occurred I foretold long ago; it fell from My lips, I predicted it, then suddenly I actedit was done.”

Here is yet another scripture from Isaiah: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (46:9-10).

Prophecy is simply God telling human beings what He will do!

Understand that God has a steady hand in the affairs of men—that He is capable of thwarting and overthrowing the stated purposes of governments and nations. Notice this from Moffatt: “The Eternal wrecks the purposes of pagans, He brings to nothing what the nations plan; but the Eternal’s purpose stands forever, and what He plans will last from age to age…The Eternal looks from heaven, beholding all mankind; from where He sits, He scans all who inhabit the world; He who alone made their minds, He notes all they do” (Psa. 33:10-15).

Yes, men may have their plans about how to solve the big, complex problems facing civilization, but God “wrecks”—smashes—them, “bringing them to nothing.” And God has plainly told us how He plans to do this at the conclusion of 6,000 years of human affairs.

A Means of Encouragement

A second purpose for prophecy is to encourage Christ’s true followers. Jesus understood that the Christian way involves trials and difficulties throughout life. This is an inescapable fact for those in whom God is working. These are essential to the character-building process.

One of these trials is persecution. Just before His crucifixion, Jesus warned, “Remember the word that I said unto you [He must have taught this previously], The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). In the preceding verse, He had reminded His disciples that “I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (vs. 19). Of course, Jesus was persecuted to the point of horrible torture and crucifixion.

The apostle Paul recorded, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Tim. 3:12). The word “all” means what it says! Jesus said His servants would be hated! In light of this often difficult path, He reassured His disciples, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20).

Another element of encouragement flows from prophecy itself.

Some may assume that all biblical prophecy is “gloom and doom” and “fire and brimstone.” This is not true! In fact, far from it. The ultimate message of prophecy is the most positive news in all history. Hundreds of verses give a preview of a time of peace, prosperity and happiness—drawing closer daily—that all human beings will ultimately have an opportunity to experience.

Those who choose to yield to God and learn His way of life look forward in a special way, and draw encouragement from these prophecies.

To Warn and Call to Repentance

A careful study of the Bible demonstrates that God always warns before punishment—whether it be the destruction of cities such as Nineveh, or Sodom and Gomorrah—or of individuals such as wayward kings of Israel and Judah—or of the whole inhabited world in the Flood. God gives us this certain promise of what will happen in advance of events He intends to fulfill: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He reveals His secret unto His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). God keeps His promises. He always reveals major events before they happen.

So then a third purpose of prophecy is that a loving God gives human beings—free moral agents who must choose between right and wrong—space to repent.

Ancient Israel has been the main recipient of such admonitions: “If My people…shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II Chron. 7:14).

When giving the prophet Ezekiel his commission, God stressed what His servants were to do: “O son of man, I have set you a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die; if you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand. Nevertheless, if you warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul” (33:7-9).

It has been my long and sad experience that most people simply will not truly listen to what God says. They cannot seem to make themselves take seriously His commands, instructions and warnings.

However, with each warning through the ages, some few do heed and repent. And those who do not—having been warned!—bear responsibility for their choices and actions.

Powerful Motivator

A fourth purpose of prophecy is to motivate those who wish to seek God and claim His promise of protection. Knowledge of what is ahead—of both the terrible and wonderful elements—motivates true Christians to serve God more fully.

We saw that the most serious events just before Christ’s Return will descend like a snare on an unsuspecting world—except for those who “watch,” “pray” and “escape” (Luke 21:36). So then a group is promised to be protected during the times just ahead.

The apostle Paul wrote this sobering warning: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (I Thes. 5:1-6).

Those who take the Bible seriously know what is coming, and live their lives accordingly.

Isaiah explained that God’s Word is written, “…precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little…” (28:13). Nowhere is this Bible pattern more true than of prophecy. But the passage continues with God explaining why His Word is written this way: “…that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”

Recall that Revelation is written to God’s servants—to “show” them, not others, what must “shortly come to pass.” Isaiah underscores that prophecy cannot be understood by those who do not seek to serve and obey God. God has scattered bits and pieces of information on prophecy (and all other subjects) throughout His Word in a way that will cause the mere casual reader to “fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken”—by false understanding.

They will not comprehend.

This ought sober the reader, who should now be asking, “How serious am I about understanding—and acting on—all that follows in this volume?” Now is the time to consider this question.

With God’s purposes for biblical prophecy established, we now examine “prophecies” of a different kind…

Chapter Two – Is 2012 the End?

We saw why God records prophecy. Before examining the prophecies of the Bible, a distinction must be made between true and false prophecy—that which is inspired of God, and what is not. This chapter examines one of the most popular modern “prophecies.”

Irrational Fears

The 2012 phenomenon has reached fever pitch. Alarm has spread like wildfire. Uncertainty, anxiety—and fear—have gripped many people. Literally, millions are panicking, wondering whether 2012 will be their last year. The end date is supposedly either December 21 or 23, 2012. Doomsday authors point to December 21, the winter solstice. But the Mayan calendar, on which the end-of-days theory is based, ends December 23.

Like the Y2K panic of 1999 regarding the arrival of the year 2000, 2012 hysteria is all over the Internet—in endless books—and in a $200 million movie, filled with the usual sensational Hollywood graphics. And so-called prophecy experts are weighing in on the subject.

People of all ages are asking if cataclysmic events will occur in late 2012 and bring the end of the world. Some are deeply concerned—truly frightened!—that they will not live into their teen years or enter adulthood. They desperately want lives beyond 2012—but fear this will not happen.

Incredibly, some teenagers, and even younger children, have asked if they should end their own lives—and some mothers have expressed thoughts of killing their children—and then themselves—rather than enduring “Earth ending” events!

No one predicts exactly what will happen in 2012, but according to some, it will be “Big!”—“Earth shattering!”—and “Civilization ending”! There are concerns that the entire earth will be flooded, or burned up by solar flares. The North and South Poles may suddenly reverse, wreaking untold havoc on electrical systems. Catastrophic earthquakes may rock the planet, destroying all buildings and opening huge holes in the earth’s crust. Chaos will reign. Mankind will come to the brink of annihilation...and on and on go the theories.

Source of Belief

The Mayan “Long Count” calendar tracks “Great Cycles” of time, and is one of at least three calendars that the ancient Mayans used. It is important to note that one particular calendar indicates that December 23, 2012, is the end of the current cycle of time—which began August 13, 3114 BC on the Gregorian calendar. The Mayan calendar itself states nothing of the world coming to an end, or of any cataclysmic events occurring. It states only that the current time cycle will end.

Many of the fantastic stories and much of the hype come from various archaeological and astronomical speculation, as well as mythology and numerological interpretation. Predictions of impending doom and destruction are nowhere to be found in Mayan accounts or in the Long Count calendar itself. To the modern Mayans, including those who study the ancient calendar, 2012 is actually inconsequential.

If you were to travel to any of the many present day Mayan communities and ask about 2012, and the end of civilization, you would see looks of bewilderment. Modern Mayan sources explain that this calendar was never intended to suggest the world would end in 2012, or at any other time. They will also tell you that professing Christians have deliberately twisted their calendar to suit their own prophetic theories and timelines. Yet millions, with little or no understanding of the Mayan culture, attach civilization-ending significance to 2012. All but two ancient Mayan inscriptions are strictly historical. They make no prophetic declarations whatsoever. The two that supposedly do are unclear at best, and open to a wide array of speculation and interpretation.

Regardless of what the ancient Mayans actually predicted (the mere end of a time cycle!)—wild ideas about 2012 abound. The frenzy is worldwide and picking up steam, with no slowdown in sight. 2012 has also become big business, and many are cashing in on the uncertainty!

Will either the planet or civilization come to a violent end on December 21, 2012, as so many believe? Could the speculation still somehow be true? What does the Bible say? Does it in any way validate 2012 as the “end of all things”?

You will soon have no doubt of the correct answers. It is time to prove whether late December 2012 is the end.

Endless Speculation

The idea of the end of the world has been a subject of great speculation, ridicule, general discussion, fascination and fancy for 2,000 years—ever since Jesus Christ announced He would return to Earth. I repeat: With opinions everywhere, there has been an explosion of literature presenting popular scenarios, ideas, theories, suppositions and interpretations of what will occur just before Christ’s Return.

For Christians, the 2012 question begins with what Jesus said about His Return: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man comes” (Matt. 25:13).

If people were reading even such basic verses, they would never worry about December 21 or 23, 2012 because no man knows the day of Christ’s Return. What a tragic commentary on the state of people who profess to be Christians—but cannot logically compute such rudimentary understanding. But then, most who profess to follow Christ study little or nothing of what He said.

Get this! Just this passage, and other similar ones, rule out this date—or any specific date—that might be suggested for Christ’s Return, or even for the end of all things.

Next read again Jesus’ Olivet prophecy: “The disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world [age]?” (Matt. 24:3). We saw His long answer began with: “Take heed that no man deceive you” (vs. 4).

Jesus goes straight to the biggest problem that would exist at the end. There is an unending and growing number of deceivers at work today. Are their followers taking heed? Ask again: How many are doing their own research regarding men postulating prophetic scenarios, such as 2012? This is only one. There are many others, and more appearing all the time.

The 2012 Impossibility

Now let’s examine whether it is even possible—prophetically—for 2012 to be the end. Follow carefully. We have to establish the timing of certain events.

Many are familiar with the term “Tribulation” or “Great Tribulation.” The Bible speaks of this event as one of terrible trouble and indescribable horror. Jesus referred to this time as unparalleled in history: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:21). The prophet Daniel also speaks of this period in chapter 12, verse 1. Jeremiah references it in a similar way in chapter 30, verse 7.

The Bible reveals that a certain very specific amount of time must elapse between the start of the Great Tribulation and the Return of Jesus Christ—or “the end of the age.” So understand. If it can be proven that there are not enough years in God’s plainly revealed timeline for 2012 to be the end, then all the hysteria is for nothing!

Numerous passages explain that the Tribulation lasts 2½ years, followed by the year-long Day of the Lord. Together, these events last 3½ years, fulfilling 1,260 days before Christ’s Return.

Let’s understand the implications! If the Great Tribulation were to begin today there is not enough time for December 21, 2012 to be the end. But it is also important to realize that certain biblically described pre-conditions that must lead up to the Tribulation are not, however close they now are, yet here. (The book explains them all.)

So then, just the 1,260 days—again, were it to begin today—would greatly overshoot December 21, 2012. It is therefore absolutely impossible for this date to be the end of the world! All fear of it can disappear! None need be afraid of this fictional doomsday!

It is possible, however, that something of significance could happen in late 2012 because the demon world has a general idea of prophecy, and these fallen spirits do everything in their power to thwart God’s Master Purpose for mankind. They could pull some trick or stunt to confuse the gullible.

Will the World End?

But what about the Return of Christ? Will this usher in the end of planet Earth sometime after 2012? In other words, will all people alive today die in the fulfillment of end-time prophecies—as so many seem to almost assume? The answer is a resounding NO! And here is proof.

When Jesus described world conditions leading to His Return, He stated, “Except those days should be shortened [cut short], there should no flesh be saved” (Matt. 24:22).

Some religionists believe the phrase “no flesh be saved” refers to spiritual salvation. But that is not what Jesus is talking about. Rather, that unless God cuts the Tribulation short, no human beings—“no flesh”—would survive. The human race would become extinct if Christ did not return. The implication is that He will return before this happens. For those who believe God, this is further proof that 2012 could not possibly end human existence.

Other prophecy writers speak of the “end of the world”—that the earth itself will supposedly be destroyed. This could not be further from the truth. This idea often stems from a misunderstanding of Christ’s disciples asking Him for a sign of the “end of the world.” The Greek word (aion) translated world means “age.” The disciples were asking when the period of man’s rule would end—and the kingdom of God would be established. They well understood the many Old Testament prophecies that speak of the Messiah setting up the kingdom of God on Earth.

But again, beyond all the bad news is the very greatest possible good news! Yet few speak of this! Most talk only about disaster, calamity and the possible annihilation of all people. This is because they are largely unaware of the most positive elements of prophecy—and of the true gospel!

Unraveling the Myth

God’s servants understand the basic framework of His overall prophetic timetable and plan. They are not confused about “what happens next,” once certain prophecies begin to take place. Many prophecies involve a tremendous amount of understanding that God makes available, and with all necessary details. They understand exactly what lies ahead for all mankind, and for themselves—if they are faithful. Those of Christ’s one Church—the one He promised to build (Matt. 16:18) almost 2,000 years ago—have heeded the Bible’s many warnings about what lies ahead.

December 21, 2012, is NOT the end! Do not fear this date! Human beings will never be wiped out. All the hysteria is for nothing! In fact, at a certain point this book will be available—at least for a short period—after 2012 has come and gone! Understand that—while this chapter will still be written as though 2012 is yet future—the strength of everything that the book discusses increases with its passing!—and this date WILL PASS!

Countless verses could have been cited to disprove the 2012 deception. As the prophetic picture gradually becomes clear, you will not only understand the ridiculousness of such false prophecies, but more importantly the truth behind what is soon to play out before the world.

Scripture makes plain that 2012 does not mark the “end of the world,” and that such ideas are preposterous to the point of almost humorous—were it not for the fear and confusion they spawn. But whether we are in the last days is a big question. Before we can answer it, and delve into proof, many other “end of days” scenarios—and a famous seer and author—must be examined…

Chapter Three – Did God Send Nostradamus?

Nostradamus has captured the world’s attention since the sixteenth century. His mysterious, cryptic writings have been the subject of endless debate. Hailed by millions, and known the world over, this man is among the most famous people in history.

Many believe Nostradamus’ writings hold the key to understanding the future’s greatest events. To followers, he accurately predicted the French Revolution—the rise of Napoleon—and then Adolf Hitler—the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy—and the bombing of the World Trade Center—among others.

Nostradamus is revered as a prophet. But was he a true prophet—one sent by God—or a fraud—a false prophet?

Nostradamus has been the subject of many books and films, including popular television programs. According to one scholar, “…Nostradamus is probably the only author who could claim that his work has never been out of print for over 400 years, apart from the Bible. The interest he generates is extraordinary” (Erika Cheetham, The Prophecies of Nostradamus).

In recent years, as millions of people seek to understand end-time prophecy, this interest has increased. Believing him inspired by God, some think his prophecies are on par with those in the Bible.

In light of the interest surrounding this man, we must ask: “Did God send Nostradamus?”

You can know—and by the end of this chapter you will.

God does not want His servants in doubt about those He sends. They should know whether Nostradamus—or any other man—was sent by God. Let’s learn what most will never know, nor even seek to know.

From Doctor to Seer

Michel de Notredame—or Nostredame—was born in southern France in 1503 to Jewish parents, who later converted to Catholicism. Europe had been undergoing the Renaissance. This was the time that produced Galileo, Copernicus, Michelangelo, Christopher Columbus and Leonardo da Vinci.

Son of a merchant and grandson of scholars, Nostradamus grew up in an environment of learning. As a young boy, he studied classical languages, astrology—and possibly the occult! At 14, he left home to study in Avignon, an ecclesiastical and academic center in southern France. Later, he studied medicine at the prestigious University of Montpellier.

Nostradamus became a physician. Early on, he traveled throughout France, caring for victims of the infamous bubonic plague, and gained a reputation as one who healed patients by innovative, but simple, methods. Gravely ill people recovered, and then so did entire towns and villages. He became a celebrated figure in southern France.

In time, Nostradamus returned to Montpellier for further study, eventually obtaining a medical doctorate. He married into a wealthy family and settled into the comfortable life of a doctor.

Soon after, the plague hit, killing his wife and two children. Unable to save his own family, his credibility was questioned. Compounding his troubles, a simple remark about a statue led to charges of heresy against the Catholic church. Summoned to stand trial, Nostradamus chose to flee instead—and spent the next several years traveling in southern Europe. He eventually returned to France in 1544, re-established his practice, remarried and had six more children.

A practicing Catholic, Nostradamus became heavily involved in astrology and the occult. He would sit for hours, deep into the night, meditating in a trance before a bowl of water.

Here is his description of this strange ritual: “Sitting alone at night in secret study; it [the bowl of water] is placed on the brass tripod. A slight flame comes out of the emptiness...The wand in the hand is placed in the middle of the tripod’s legs. With water he sprinkles both the hem of his garment and his foot [in all of this he is speaking of himself]. A voice, fear; he trembles in his robes. Divine splendor; the god sits nearby” (The Prophecies of Nostradamus, book I, verses 1-2, emphasis mine).

During these sessions, Nostradamus would have visions. After returning to his senses, he would record them. He began including them in what were called Almanacs. The first was published in 1550. These contained predictions for every month of the year. His Almanacs were so popular he produced them annually for the rest of his life.

Nostradamus’ fame grew. His services were now sought by the wealthy and powerful. In 1555, he began publishing a monumental project, a 10-part series of predictions called The True Centuries. Each consisted of 100 quatrains (four lines of rhyming verse) written in Latin, French, Greek, Italian and other languages—but in riddles difficult to understand so as to protect himself from accusations of witchcraft.

Nostradamus eventually attracted the attention of Catherine de Médicis, the French queen. She was so impressed she had him produce horoscopes for the royal family’s children. Later, he was appointed royal court physician.

Nostradamus died in 1566, allegedly stating the day before his death that he would live just one more day.

The Legend Grows

After Nostradamus’ death, the legend grew. Followers claimed he had predicted the death of King Henry II of France—and he was said to have predicted that a young monk, Felice Peretti, would go on to become pope by addressing him as “Your Holiness.” Peretti did become Pope Sixtus V.

So great was Nostradamus’ influence that in the period following the bombing of the World Trade Center, his name was one of the top Google search terms.

People have always wanted to know what the future holds. And they have also always consulted with soothsayers, fortune-tellers, clairvoyants and so-called prophecy experts—alongside the Bible—to learn it. Books on prophecy are often instant bestsellers. Remember, Nostradamus is regarded by many as a prophet.

But again, did God send him?

Let’s ask: How does God describe those who are not sent by Him? Notice: “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:19-20).

There is no evidence whatsoever that Nostradamus ever based his prophecies on the Bible. They came solely from visions. He neither spoke, nor attempted to speak, according to God’s Word—or Law. Therefore, GOD says—not I—there is “no light in him.” Think of it this way. The man was not enlightened—nor can he shed light on the future. We will, however, later learn why some of his predictions did come true.

It is widely acknowledged that many of Nostradamus’ prophecies failed. One author outlined five that were false:

  1. Venice would have great power and world influence by 1792.
  2. The Catholic clergy would fall in 1609.
  3. Persecution would arise against the Catholic church, also in 1792.
  4. Astrologers would be persecuted in 1607.
  5. China would subdue the northern part of the world by 1700.

But other predictions never came true, and most were grand failures:

  1. The Bourbon line of kings would be restored to the French throne. It never was.
  2. French king Charles IX would live to 90. He died at 24.
  3. A dramatic reduction in world population in the eighteenth century would occur due to famine and disease. Instead, the population exploded during the eighteenth-century Industrial Revolution.

These events clearly did not happen. Based on number and size of failures, Nostradamus is a particularly poor prophet. Among false prophets, he could be classified as extra false!

A related question—and it is enormous: Could the God of the Bible inspire prophecies that did not come to pass? What about even one?

The answer is obvious—No! If this were possible, God becomes a liar. Recall from Chapter One: “...I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isa. 46:9-10).

Only God can declare the future! Hebrews 6:18 says it is impossiblefor God to lie—His Word is certain. What He foretells—remember God does not predictwill come to pass! Thus, even a single failed prophecy means one was not sent by God.

Signs of a False Prophet

Nostradamus was known to be involved in the occult, having a large occult library. In a book dedicated to his son, who carried on after him, he wrote this strange and revealing description: “Dreading what might happen in the future, after reading them [his occult books], I presented them to Vulcan [the pagan Roman god of fire], and as the fire kindled them, the flame...shot forth an unaccustomed brightness, clearer than the light is of natural flame, resembling more the explosion of powder, casting a subtle illumination over the house...” (Nostradamus, Preface a Mon Fils). By any standard, this description, and Nostradamus’ conduct, is strange.

God utterly condemns the occult. Let’s read: “There shall not be found among you any one...that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or witch, or charmer, or consulter with familiar spirits, or wizard, or a necromancer [one who supposedly can reach the dead]. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord...” (Deut. 18:10-12).

How many know that this early psychic consulted the dead? Ask: Would God send someone who is involved in practices He explicitly condemns? Of course not.

One either believes such verses or he does not.

Plain Warnings

False prophets prey on people’s natural fascination with the future. The apostle John warned of them: “Believe not every spirit, but try [test] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1). Jesus added this warning: “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:11). Now ask: How many worry about being deceived? Most ignore these passages. But this comes with a price.

Understand. God calls such possessors of “enlightened” knowledge “angels of light” (II Cor. 11:13-14). Such “angels” are only too willing to share their “knowledge.”

Jesus also warned, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15).

It is not always easy to detect these deceivers. None of them wear signs exposing who they are. They are smooth operators, but their teachings tear people’s understanding as wolves rip prey.

How can you tell a false prophet? Let Jesus answer: “You shall know them by their fruits...” (Matt. 7:16). And four verses later, “By their fruits you shall know them” (vs. 20). One key to knowing whether a prophet is true or false is by fruits—good or bad. Nostradamus did very strange things—followed practices God condemns—and did not otherwise practice obedience to God’s laws. While possibly sincere, he was deceived and false!

Remember, most of Nostradamus’ prophecies failed. And again, this could not occur with a prophet of God. Recall: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy...” (II Pet. 1:19). God’s prophecies are sure. They never miss. Not one!

Here is God’s command regarding prophets: “And if you [ask] in your heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?” (Deut. 18:21). God’s answer is, “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptuously: you shall not be afraid of him” (vs. 22).

This passage reveals that men can presume to speak for God. This is very serious to the God of the Bible. It should also be serious to you. You must know if God sent a man—or if the man sent himself.

The true prophet Ezekiel recorded, “Son of man [Ezekiel], prophesy against the prophets of Israel...and say you unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear you the word of the Lord; thus says the Lord God; woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing” (13:2-3).

Think of the worldwide fear that Nostradamus’ presumptuous prophecies have engendered. But God declares, “you shall not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:22). What was the Old Testament punishment for false prophets? “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in My name [meaning, by God’s authority], which I have not commanded him to speak...even that prophet shall die” (Deut. 18:20).

Again, this is serious to God—and it should be to you!

But what if a prophecy is correct? Some of Nostradamus’ at least seemed to be. Notice what God also says in Deuteronomy: “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams [one who sees visions, like Nostradamus], and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to shall not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proves you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart...You shall walk after...and fear Him [God only], and keep His commandments, and obey His voice [How many preachers teach that all 10 of God’s Commandments must be kept? Few!], and you shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death...So shall you put the evil away from the midst of you” (13:1-5).

Of course, such executions cannot be carried out today. The point becomes: get away from the evil—put it away from you.

All Bad News

Another point bears consideration. Nostradamus’ prophecies are interpreted after events pass, not before. What is the value of this? Nothing! One author admitted, “As far as is known, Nostradamus did not leave a ‘key’ to his predictions...If he did, it has certainly been lost in the dust of the centuries. The need of having to interpret his predictions without the help of such an aid has led to some curious and widely varied versions of his quatrains” (Rene Noorbergen, Nostradamus Predicts the End of the World).

True prophecies—and true prophets—present events before they occur, never afterward. That is the job of historians.

Nostradamus was also an astrologer. In short, stemming from the natural tendency toward superstition within human nature, this is one who seeks guidance from the stars. God also condemns this practice: “Thus says the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen [pagans and unbelievers], and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them” (Jer. 10:2).

Get this. Nostradamus not only read, but literally produced horoscopes—practices that God outright condemns! So tragically, in total disobedience to God’s command, millions today are also fascinated with their daily horoscopes.

In addition, Nostradamus never recorded good news. All of his writings involve bad news—assassination, war, famine, dictators, disasters—never anything good. However, the Bible is a Book filled with good news about the future.

Nostradamus’ Prophecies—Not of God

Make yourself confront the source of Nostradamus’ prophecies—where they actually came from. Notice: “Whether the majority of his visions came...from a psychic inspiration, necromancy, tarot cards or a refined form of witchcraft, we will probably never learn. We might conclude, however, that his hidden source of knowledge knew much of the course history would take, and possibly had the power to control or at least influence some of the major future historical developments” (ibid.).

What could be this “hidden source”? The Bible describes the existence of a spirit world. On one side are God, Christ and righteous angels. In opposition are Satan and fallen angels. Earlier we saw Nostradamus spoke of a “god that sits nearby.” Who is this god?

The Bible describes Satan as the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). The devil and his demons are the true authors of Nostradamus’ visions and writings—not the man himself, and certainly not the true God. Remember from earlier that demons have a certain partial, but always twisted, knowledge of how God’s Master Plan will play out. This allows them therefore to partially predict the future through humans. I have seen this many times.

The Bible records a story of the apostle Paul encountering a demon-possessed girl: “And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying [fortune-telling]: the same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God [yes, demons will sometimes acknowledge God if it benefits them], which show unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit [not the girl], I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour” (Acts 16:16-18).

How many search God’s Word for instruction about astrologers, palm readers and psychics? Most do not care what God says, and besides, it is too much work. They enjoy the fascination, but ignore the danger, of toying with powerful, destructive spirits who want people looking to them, not God.

Now this: “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them...” (Lev. 19:31).

Understand. Satan and his demons want to destroy mankind, and will stop at nothing to achieve their goal! This includes using phony visions to confuse man’s understanding of God’s plan of salvation and the many prophecies that relate to it. Nostradamus was simply a tool of Satan, the father of murder and lies. Read John 8:44. Nostradamus was almost certainly demon-possessed.

The apostle Peter compared false prophets in the Old Testament to false teachers in the New. Notice: “But there were false prophets also among the people [in ancient Israel], even as there shall be false teachers among you...” (II Pet. 2:1).

False ministers come in many shapes and sizes. Some specialize, particularly today, in confusing, incomplete, deceitful theories of how the future will play out. You are beginning to see that the utter nonsense of these conflicting scenarios is almost without end.

No “Private Interpretation”

While the most famous, Nostradamus is but one of many who have sought to interpret the future. Other well-known deceivers include Edgar Cayce and Jeanne Dixon. Again, all such astrologers, psychics, wizards, seers, fortune-tellers and channelers have exploded in number all over the world in recent years, alongside “experts” on end-time Bible prophecy.

All of these bring their own interpretations—virtually none of them correct even on the details. We saw the Bible warns that “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” (II Pet. 1:20). God works through His chosen servants—and no one else. Ephesians 4:11 and I Corinthians 12:28 show that He does occasionally send a prophet, but also that this would only be within His one Church.

Understand. God does not—and would never—send different people to say different things—private interpretations—about the same events. In fact, this is one of the greatest ways you know that the many disagreeing prophecy writers so popular today cannot be of God.

God’s servants always speak with one unified voice (I Cor. 1:10)!

Nostradamus was a false prophet. Give him not another second of your time. Never fear this world’s seers—including all the phony prophecy writers and supposed prophecy scholars. They do not know what they are talking about. God did not send them! They do not speak according to His Law—or almost any other of the plain truths of His Word. They are false! Reject them! They will only confuse you.

Confusion—or Clarity

Most are not interested in anything that God may require them to do—or not do. They want to be titillated by special prophetic knowledge more than to obey their Creator. Other books on prophecy will not tell you this. Instead of addressing spiritual causes behind man’s unending ills, they focus on political, social, judicial or economic causes.

Because all of modern Christendom ignores even God’s most basic biblical commands, preferring to hold to cherished traditions (Mark 7:7, 9), it does not—and will never—correctly understand true prophecy.

Understanding true conversion and obedience to God opens the door to understanding prophecy. Acts 2:38 explains that repentance and water baptism precede receiving God’s Spirit. Also reread Acts 5:32. Without God’s Spirit, one cannot understand the Bible, which means he will never correctly understand—beyond misapplied bits and fragments—what the future holds.

The all-importance of obedience to God, and to all of His truth—on prophecy and everything else—will loom ever larger through the book!

Behind the scenes, enormous events are taking shape. Prophecy will soon culminate in events terrifying beyond description. These will shake every nation on Earth. Vast numbers will perish. Stay focused as you read.

In this and the previous chapter, we have addressed the beliefs and fears of millions—all founded on easily disprovable false prophecies perpetrated by deceivers. So says the Bible! In the pages ahead, we will see the clarity and logic that God brings to explaining what will actually happen. Remember to prove what is written here. Compare it with your Bible!

Now for the single, longest unbroken prophecy in the Bible…

Chapter Four – The Middle East in Prophecy

The Middle East lies in constant turmoil. Disagreement, violence and confusion have defined this region for millennia, making this geographic area a bubbling caldron of unrest, contention, terrorism and failed attempts at peace. Humanly devised solutions never work.

Few understand the historic roots of the Middle East. There, nations, cultures, religions, history and politics collide—with prophecy! How will it be resolved? What does the Bible say? Events in the Middle East carry far greater significance than most even begin to understand!

It has been said that every eight years the Middle East suffers another war. Recent history bears the truth of this statement. Its problems defy a simple solution—but this chapter will prove that God has been carefully guiding events there much longer than any can imagine.

The whole world is tied to the Middle East in a remarkable way. The problems there will not go away, nor can the world pretend they will by simply looking the other way!

The Middle East is at the center of a powerful and vitally important prophecy of which the world is ignorant. But God’s Plan can be known.

Daniel’s Amazing Prophecy

God is working out a Supreme Purpose on Earth. Most people are completely unaware that there is a purpose for mankind—let alone what it is! The present and future of the Middle East play a large role in God’s Master Plan for humanity, and this region is at the center of an astounding prophecy that will affect the lives of all people on Earth before this age is finished.

Only God can solve the “Middle East problem.”

Over 2,500 years ago, God inspired Daniel to record a long and detailed prophecy involving many fascinating twists and turns through history. This prophecy will culminate with tremendous events that will occur in our time! These events will impact all nations—and yet they have been sealed, closed until this age!

Some Bible prophecies are general. Others are specific, or even highly specific. Some involve single events that occur at specific moments in time. Others are fulfilled slowly over many years—or even over many centuries or millennia—and involve many events. You will learn that Daniel’s prophecy involves many smaller prophecies that we will examine one by one, until we arrive at the modern age.

We are about to examine one long chapter in the Bible. It will become clear that there is only one way to explain each of the 45 separate verses in this chapter. The fulfillment of each verse is not subject to human reasoning, opinion or interpretation.

Many of these very intricate separate prophecies have already been fulfilled exactly as God foretold, and have taken their place in history. They are now facts that can be examined—and are powerful proofs that a Supreme Being foretold them and then brought them to pass! As you read, recognize that the evidence presented serves to make plain the certainty of Bible prophecy—leaving those who disregard all yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecies without excuse!

The authority of the Bible stands at stake in this series of prophecies. If they stand true—proven by the facts of history!—then a Divine Author recorded them, and all other prophecies to be discussed carry the same authority. If the prophecy failed, then the Bible is a book of men and can be thrown away as not worth the paper it is written on.

This extensive prophecy is found in Daniel 11. In chapter 10, Daniel is left astonished—completely shocked and overwhelmed by what God revealed would happen “at the end,” or in the last days. Chapter 12 plays a part in concluding the lengthy prophecy of chapter 11.

Consider opening your Bible to read each verse beside the text of this chapter. No other approach will have the same impact. Also, bear in mind that men inserted all chapter and verse divisions of the Bible. While these are often helpful to Bible students, they can also inadvertently break up longer stories, thoughts or, as in this case, prophecies. The true meaning and scope of the subject matter can be obscured or completely lost from view due to these divisions.

In this case, the entire chapter builds to an unexpected conclusion, yet to be fulfilled. Let’s examine.

Two Prophesied Great Kings

God gave Daniel this prophecy during the third year of the reign of Cyrus, the king of the Persian Empire.

Notice chapter 10, verse 1: “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.”

Daniel recorded that two powerful kings (actually competing kingdoms we will see to be tied directionally to “north” and “south”) would play an overarching role in Middle Eastern events, until the time of the end. These kings set the stage for the unfolding of vitally important future events, which culminate before Christ returns!

Two key verses set the stage. In Daniel 10:21, the archangel Gabriel speaks to Daniel: “But I will show you that which is noted in the scripture of truth.” Chapter 11 introduces the time setting. Verse 2 continues, “And now will I show you the truth.” When God foretells events, He speaks the truth! They are certain! They will happen! Since no scripture can be broken (John 10:35), neither can any verse of this prophecy! Each must stand the test of close scrutiny. (Verses are in bold for the reader to more easily follow.)

Now consider the following from Daniel 11: “Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will” (verses 2-3).

Who are these four kings—where the last is greater than the first three? And who is the “mighty king”? Daniel was speaking of kings Cambyses, Smerdis and Darius of Persia as the first three, with Xerxes being historically the greatest and richest of the four. It was Xerxes who “stirred up” war with Greece.

We must now briefly understand verses in Daniel 8. Alexander the Great’s father, King Philip of Macedonia, created a master plan to conquer and defeat the Persian Empire with a Greek army. But Philip died before he could execute his plan. His son invaded Persia in his stead, and Alexander the Great’s army fought the Persian army at the famous Battle of Issus in 333 BC (Daniel 8:2, 5-6).

Two years later, in 33l BC, in a second battle at Arbella, Alexander completely defeated the Persian Empire. Having already conquered Egypt shortly before this, he followed this battle with the destruction of everything from the Middle East to India. This happened precisely as prophesied!

Daniel 11:4 says this of Alexander: “And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.”

Numerous historical authorities acknowledge that Alexander died suddenly, at age 32, when “Cut off unexpectedly in the vigour of early manhood, he left no inheritor, either of his power or of his projects” (Rawlinson’s A Manual of Ancient History, p. 208). Alexander’s kingdom did break into four separate kingdoms, because he had no son to take his place. Prophecy was fulfilled just as God foretold.

The following four of Alexander’s generals represent the “four winds of heaven”—or directions to which his kingdom was divided: (1) Lysimachus ruled Asia Minor, (2) Cassander ruled Greece and Macedonia, (3) Seleucus ruled Syria, Babylonia and all regions east to India and (4) Ptolemy ruled Egypt, Judea and part of Syria.

From this point, the prophecy tracks two of these four kings or divisions of territory. The Syrian kingdom represents the “king of the north.” The Egyptian kingdom represents (11:5) the “king of the south,” because Egypt is generally south of Jerusalem. (Jerusalem is the central focus of all prophecy and, therefore, directions are always established by identifying locations in relation to this city.) These two kingdoms often fought back and forth across Palestine—the Holy Land and Jerusalem—with possession of this area constantly shifting, depending on the outcome of the last battle.

Ptolemy I, named Soter, established Egypt as a far greater, more dominant power than when Alexander was alive. Seleucus also became very strong. By 312 BC, he had established an equally powerful kingdom in Syria. These two kingdoms became and represent, respectively, the “king of the south” and the “king of the north,” mentioned throughout this prophecy. Daniel 11:5 states, “And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.”

Amazing Fulfillment of Verse Six

Verse 6 is a very specific and truly remarkable prophecy. Let’s carefully examine various phrases within it: “And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement [note the term used in the margin, “rights,” meaning marriage union or rights, in this case]: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.”

What could all of this refer to?

Fifty years later, Antiochus II (called Theos) was the king of the north, ruling at Syria. His wife, Laodicé, carried great influence in the kingdom. But Theos divorced her and married Bernicé, the daughter of the king of the south. Bernicé was to lose the “power of her arm.” Her husband, the king of the north, was prophesied to not “stand,” and she and her father (“he that begat her”) were both prophesied to be “given up.” These three did come to a bad end.

An amazingly detailed, precisely fulfilled prophecy ensues from verse 6. Rawlinson states that “Her [Laodicé’s] influence…engage[d] him in a war with Ptolemy Philadelphus [king of the south], BC 260, which is terminated, BC 252, by a marriage between Antiochus and Bernicé, Ptolemy’s daughter…On the death of Philadelphus [“he that begat her”], BC 247, Antiochus repudiates Bernicé, and takes back his former wife, Laodicé, who…doubtful of his constancy, murdered him to secure the throne for her son Seleucus [II] BC 246…Bernicé…had been put to death by Laodicé” (p. 222).

Control of the Holy Land Shifts Repeatedly

Now verse 7: “But out of a branch of her roots [Bernicé’s parents] shall one [this is her brother who would take the throne in his father’s stead as the king of the south] stand up in his estate [“in his office,” margin reference], which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail.”

Rawlinson states, “Ptolemy Euergetes [the III, eldest son of Philadelphus, and therefore Bernicé’s brother, a branch of her roots] invades Syria, BC 245, to avenge the murder of his sister Bernicé…In the war which follows, he carries everything before him” (p. 222).

Verse 8 speaks of the king of the south carrying silver and gold vessels, with captives, back to Egypt (verse 9) after a successful invasion of the north. In fact, Ptolemy III did conquer Syria, the Port of Antioch (capital of the kingdom) and Seleucia. He took a vast amount of spoils, including the return of 2,500 idolatrous vessels and molten images that, in 526 BC, the northern king, Cambyses, had taken from Egypt.

The passage also states that King Ptolemy III would rule longer (“more years”) than the king of the north, Seleucus II. Seleucus died in 226 BC, and Ptolemy III reigned four years longer, until 222 BC.

At the death of Seleucus II, his kingdom was ruled successively by his two sons. Seleucus III reigned just three years (226-223 BC), while his brother, Antiochus III, also called “the Great,” reigned for 36 years (223-187 BC). Each established great armies to fight Egypt, recover their port city of Seleucia and avenge the defeat of their father.

It took 27 years for Antiochus to recapture Seleucia and conquer Syria and the area from Judea to Gaza. Verses 10 and 11 state, “But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return and be stirred up [“be stirred up again,” margin reference], even to his fortress. And the king of the south shall be moved with choler [anger], and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.”

Ptolemy IV fulfilled verse 11 exactly. After gathering an army of 20,000, he did “move with [anger]” against Antiochus the Great. He fulfilled verse 12 because he did “cast down [kill] many ten thousands.” However, he retreated too soon to Egypt, having made too hasty a peace with Antiochus, and wasted the substance he had gained, hence the phrase, “but he shall not be strengthened by it” (i.e., his victory over Antiochus in 217 BC).

Twelve years later (205 BC), Ptolemy Philopator, king of Egypt, died. His baby son, Ptolemy Epiphanes, was given the throne. Thus, Egypt became vulnerable to attack. Antiochus took advantage of this vulnerability “after certain years” by defeating Egypt. Verse 13 explains, “For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.”

Soon thereafter, Antiochus formed an alliance with Philip of Macedonia to attack Egypt and retrieve Phoenicia and Southern Syria from Egypt. The famous Jewish historian, Josephus, states that a large number of Jews joined Antiochus in this campaign. Verse 14 describes this. (Again, you should try to carefully read each verse from your Bible as these events in history are outlined before you.)

Next, Antiochus laid siege all the way from Egypt to Sidon, eventually seizing control of Judea in 198 BC, at the Battle of Mount Panium. Notice the reference to the Holy Land (Judea) as “the glorious land” (verses 15-16).

At this time (198 BC), Antiochus arranged to have his daughter, Cleopatra, and the now little boy king, Ptolemy Epiphanes, marry. But this plan to control and possess Egypt, through deceit, failed, because Cleopatra deceived her father, Antiochus, and did not help him take control of Egypt (verse 17). (This was not the same Cleopatra as the famous Egyptian queen of 31 BC.)

This caused Antiochus to focus on defeating and taking control of the coasts of Asia Minor, including the islands around it (197-196 BC). However, in the Battle of Magnesia (190 BC), Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus, the Roman general, defeated him and destroyed his army (verse 18).

Daniel records what came next: “Then he shall turn his face toward the fort [fortresses] of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.” Antiochus, after redirecting his concerns toward his own fortresses, was killed in 187 BC while seeking to consolidate his assets by plundering the Oriental Temple of Belus in Elymais (verse 19).

Heliodorus, the “raiser of taxes,” was sent by Seleucus IV Philopator to raise money throughout Judea. However, Heliodorus poisoned Seleucus IV, who consequently reigned only eleven years—187-176 BC (verse 20).

Seleucus IV had no heir, so his younger brother (Epiphanes or Antiochus IV) won control of the kingdom by flattery (“flatteries”) and deceit. The next verse states: “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries” (verse 21). This man was an extremely “vile,” contemptible person and his aid, Eumenes, did come to assist him. Rawlinson states that “Antiochus [Epiphanes], assisted by Eumenes, drives out Heliodorus, and obtains the throne, BC 176. He astonishes his subjects by an affectation of Roman manners...His good-natured profuseness [flatteries]” (p. 225).

The Role of Antiochus IV (Epiphanes)

Verse 22 pictures an effort by Antiochus Epiphanes to remove the Jewish High Priest (“prince of the covenant”). Antiochus’ purpose was to install someone who would be loyal to him. Some misunderstand the term “prince of the covenant” to be a reference to Jesus Christ. However, it is not.

The next three verses are an insight into Antiochus’ character and manner. He started with a small group of supporters, yet through flattery and deceit he slipped into greater power and secured larger numbers of followers. Although his ancestors granted favor to the Jews, he swept into Lower Egypt and Galilee, thereby alienating the Jews. Rawlinson states that the Jews “were driven to desperation by the mad project of this self-willed monarch” and “Threatened with war by the ministers of Ptolemy Philometor [the then king of the south], who claim Coelé-Syria and Palestine as the dowry of Cleopatra, the late queen-mother, Antiochus marches against Egypt” (p. 225).

This occurred in 171 BC. It was then that his nephew (Ptolemy Philometor) attacked him with a “great army.” However, Ptolemy’s officers betrayed him to Antiochus and he lost the battle (verses 23-25).

In 174 BC, Antiochus had joined his young nephew Ptolemy at a feast. Antiochus feigned support for Ptolemy against his brother, Euergetes II, in a case of mutual deceit (verses 26-27).

The Abomination of Desolation

Next, Antiochus decided to attack and slaughter as many Jews as possible. Upon returning from Egypt in 168 BC, with “great riches,” he sacked the Temple at Jerusalem and took from it the golden vessels—all as part of his planned genocide of the Jews. He turned back toward Egypt, this time without similar success, because Ptolemy Philometor had secured assistance from Rome (verses 28-29).

The Roman commander, Popillius, brought his fleet of ships to attack Antiochus. Popillius secured surrender on his own terms, which included leaving Egypt after returning the island of Cyprus to Egypt. This caused Antiochus, once again, to vent his anger against Judea (the Jews) as he was returning to Antioch. This “indignation against the holy covenant” offered favor to any Jews who would renounce their beliefs and practices (verse 30).

Antiochus dispatched troops to Palestine one year later, in 167 BC, with terrible results for all who fell in his path. He destroyed the Temple and its sanctuary—doing away with the daily sacrifice (described in Daniel 8:11, 24), while setting up an image, the abomination of desolation, directly on the altar of the Temple—thus defiling it, or making it desolate! (There are those who attempt to portray this verse as having been fulfilled at the time the Dome of the Rock was built on the Temple site, over eight centuries later, in the seventh century AD. For this to be true, all of the verses that have been explained to this point would require some other equally plausible explanation to “work” with the precision we have seen every step of the way thus far. This would also apply to all the verses that follow verse 31.) Antiochus Epiphanes placed the “abomination that makes desolate” in the Temple in 167 BC (verse 31).

But understand. Antiochus’ prophetic fulfillment of this verse is a crucial type of a latter day fulfillment to occur in our time. Luke 21:20 reveals that Jerusalem will be left in “desolation” by “armies” that will “surround” and destroy it. The gravity of this prophecy will be briefly further addressed at the end of the chapter and covered in full detail in a coming chapter.

It is important here for the reader to recognize that God often uses duality to show the world, through prior similar events—as types—exactly what He intends to do again—to repeat—usually in a far greater way in the future!

This is an absolutely vital key to understanding the meaning of all Bible prophecy!

Christ and the Apostles Enter the Prophecy

The first part of Daniel 11:32 describes Antiochus’ attempt to destroy the Jewish religion. He outlawed both the daily sacrifice and the daily ministration of the Temple through a system of flattering (with favors) any Jews who would renounce their beliefs.

It is critical to understand that, from the middle of verse 32, the prophecy shifts forward to the time of the New Testament Church. We have watched each step of this prophecy unfold through two centuries of time. The time setting now fast-forwards approximately 200 more years to depict true Christians, “even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed” (vs. 35). Notice that verse 32 speaks of “people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits [great works].” Verse 33 continues, “they that understand among the people shall instruct many.”

At this point, many theologians and commentaries note that the highly detailed, precisely fulfilled, verse-by-verse story appears to come to an abrupt end. But this is not true!

These two portions of verses picture two entirely different time settings—the first being a type of the latter. Certainly Antiochus did “corrupt by flatteries” a great many Jews. The latter part of verse 32 speaks of the time of the Maccabees, who resisted Antiochus’ pattern of corruption and slaughter. They represented a type of what Christ and the apostles would begin to do when Christ built His Church (Matt. 16:18).

Christians are supposed to be “strong” and should always be prepared to “instruct many”—because they “understand” what God is doing in His Plan on Earth! Of course, Jesus Christ and the apostles certainly fulfilled these verses toward “many.”

We saw Daniel specifically records that at the time of the end (12:10), “none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” The entirety of Daniel 12 is a continuation of this end-time setting—established from here forward.

The latter part of verse 33 is a picture of the martyrdom of Christ and all of the apostles except John. For true Christians, persecution and martyrdom continued into the Middle Ages. (For even those true Christians who have grown lukewarm, this will occur again before Jesus returns.)

Verses 34-35 are a clear, powerful description of the path of God’s true people from the time the New Testament Church was founded all the way to the present. Notice: “Now when they shall fall, they shall be [helped] with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” (For the moment, these verses are in part better understood by comparing them with Revelation 12:6, 11, 13-17.)

Daniel 11:36 describes the king of the north just before and during the early centuries of the New Testament Church. From 65 BC forward, the Roman emperor (king of the north) controlled the Holy Land (Judea). Each Roman emperor certainly did “exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god,” by requiring all his subjects to worship him—and he even required sacrifices to be offered to him, like he was a god! Roman emperors did act as though they were gods. They did speak against the true God, and persecuted His true servants—Christians—for many hundreds of years.

Verse 37 shows how Roman kings, prior to AD 476, had worshipped idols. History records that these Roman emperors did “magnify [themselves] above all”!

Verse 38 describes how the entire Roman Empire did “honor the god of forces [margin, “munitions”].” The Roman army did develop into the most powerful war machine in history to that time, and the empire did amass gold, silver, jewelry, etc. From Justinian’s reign, in AD 554, when the “deadly wound” of Revelation 13 “was healed” (after a 78-year period from AD 476, when three northern barbarian tribes had swept into and temporarily controlled Rome), the civil emperors in Rome did begin to honor (with power, gold and silver) a god that had been unknown to their ancestors or “fathers.” (More about this “wound” is covered several chapters ahead.)

This “god” held a high religious office and received great deference from Roman emperors.

Through these emperors, this high religious office controlled or “ruled over many” and had great power and wealth given to it. Carefully compare this portion of the prophecy with Revelation 17:4-5 and 18:3 and 16, where this religious power is described as “babylon” and “the mother of harlots” who “fornicates” with the “kings” and “merchants of the earth” (Daniel 11:38-39)! (This and related prophecies are also explained in much detail later.)

The Time of the End

Verse 40 plainly uses the term “at the time of the end.” It then makes reference to “the king of the south shall push at him,” while it states that “the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind…” What does this mean? Who are these two kings? Who in particular is this end-time king of the south?

Anciently, this was Egypt. Rome seized Egypt and made it a province. Today, Egypt does not have a king and is a modern republic. During the intervening centuries, there has been no great king of the south. However, recall that Ptolemy III Euergetes did seize part of Ethiopia, as the king of the south in Egypt, in 247-222 BC.

Both Rawlinson and the Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th edition) explain that Egypt and Ethiopia were governed together several different times. Ethiopia was the only part of the territory controlled by the king of the south that remained independent until the twentieth century.

The King of the South

Once again, only Ethiopia continued and remained independent in East Africa from the time of the Roman Empire. Therefore, no other country or government could fit as the king of the south—i.e., by having been a part of the ancient land controlled by the “king of the south.” Remember, verse 40 explains that the setting is the time of the end. The king of the south “push[es]” toward the north—or Rome. This occurred in 1895. At that time, about 10,000 men, under the Ethiopian King Menelik, came against the Italian army led by General Baratieri. It should be noted that Eritrea (north of Ethiopia) belonged to Italy, while southeast of Ethiopia was Italian Somaliland.

One year later, in 1896, the Italian General Baratieri attempted to defend Eritrea against the Ethiopian attack. Over 11,000 people were either killed or taken prisoner. The greatly outnumbered and inexperienced Italian army was almost completely destroyed in a battle fought over rugged, mountainous terrain.

Italy never forgot this defeat and vowed revenge. It took almost 40 years, but the opportunity finally came.

In 1927, Mussolini determined that he would attack Ethiopia in eight years (1935), at a point 39 years after the defeat. He followed through, and this did occur in 1935! Again, notice verse 40, in its reference to Mussolini’s attack: “…and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.”

A whirlwind is the equivalent of a tornado, which is a powerful storm that drops out of the sky. Mussolini did, in fact, bring a large air force to attack Ethiopia. Of course, his “chariots” were modern tanks and other armaments. The “many ships” were part of an armada carrying over 100,000 soldiers to the battle. Verse 40 ends with an amazing statement—it describes this large force as “pass[ing] over.”

Just as God foretold, Mussolini withdrew and did not completely finish his attack. This is because God has reserved one final influential and very powerful leader who will arise in Europe and complete this prophecy! We have now arrived at our point in time—today—when the verses that follow verse 40 are those that are yet to be fulfilled—while all verses preceding and through verse 40 are already fulfilled, and have become established facts of history!

May all who read the next five verses come to understand their message for our time! They become a kind of overview for many things that follow in the book.

Final Coming Revival of the Roman Empire

Many Bible prophecies (we will learn them) reveal that there is yet coming one final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire—when a final king of the north will seize the world stage for a short period prior to the Return of Christ. While this understanding will be covered in much greater detail later, for our purpose here understand that the world is now moving toward this final terrible period of trouble. This dictator will gather 10 other kings (Rev. 17:12-13), who will give their power and allegiance to him, in this last revival of the Holy Roman Empire.

Daniel 11:41 says of this king, “he shall enter also into the glorious land.” This entrance into the glorious land, or Holy Land, has not yet happened! The prophecy continues, “And many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.” (Incidentally, Moab and Ammon comprise the modern Middle Eastern nation of Jordan—Ammon the northern half and Moab the southern half. Many prophecies indicate God will likely spare this region for a reason yet to be covered.)

Verse 42 declares “Egypt shall not escape” this time. Then, verse 43 says, “the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.” The king of the north will, once again, control these two countries, which Italy lost control over at the end of World War II. After the invasion by Mussolini, Ethiopia is no longer referenced.

Verse 44 makes reference to “tidings [news] out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him.” Russia and the Orient lie north and east, respectively, from where the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire will be established in the Middle East.

Remember that, prophetically, God uses Jerusalem as the geographic point from which to reference any direction. The king of the north will hear some troubling news and Russia, coupled with many nations from the east, will join the war, centered in the Middle East.

Verse 45 summarizes the end of this now seen-to-be longest of all Bible prophecies. The king of the north (the final civil ruler over the last revival of the Holy Roman Empire) will sweep into the modern land of Israel, “the holy mountain,” to establish his religious headquarters. Another prophecy, in Zechariah 14:2, declares that “the city [Jerusalem] shall be taken.” The rest of this verse must be read to fully understand the horror that occurs when Jerusalem is taken and conquered.

Take a moment to read Luke 21:20, where Jerusalem’s future destruction comes from armies that for a time merely surround it. Zechariah 14:3 continues, explaining what ultimately happens: “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives which is before Jerusalem on the east” (also vs. 4). In the end, the all-powerful, returning Jesus Christ destroys the armies that destroyed Jerusalem! Much more detail of this will follow at the right juncture.

When speaking of the final Beast and False Prophet, Daniel 11:45 concludes, “Yet he [the Beast] shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” Zechariah 14:3 explains that Christ will deal with him—as well as with the False Prophet. Revelation 19:19-20 and Zechariah 14:12 give more explanation to the terrible end that will come to these two infamous figures!

Undeniable Proof

You have seen but one, albeit a very big one, of the many undeniable proofs of the Bible’s authority, as understood through fulfilled prophecy. We saw Daniel 10:1 declare, “The thing [this prophecy] was true,” and verse 21 ties this long prophecy to “the scripture of truth.” Foretold by God, specific event after specific event has come to pass—and exactly as prophesied! God’s Word has been shown to be true.

What will you do about it?

The future—your future—turns on the understanding and application of the prophecies detailed through the chapters ahead. You can be certain that the final events (the last five verses) of the Daniel 11 prophecy will come to pass—and soon.

And God will use certain “triggering” events…

Chapter Five – The Coming Global Financial Collapse!

The global economy is in the worst crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s! In 2008 alone, a staggering $50 trillion in wealth was erased around the world.

Despite unparalleled affluence in the Western world, personal and corporate bankruptcies are soaring. So is use of credit by consumers. Millions are losing jobs. More millions their homes. The U.S. national debt is measured in trillions of dollars! Headlines of credit fraud, identity theft, graft and corruption fill the news. Thinking people know events are spinning out of control.

Sobering Statistics

The sobering statistics that follow are but a snapshot in time and grow worse by the day. As you read, factor in an increased amount to each statistic and trend.

The world’s largest economy, the United States, the place to begin review, is now more than $13.7 trillion in debt—and this debt is growing by over three billion dollars daily! This amounts to an over $44,000 bill for every U.S. citizen—or over $124,000 per taxpayer. Some expect the debt to be above $14.5 trillion after the next fiscal year—which means a growth of additional billions each day next year! (In reality, these numbers will almost certainly be higher.) Such debt can never be repaid! In fact, most nations of the West are also now being crushed by impossible debt. Catastrophe now looms—and, in the case of America, here is why.

The United States received about $2.1 trillion in tax revenue in 2009—a number much lower than what the government originally projected. Spending was over $3.5 trillion for 2009.

Now suppose that these numbers represented the income and spending pattern of an American family of median income. Such a family would take in just over $50,000 (2008 estimate), but be planning to spend over $83,000—while already carrying more than $326,000 in debt! Individual families would never do this—or if they tried, would go bankrupt before it could happen.

But governments can print money.

Exploding Deficits

The national debt is projected to approach $20 trillion in 2014!—and hit $26 trillion in 2019!—almost double the present. Such deficit spending is unsustainable.

Money is borrowed at existing rates of interest. Understand that just a very small 1 percent rate increase on the debt will raise the interest payment of $200 billion by several hundred billion each year. But this is only true if the deficit did not rise! Many think all these projections to be very conservative. They will likely be much worse.

No thinking person believes such overspending can continue without end. Further, the addition of expensive new government programs and exotic new kinds of taxes will only greatly exacerbate the downturn. America will not stop spending because it is conditioned to believe it can have anything it wants. It need never deny itself. A country this big, this great, and one with such a rich history, cannot fail.

This thinking is tragically wrong. What world empire—with half America’s problems—survived?

The economies of America and other nations of the West will in time collapse into full-blown bankruptcy. This will happen, although things could temporarily get a little better. Various individual states will in fact likely precede the federal government and country into bankruptcy, and thus, hasten the overall collapse. Of course, nature abhors a vacuum, and a European-based world government will step in to fill America’s abdication as global leader. This cannot now be far away.

The world as you know it—including your life—will change beyond your wildest imagination.

Private Debt

So far, we have only discussed government debt. Private debt—from loans and credit cards—amounts to an additional $52,000 for every American, compared to an average savings of only $3,120.

In 2008, $6.9 trillion was lost in the U.S. stock market and $3.3 trillion in its housing market. These are devastating losses to peoples’ investments, including stocks, bonds, retirement plans, employee stock ownership and home values. Lifelong hopes and dreams crash daily!

Employment is now shrinking at the fastest rate since the Great Depression. Unemployment lingers around 10 percent in the United States. And this does not include the (many millions of) discouraged workers who have given up looking. Many other countries are much worse!

The combination of exploding debt and unemployment is hitting home! In 2009 alone, well over one million Americans declared bankruptcy, with more and more families also winding up jobless and in despair—facing abject poverty. This problem is worldwide. Many well-educated middle class people now live on unemployment, or welfare and food stamps—having never thought this could happen to them. Tent cities are springing up across America. Thousands are living in cars, and a small but growing number now live in sewer systems.

The Federal Reserve reported that the total American household worth dropped 2.7 percent in the second quarter alone (April to June) in 2010—or $1.5 trillion—to $53.5 trillion. This is 18.7 percent below its pre-recession peak of $65.8 trillion. Worse, this sudden unexpected decline comes after slight improvement over the previous four quarters.

The combined budget deficit and weakening dollar threaten to introduce hyperinflation, ruin the finances of its citizens, and totally destroy America’s economy. China, Japan, Germany and other creditor nations are deeply concerned about investing more money in an essentially bankrupt country. If they either pull out of American investments or call in their loans, the consequences will be disastrous. One of the world’s richest men, Warren Buffett, declared early in the crisis that the U.S. economy has “fallen off a cliff.” But things have worsened.

Banking System Gone Wrong

Most troubling for this superpower—long the engine of the world’s economy—are the ongoing woes in its banking system. In 2008, 25 banks collapsed. In 2009, the number was about six times worse, and in 2010 the rate has accelerated, with a much higher toll expected for the year.

What started with subprime mortgage losses has now grown into a full-blown financial crisis. U.S. banks have lost many, many billions of dollars, and this will grow much higher. No one knows how much—and thus where it ends.

America’s economic problems have ignited a global firestorm! Several European and Asian countries are also in recession. The Japanese Nikkei index trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange—the world’s second largest market—continues its long fall. Markets in Russia and throughout the European Union are also suffering. Many countries face shrinking economies, big deficits, mounting debt, unstable currencies and rising unemployment. Financial markets are unraveling with a speed not seen since the Crash of 1929.

To compound matters, increasing economic, health and hunger crises in Third World nations are adding to the First World economic burden. As leaders scramble for solutions, deep fear pervades the world’s corridors of power!

All of this threatens to destroy the global economy. Attempting to solve the crisis, leaders are calling more often for a unified economic system. More now suggest one currency, one economy and one world government!

Understand. The world economic outlook is grim and growing darker daily. It is important to first understand the origins—the causes—of today’s economic distress.

The crisis began with the so-called “credit crunch”—the reduction in the availability of loans. Banks became reluctant to lend—whether to individuals, businesses or other lenders.

Banks traditionally operated by taking deposits from customers and lending to those seeking loans. The difference between the interest rate paid on deposits and the higher one charged on loans—the “spread”—was profit. If customers defaulted, banks were liable to depositors for payment. They held the risk “on the books”—it was their responsibility.

What Changed

It was therefore in a bank’s interest to carefully screen customers before lending. The customer needed a good job and sizeable down payment. This conservative approach enabled banks to be sound—and highly profitable—for decades.

In the 1990s, banks changed their way of operating. Seeking ever-higher profits to satisfy shareholders, and to secure executive bonuses, they decided they could make even higher profits if they loaned more. Careful screening of applicants stopped.

Customers who previously never qualified under standard lending procedures—“subprime” customers—were aggressively targeted as a lucrative source of income. Loans were provided to people with no income, no job and no assets—so-called NINJA loans.

Other “sweeteners” were provided, such as no down payment and interest-only payments. Those who approved these loans were no longer attached to the risk of default—and were handsomely paid for their efforts. The subprime mortgage market became a ticking bomb, waiting to explode.

Look at how this has come home to roost. In 1980, only one in every 400 mortgages had a down payment of 3 percent or less. By 1990, it was one in every 200 mortgages. In 2003, it had become one in every seven—and by 2007, it had fallen to one in every three! As the housing bubble grew, banks lowered standards to get as large a slice of the real estate market “pie” as they could. In less than three decades, they grew 133 times more eager to approve loans with tiny down payments.

In the process banks in effect invited large numbers of homebuyers to default. The inevitable crash in home values came to pass, devaluing the average home by far more than 3 percent! (Some counties in Florida have seen home prices drop by over 50 percent from their 2006 peak.)

With the steep and steady decrease in home values, resale rates are also plummeting. At the time of this writing, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported a decrease of over 27 percent in month-over-month U.S. home resales from June to July 2010—the steepest drop ever recorded (The Associated Press). Annual resale estimates were scaled back to 3.8 million—also the lowest number the NAR has ever recorded (The Wall Street Journal).

Such decreases can be largely attributed to the unwillingness of sellers and buyers to budge: “Potential buyers are hesitating because they think home prices still have further to fall. Potential sellers—those with the stomach to put their homes on the market at all, anyway—are reluctant to lower their prices” (The Associated Press). This self-perpetuating cycle is almost certainly destined to continue!

The result? Every day, due to inability to reverse or control their losses through sale of their home, growing numbers of Americans are simply mailing their house keys to mortgage lenders and walking away from houses. And many of these homes are insured by the government. The number of families in danger of home foreclosure is said to be 10 times greater than its pre-recession rate of just two years ago! This is resulting in billions of dollars’ worth of homes sitting empty, with banks left holding the bag. Despite all this, some banks still offer jumbo loans with little or nothing down for “qualified buyers”!

Economic upheaval in the United States will yield untold troubles there. Weak defense. More enemies. Emboldened enemies. Less aid to other nations. Collapsing infrastructure. Wide-ranging political repercussions. Civil unrest and violence. A loss of prestige and influence. A spiral toward second- and eventually third-world status!

Two Critical Factors

Two more developments have played a significant role in the onset of the current crisis. The first was deregulation of the U.S. financial services industry with the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. Carefully crafted during the Great Depression to control stock market speculation, Glass-Steagall prevented retail and investment banks, and insurance companies, from owning each other.

With the repeal, huge financial services conglomerates rapidly formed, combining these types of financial institutions. Industry behemoths such as Citigroup and JP Morgan were born. This meant that retail banks seeking ever-higher profits could dive into high-risk speculative ventures through ownership of—or being owned by—investment banks. This brought disaster in 1929.

The second change was the low interest rate policy pursued by the Federal Reserve. These rates encouraged banks to target subprime customers with variable rate mortgages. They offered initially low “teaser” rates that would reset upward in two or three years. With home prices rising, customers took the bait, believing that when the reset arrived they could refinance at affordable rates.

Many mortgage brokers misrepresented terms and conditions to eager customers who were themselves providing fraudulent information. Many banks did not bother to check the information. Predatory lending invited predatory borrowing!

Banks then sold risky bonds as safe investments to unsuspecting investors. Rating agencies, paid by the banks, rated these bonds (those with subprime components) as being safe—even giving some the highest rating.

The Big Picture

With big, steady, annual increases in real estate prices, builders nationwide went on a building spree. This created a sense of “easy money”—“something for nothing.” In their greed, many scammed the system. This does not count the many others who were outright corrupt—and scammed people in the usual ways. And of course predatory lawyers are now enjoying a field day at every turn!

The crisis began slowly in the middle of 2007. Due to a glut of homes for sale, housing prices fell moderately. But the scales were tipped—as the first round of rate resets was coming due. Faced with exploding payments, falling prices, and inability to refinance mortgages, millions defaulted. Confronted with higher payments, and on mortgages now greater than the home’s value, owners began abandoning their mortgages—again, many simply turning in keys.

Rising numbers feel no moral obligation to fulfill what they promised to repay, believing it better to just walk away. This is in stark contrast to years ago when borrowers felt an obligation—a moral and ethical duty!—to pay off loans. With moral values long disintegrating nationwide—and throughout the West—many lack the fiscal responsibility—the character!—of previous generations.

As the crisis intensifies, mortgage defaults are multiplying. And everyone is on the hook. “Monoline” insurance companies have suddenly become liable for vast billions in debt. Investors have been left holding bonds that will never be repaid. Banks are finding it difficult to sell additional bonds as investors have backed out of the market, leery of poor investments. The banks’ fee income has dried up—leaving them with massive capital deficiencies.

Thus, banks have sharply reduced lending to each other, and to the public, fearful that loans will go unrepaid.

Evidence is clear that shockwaves from the crisis are being felt in other sectors of the economy. Liquidity is drying up and less money is available to finance commercial loans.

The credit crunch has pushed beyond retail banking, and now affects major business deals and commercial real estate. Municipal bonds (that fund cities, colleges and hospitals)—once considered safe investments—can no longer easily find buyers.

As more loans reach interest rate resets, more defaults will occur. The crisis will deepen.

This will not be helped by the fact that many economists have formally declared that the world has become “unstable.” The International Monetary Fund announced in October 2010 that “Southern Europe” is condemned “to death by slow suffocation” and “that fiscal tightening will trap North Europe, Britain and America in slump for a long time” (Telegraph).

A more accurate statement is that a fast-moving financial tsunami now approaches the shores of the world economy! While governments will enact an array of gimmicks attempting to turn it back, and will almost certainly bring an appearance of improvement—or even of permanent solution!—the levees they build will this time not hold. These barriers will be breached, and blown out. All temporary economic “upticks” will be washed away with them.

The discerning realize this!

The Role of Greed

The main motivating factors behind the crisis were greed and covetousness. Human nature has been accurately described as vanity, jealousy, lust and greed. Understand. Banks were greedy for ever-higher profits. So were investors who took foolish risks for higher return on investment. And greedy individuals sought loans they could not repay to purchase material goods they coveted, but did not need—and could not afford!

Simple lack of self-control drives many into bankruptcy. Impulse buying has turned the loan industry into a thriving business. Credit is now used for luxuries, leaving little to show for it except the monthly bill.

Obsession with material goods is fueling—in fact, supercharging—the mounting debt crisis. People now routinely spend more than they make. They want the best clothes, newest gadgets and fanciest cars. “Keeping up with the Joneses” and “Everyone else is doing it!” drives millions of consumers.

Jesus warned, “Beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses” (Luke 12:15).

Do any still believe this?

Governments, financial institutions and millions of citizens are all sliding toward bankruptcy.

The present generation is very different from those of the past. Most now live solely for pleasure, ease, comfort, gain and entertainment. Thoughts of personal responsibility and character-building have almost disappeared. Tens of millions today reflect—“I want”—“I want a lot”—and “I want it now!”

Foretold Long Ago

The apostle Paul foretold all that is happening: “This know also, that in the last days perilous [dangerous] times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous...unthankful...lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God...” (II Tim. 3:1-2, 4).

Make no mistake. As trends and conditions degenerate, violence will ensue—and in a big way. Uprisings, riots and tumults will increase in number and severity—so will violent crime, as the increasing number of desperate people take desperate action in an attempt to save themselves—at all costs. With this, the confusion of people asking, “What do we do?”—“Where do we go?”—“Who do we listen to?”—will grow beyond anything ever before seen.

The cacophony of fearful uncertainty will be deafening!

Back to the subject of finances. Differing opinions on why the personal debt crisis—and how to take control of your finances—fill newspapers, magazines, books and radio talk shows. But financial counselors offer advice that misses the crux of the problem.

With so many “experts” presenting theories (so often contrary to what other “experts” say), whose advice should be followed? Where can people find real solutions to real problems?

The answer to the above questions is the Bible—God’s Instruction Manual for mankind! Just as manuals exist for how to operate complex machines, the Creator God included a Manual for the most complex creation ever made—human beings.

Cause and Effect

Only by carefully following the guidelines—the immutable laws—in this Manual, can humanity achieve success.

Think of the following. God has created laws to govern every aspect of His Creation. Just as the laws of gravity and inertia govern portions of it, God has ordained laws that govern all aspects of money matters. By following them, people can ensure financial security.

Most just do not understand that laws govern every action in life. The law of cause and effect—where actions always bring reactions—applies to everything.

For example, everyone understands the law of gravity. If one accidentally drops a brick on his foot, the result could be broken bones. If a skydiver jumps from an airplane, and the parachute fails to open, the result is certain death. This is easy to understand.

Here are examples of the law of cause and effect that are just as real. If a person is constantly sick, it is obvious laws of health (proper diet, enough exercise, sufficient sleep, etc.) are being broken. The effect of bad health has one or more causes. If a marriage ends in divorce, it can be attributed to one or more causes: poor communication, financial woes, death of a child, sexual problems, drug use, etc. If someone is arrested for drunk driving, it is not hard to see the cause of the arrest.

Most never identify “cause and effect” as a universal law governing almost every action in life. They are unaware that this is a general principle at work in the world.

Yet every effect can be traced to one or more causes. Unwanted or illegitimate pregnancies, crime, drug addiction, bankruptcy, and a thousand other effects, can all be linked to specific causes.

The Bible teaches, “…the curse causeless shall not come” (Prov. 26:2). Another translation is, “…the baseless curse never goes home” (Moffatt). This scripture is saying that every difficulty carries a reason—there is a cause for every effect! Most people ignore right causes—and, as a result, reap a host of bad effects.

Why can man not see this law at work when looking either at the world as a whole or at lives individually? Why has religion also ignored this important relationship between cause and effect?

There is a hidden cause for the conditions of the world and its inhabitants!

Choice Before You

Jesus explains what most never notice because they never pick up the Bible: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Before entering this path, a choice must be made. Almighty God revealed this choice to ancient Israel: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live” (Deut. 30:19).

God will not force anyone to follow His ways. The choice is simple: Obeying Him leads to blessings and happiness—disobedience leads to misery and unhappiness. Like the Israelites, many refuse God’s warnings. They ignore the fact that by not following His laws, bad effects will come. Through man’s rebellion, unhappy lives result, with none having any idea why.

Many workers now face the fearful reality of losing their jobs. The majority of these still do not budget and save. As spending and standards of living have risen, family saving has dropped—drastically! The result? Millions of people are on the brink of financial disaster, only a couple paychecks from the street.

Impulsive spending is the product of a generation lacking in strength and character, and is the accelerant bringing the mountain of debt now burying so many! Successful countries run on budgets. So do successful businesses—and successful households!

While consumer, corporate and national debt are now monumental, another far greater debt has been ignored! This one is toward God. Mankind has been stealing from Him for 6,000 years.

God declares, “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine” (Haggai 2:8), and “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof” (Psa. 24:1). God owns everything—so says your Bible! He designed, created and maintains all things. This sets the stage for vitally important knowledge.

Can Steal from God

Everything people take for granted as theirs really belongs to God! But He has permitted man to use His planet and His resources. He allows us to be His stewards. All will one day give account of how they managed what was never theirs. God commands that we not steal from Him.

Yet most do.

How? Notice: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me. But you say, Wherein have we robbed You? [God’s answer is] In tithes and offerings. You are cursed...for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation [the nation of Israel, referenced hundreds of times in the Bible, here referring to the modern nations descended from ancient Israel]. Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse...and prove Me now...if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:8-10).

God only asks for a tithe—10 percent!—of what one makes (plus “offerings”)—and lets you keep the remaining 90 percent, although that still belongs to Him! He challenges skeptics to “prove” His promise of blessing the tithepayer.

There is a Church that knows and obeys God’s tithing laws—but also all the other laws and many truths in His Word. Part of the final Work of this Church is putting this book in your hands!

Again, most Western nations are staggering under impossible debt. There is a reason. So are millions of people. There is a reason. Terrible, national punishment now lies just ahead for the world’s greatest nations, in part because hundreds of millions of individuals in them have stolen from God—every day. This is just one of a long list of these nations’ sins. (I cover all of this, plus much more, in detail in my book America and Britain in Prophecy. It is one of the most important books you could ever read.)

The Normal Approach

God’s servants do not ever take political positions. We saw they are called “out of the world” (John 15:19). They “do not entangle themselves in the affairs of this life” (II Tim. 2:4)—and this includes involvement in the ineffective governments of men.

Voting for better politicians is not going to solve what are insoluble problems. The national and individual financial troubles catalogued here are consequences of nations and peoples disobeying God, not of merely bad politicians or wrong government policies. Most blame government policy instead of their own human nature.

Activists’ marches on the Capitol or letters to congressional representatives about today’s mushrooming political, social and economic problems will be in vain. None of these efforts will stop the fulfillment of horrific prophecies. Financial collapse will come!

Naturally then, comes the question…

Chapter Six – Are These the Last Days?

With world trends and conditions growing more frightening by the day, millions are searching—wondering about the course of events, and whether the world is on the brink of destruction.

Jesus’ disciples wondered the same thing almost 2,000 years ago, and asked Him about the “end of the age” (Matt. 24:3). We saw the prophet Daniel spoke of “the time of the end” (Dan. 11:40; 12:9). The apostle Peter foretold, “There shall come in the last days scoffers” (II Pet. 3:3). And we saw Paul warned, “In the last days perilous times shall come” (II Tim. 3:1). The last verse makes the subject more serious.

Has this final interval in world history arrived? Can you be sure? You can—in fact, God expects you to know!

Many sense or even firmly believe that we are in the last days. We hear from them daily. But these have rarely sought to prove this. They can—and should—know whether we are. So must you.

Let’s pull back and look at the big picture. It has become painfully obvious that this world is in terrible trouble. Mankind is overwhelmed with every kind of trouble, evil and ill—war, terrorism, violence of every kind, famine, disease, pollution, overpopulation, political upheaval, religious confusion and tremendous economic turmoil and decline, which we saw is threatening to make the Great Depression look like child’s play. Then there are the hundreds of millions who live in abject poverty, ignorance and oppression. Now add rampant and worsening immorality and perversion in every Western nation—and growing hatred, unrest and the already-discussed never-ending cycle of war in the Middle East—and deteriorating conditions throughout Africa—and earthquakes, volcanoes and frightening weather patterns across much of the world—and devastating fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, drought and floods occurring with greater frequency and intensity—and headlines screaming of murder, rape, robbery and crimes of every kind.

These mushrooming problems now threaten all nations.

Is all of this really only a little temporary worsening of what is otherwise “business as usual” for planet Earth? Many more—and much louder!—are the voices that say no, and that time is running out to solve the really big problems facing the world. More world leaders are expressing concern about the rise of division within and between nations. So are other voices of authority in education, the military, science and sociology. Yet, because this is also an age of religious sundowners and doomsayers, most will not pay real—serious!—attention.

But some will.

Big Questions

How long until Jesus Christ returns? For those who believe He will, no question is bigger. But there are other questions, some big, that must be answered first. This chapter looks primarily at perhaps the second biggest question, with later chapters addressing more of when Christ returns and events surrounding it.

The Bible speaks of the period preceding Christ’s Return as “the last days”—“the time of the end”—“the end of the age”—“the end of these things”—“the end of the days”—and of a time when the course of human history as we know it, Daniel wrote, “shall be finished” (12:7).

Of course, many professing Christians do not believe in a literal return to Earth by Jesus Christ. Of those who do, most think it could be decades away, with sometime just before 2050 having become a popular date. Others think it could be hundreds of years away. Some even believe it could be “a thousand years away.” Others feel time may be short, but see no way to know.

The Apostles Misunderstood

The original apostles thought for a time that Jesus would return in their lifetimes. Paul spoke of the Resurrection of the dead at Christ’s Second Coming, and (twice) used the words “we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord” (I Thes. 4:15, 17), because he expected to still be alive when it happened. Paul later came to realize he had misunderstood the timing of specific events that must precede Christ’s Return. In fact, he had to warn of those who would deceive others about when this would occur. He wrote about “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” and that brethren should be careful to “Let no man deceive you by any means...” (II Thes. 2:1, 3).

Could you be deceived?

So then, have we entered the last days? Do you and I live at the time of the end? If so, how can we be certain?

Jesus told His disciples, “I will come again” (John 14:3). Forty days later, as He was ascending to heaven, two angels underscored His words, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Matthew 24 records more of Christ’s words: “For as the lightning shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (vs. 27). Seven times just in this chapter (vs. 27, 30, 37, 39, 42, 44, 46), Jesus spoke of His Coming again, and the need to watch for key events, trends and conditions preceding it.

Make no mistake! The Bible is plain about the Return of Jesus Christ. Many verses speak of His Second Coming to Earth. It will happen—and it does not hinge on the opinions of men. However, in the period leading to this climactic event, many other things are foretold to happen—some, in fact many of them, catastrophic!

The idea of the end of the world has been a subject of speculation, discussion, ridicule, fascination and fancy for almost 2,000 years. Of course, most do not realize how much the Bible shows can be known about this time.

Is the world nearing Christ’s Return—are these the end times? Again, can we know?

In Matthew 24, when the disciples asked Christ to tell them “when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming?” (vs. 3), we saw He answered, “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven but My Father only” (vs. 36).

Does this mean we cannot know the general time of Jesus’ Second Coming?—and then also about the last days before it? Many think this—and therefore shrug off any need to be concerned with either.

Then what do verses 50-51 mean? “The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looks not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.” Most will simply not be looking for Jesus’ Return at the right time. Worse, many will not be looking at all. But His indictment shows they will have no excuse.

Why will so many be unable to recognize the onset of such an awesome, whole-world-altering event?

In verses 32-33, Jesus gave a parable: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near: so likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that [He] is near, even at the doors.” Since this could only apply to those alive at the end, Jesus is stating that we—“you”—can know the “season” of His Return, or when He is “at the doors.”

Do not be willing to settle for less than what the Bible reveals!

“Signs of the Times”

Years ago, a catchy tune called “A Sign of the Times” became popular. You may remember it. The title actually came from another verse here in Matthew. Religious leaders had confronted Jesus, desiring a “sign.” He called them hypocrites, adding, “You can discern the face of the sky; but can you not discern the signs of the times?” (16:3).

While the intent of their question was to get a sign that Jesus was the Messiah (read Matthew 12:38-40), His point was that they were unable to discern events they were witnessing all around them—or the “signs of the times”—and in their case, the signs of their times regarding Jesus’ First Coming!

Will you discern the signs of our times?

Jesus told His disciples, “And when these things begin to come to pass [He had just carefully listed them], then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28). The “these things” He referred to include a whole series of events prophesied to occur for the first time in history! What He spoke of is happening—and intensifying—now!

A closer look helps to see the “signs of the times.”

First remember this. The apostle John recorded the words of Christ that open the book of Revelation (remember also that this book is Christ’s revealing of things to come, not John’s): “The Revelation of Jesus show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass...blessed is he that reads [you have to pick up your Bible to do this], and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (1:1-3). At its end, the book repeats “for the time is at hand” (22:10).

Two thousand years later, how much more—today!—has the time for understanding colossal prophecies come! You can comprehend the message they bring.

But time is short.

God has allotted man 6,000 years to try his own governments, philosophies, religions, attempts at world peace, values and forms of education. But humanly devised ideas do not and can never solve the world’s truly big problems. They always fail in the end. And, in the last 200 years or so, the world has changed dramatically—and rapidly. Events are speeding up in a way that has never been seen before! The 6,000 years are almost up.

The Twenty-first Century World

Everyone is familiar with sign-carrying kooks on street corners saying, “Repent! The end is near!” Hollywood has depicted many. For the most part, such people are not taken seriously. But times have changed, and, I repeat, now many are the voices of reason who report, for those who will listen, that something is terribly wrong! And again, this has caused the idea of one world government, designed to save the planet and mankind from itself, to be heard more often. I recently read an article calling for this. However, no one seems to know how to create such a government and then acquire the cooperation of everyone necessary to make it succeed!

Look all around. What do you see?

As a whole, the world was a much more stable place until the early nineteenth century. At that time, the Industrial Revolution gave birth to the Modern Age. It was not until about a century ago that men began to drive cars and fly, and civilization went from the Modern Age to the “Nuclear Age” on to the “Space Age” and then to the “Information Age” in just a little more than a half century.

The arrival of new inventions, at the fastest rate in history, is changing life daily. Just think of the impact of the printing press and you can appreciate how dramatically a single invention can change the world. Computers have done the same—and there is no turning back from the huge impact, good and bad, of just this one invention. Remember, jet travel only arrived in the last half century.

Although estimates vary, it is believed that mankind’s total fund of knowledge is doubling every few years. Some think this could soon accelerate to every six months!

In the early 1970s, a book appeared titled Future Shock. Written by Alvin Toffler, it described a certain psychological stunning or shock effect on minds due to the high speed of changes in society. The author demonstrated that these changes began in the 1970s at such a rate that people could no longer properly process them. Society as a whole began to go into what was described as mental overload—or “shock”—explained as the “future” slamming into the present so fast that people were “short-circuiting” in a way never seen before. Some time after, a sequel described the advancement of this condition.

The picture presented was not good, and has only gotten worse!

Yet, with all man’s supposed “advancement,” his problems have never seemed greater or more insoluble!

The projections of the HIV/AIDS epidemic are constantly being revised to reflect an outlook far more alarming than previously thought. Entire sections of Africa’s population are forecast to be wiped out in a few years by this single, awful disease.

Earth’s population of almost 7 billion people is rising consistently at 1.2 percent each year. This means it would reach over 11 billion by 2050—if time were to permit, and it will not come close! This rise is despite the fact that disease and starvation are worst in the fastest growing parts of the world! High fertility rates in these less-developed countries have been bringing these increases right on schedule.

End-time Prophecies

Let’s look at some passages that describe crucial, end-time prophecies!

We explained that the apostle Paul came to realize he did not live in the age when Christ would return. However, God did use him to record what conditions would be like when that time finally came. Consider this now expanded excerpt detailing the widespread degeneration of attitudes and character, just before Christ’s Return: “This know also [many more are coming to know this], that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection [just ponder fast-changing marital laws], trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”—so true, but strangely at the same time—“having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (II Tim. 3:1-6).

This is a graphic picture. It describes a complete breakdown of character in “the last days.” This time has come!—and these conditions are rapidly growing worse! Again, look around. People’s conduct is changing—seemingly always for the worse. More authority figures are sounding the alarm that human nature is running wild—and conditions are exploding out of control!

No thinking person could any longer disagree.

The degeneration of people’s attitudes and behavior is stark when compared to only a generation ago. There have always been acts of violence, but now they occur more often, and are more depraved. There have always been liars, but now deceit is more pervasive. There has always been adultery, but the percentage of people who commit it is now epidemic, and close to pandemic. There has always been divorce, but today it is much more common. There have always been disrespectful young people, but soon an entire generation will have forgotten the Fifth Commandment, “Honor your father and mother.” There have always been thievery and fraud, but statistics show these have never been worse—even in the most affluent countries, where people have a lot, but want more.

Much more could be said of each term used in Paul’s prophecy. And we have not discussed pornography, child abuse, crime and trends in perverted sex, drug abuse, hatred, war and others! All these conditions have combined to create an age correctly described as “perilous”—or dangerous!

They become another powerful indicator that these are the last days!

Christ’s Greatest Prophecy

Christ’s disciples originally believed that His Return would occur in their lifetime. This is because they misunderstood Him and tied it to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. While the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD 69-70, Jesus knew that His Second Coming would be almost 20 centuries later.

Jesus foretold certain other, much later events would precede it. He also described the breakdown of character. He warned that conditions would mirror “the days of Noah,” which Genesis 6 describes this way: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (vs. 11-12).

Corruption is mentioned three times in this one short passage. But this description is at the same time highly specific and speaks of men as having individually and collectively degenerated into absolute corruption—with civilization “filled with violence.” God uses both the collective “all” and the singular “his” to drive this point home!

Again, the long age of man’s rule is nearing an end. The total collapse of principles, values, morals, character, ethics, integrity and respect for all law and authority will soon come together and strike the entire world in a terrible and final way!

Consider how often acts of mass violence now occur in schools, campuses, restaurants, malls and workplaces in ways unheard of until recently! The terms “serial snipers” and “suicide bombers” were unknown 15 years ago. And the relatively new phenomenon of terrorism has become global in nature.

Sodom and Gomorrah

Jesus also compared conditions before His Return to those in Sodom and Gomorrah. He leads in with Noah’s time again: “...As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage [society looked like it would continue on], until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded [again, society looked as if it would continue right along]; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26-29).

Genesis 18 and 19 show that these two cities were so rotten—so evil—that, just before God incinerated them, only four people were deemed worthy to escape: Lot, his two daughters and wife, who looked back and turned to salt. Only eight people were allowed to enter the Ark before God flooded the world.

Ask: How much longer before conditions cannot grow worse?

An aside at this point that has much to do with whether you will believe Christ: Many have been told that the early chapters of Genesis do not describe real people and real events. This is to accommodate the nonsensical fiction of evolution in place of a literal Adam and Eve. But had you realized Jesus said that Noah, the ark and The Flood existed?—and that so did Sodom and Gomorrah, including their destruction?

Those who dismiss these and related Genesis accounts seem unaware that Jesus Christ validated this first book of the Bible. They also forget—or willingly ignore—Jesus’ (and also the apostle Paul’s) references to Adam, and how this validates the Creation account. (Most simply do not know that, while man has been here for only 6,000 years, the earth has existed for many billions of years—and the key to this is understanding what happened between Genesis 1:1 and the very next verse 2. But this lies outside prophecy, the subject of this book.)

We are left to ask: How many will believe and act on Christ’s warning about oncoming events—when He compared these future events to Bible parallels that most do not accept as true—as having ever happened?

Scoffers at the End

This chapter opened with a reference to “scoffers” in the last days. Let’s now read the whole passage containing it before continuing to read through a warning for us today. Notice: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (II Pet. 3:3)—people choosing and following the course of human nature, as in Sodom and Gomorrah, and Noah’s time.

Now verse 4, “And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? [This is not saying they do not know which book it is—the Bible—that talks about Christ’s Return. Rather, they are thinking “it will never happen” because they do not yet see it being fulfilled.] For since the fathers [Abraham, Isaac and Jacob] fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” This describes people who are unwilling to believe that serious times—the last days!—could actually come, never mind in their own lifetime. They choose to dismiss obviously worsening conditions and trends, declaring that these things “continue as they were from the beginning.”

God declares in verse 5, “For this they willingly are ignorant...”—this speaks for itself!

And verse 6: “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” Remember, Jesus supported the Noachian account and signified its warning for us.

So did Peter.

Now see this in verse 9: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise...but is longsuffering to us-ward [patiently waiting, because He is] not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Sadly, of course, most will not do this.

Next comes a stark warning to those who are not looking at what is happening all around them: “But the day of the Lord [the time of His wrath upon a sin-sick world] will come as a thief in the night...” followed by “Seeing then...what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy [conduct] and godliness,” and “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God,” and also “...Seeing that you look for such things, be diligent that you may be found of Him [God] in peace, without spot, and blameless” (vs. 10-12, 14).

Finally, the very personal verse 17: “You therefore...seeing you know these things before[hand], beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked [scoffers and ungodly people walking in their lusts all around you], fall from your own steadfastness.”

Now a caution: be careful you are neither among the pooh-poohing, unbelieving scoffers—nor of those who will not seek and obey God while there is still time.

The Bible promises that those who are faithful and obedient will be protected through the worst calamities that could fall upon an unsuspecting world. While the last days certainly are perilous—dangerous—this is just the run-up period prior to the infinitely worse final three and a half years to follow before the good news of the gospel is fulfilled in Christ’s Coming.

But there is more to know about whether we have reached this time. This chapter’s title question now comes into sharper focus…

Chapter Seven – Is the End Near?

The question of whether we are in the last days has within it a related, but somewhat different, question—and it towers over that of when the Bible’s greatest prophecies will be fulfilled. It is summarized in the chapter’s title—have we possibly even reached the period near the close of the last days—is the end of the last days near? In other words, is there now almost no time left in the 6,000 years allotted to mankind to rule its own affairs?

We have already discussed character breakdown, the warnings of Christ and other “signs of the times.” We also briefly examined the last 200 years and how a series of societal changes, generally thought to be advancements, bringing civilization to the Industrial Revolution, and subsequently the Modern Age, the Space Age, and lastly the Information Age—culminated in the final age—the perilous last days before the glorious Return of Jesus Christ.

This rapid progression of a changing civilization laid the foundation for the time of the end. Remember, the disciples’ question to Christ was about what would precede His Return and the end of the age.

Religious Deception

Now we ask: What about religious confusion at the end? Jesus warned more than once about future great deception: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I [Jesus] am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4-5). In other words, many would claim to represent Jesus, and would acknowledge that He was indeed the Christ, but bring a message that deceives their listeners. The confused, competing, disagreeing and multiplying groups within professing Christianity today confirm Jesus’ words.

Jesus’ warning is critical. Modern preachers all stress the Person of Jesus Christ, instead of His Message! They focus on the Messenger not His Message! Saying Christ was, in fact, the Christ—the Messiah—is a true statement! The deception starts when His message of a coming world-ruling kingdom—with all that this means—is ignored, and even suppressed.

Herein lies the greatest deception! Understand this!

False Gospel Proclaimed

Jesus proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom of God. Here are His first recorded words: “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying...the kingdom of God is at hand [Christ was there representing it]: repent you, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). Many verses show Jesus consistently preached this message.

Within 30 years of Jesus’ crucifixion, Paul warned of those who were already perverting Christ’s gospel with a counterfeit message. This understanding was so central that he pronounced a double curse on any who did this (Gal. 1:6-9). He also warned, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him” (II Cor. 11:3-4).

Preachers misrepresent Christ by bringing what is “another Jesus,” “another spirit” and “another gospel,” other than the kingdom of God.

The power of deception is very real. This includes those who specialize today in confusing, incomplete hodgepodges of prophetic theories about how the last days will play out. We saw the utter nonsense of these conflicting “experts” and prognosticators, like Nostradamus and other supposed prophets and prophecy fiction writers, is without end.

In Matthew 24:14, Christ foretold, “This gospel of the kingdom”—the true gospel!—“shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations [this describes a huge, worldwide effort, and just before the end]; and then shall the end come.”

Christ’s prophecy is still true! Its fulfillment having begun in 1934, The Restored Church of God continues this commission for a few more years. (More on this later.)

Wars, Famines, Pestilences and Earthquakes

The previous two subheads and this one involve five subjects (four of which are the horsemen of Revelation) that are so large and important that each commands its own later extensive chapter. But it is necessary to very briefly cover them here in the context of whether the end of the last days is near.

The most cursory look—our purpose at this point—reveals that this world is not led by God. Just the world’s biggest problems prove this. After Christ warned of the danger of false Christianity, His warning continued, “And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars...and there shall be famines, and pestilences and earthquakes, in divers [various] places,” but then explaining that “all these are [just] the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:6-8).

Who can doubt these things have come to pass in a greater way? For instance, how often do we now hear of devastating earthquakes? A well-known television commentator stated that “for some reason” there are now more earthquakes occurring every day. Seismologists record 12,000 separate, measurable earthquakes annually. 88,000 died in them just in 2009.

New, serious outbreaks of old diseases—some now antibiotic-resistant—are reported more frequently. These include the HIV epidemic, cholera, typhoid, dengue fever, flesh-eating bacteria, Legionnaire’s disease, the Ebola and West Nile viruses, malaria, the return of stronger, more resistant strains of tuberculosis and diphtheria, and an explosion of sexually transmitted diseases. Whooping cough is again on the rise. These are but a small part of an immense, constantly emerging picture of frightening new diseases—and old ones returning with a vengeance!

Consider one illustration. Over 10,000 die from lung disease every year just in Hong Kong—just due to pollution. But 1.28 million die in China—one country!—each year!—just due to lung-related diseases.

About 24,000 people on Earth now starve to death every day—with this number steadily rising! Think. I live in a city of just about 24,000. This means a medium-sized city disappears from the face of the earth every 24 hours!

Wars, and what the gospel writer Luke called “commotions,” including acts of terror and protracted riots in more places, fill headlines—bringing more suffering and death. Greater disease and starvation are merely natural byproducts of the population displacement and confusion that always follow in the wake of armed conflict.

In recent years, scientists have warned of climate change. Few any longer doubt that more extreme weather has arrived on the front edge of a worldwide phenomenon, whatever the cause. Storms are more severe, and more often. Abnormal flooding and devastation of the land are contributing to famines and disease epidemics in unheard of proportions. Weather catastrophes, earthquakes, wars and resulting disease and hopelessness tend to exacerbate what is already an epidemic of suffering.

The Bible also foretells more volcanic activity—and this is happening!

God Must Intervene

The world needs God’s Law, which, if kept by all nations, would bring universal peace, happiness, abundance and prosperity!

Cities could become beautiful. Disease, famine and war could disappear, as could racism, ignorance, poverty and all false religion. Yet, no man, no government, nor all the governments of men put together can bring these things!

Only God’s kingdom can, led by Christ and the saints who have qualified to join Him. The world must learn about the laws of God. Both Isaiah 2:2-4 and Micah 4:1-4 also speak of the “last days,” when this will happen. God’s Law universally obeyed and His love are prophesied to replace the lawlessness and hate between people and nations today!

God has to intervene! You saw Christ explain, “Except those days should be shortened [cut short], there should no flesh be saved [alive]: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt. 24:22)!

Think! When has mankind held the capability to destroy all human beings? Only with the advent of nuclear, chemical, biological and now “radiological” weapons could this be possible. We live when all of these are available—and nuclear weapons alone possess the capability, with the stockpiles that currently exist, to wipe out all mankind many times over! As one leader said, “Once would be quite enough.”

Some assert that these weapons are too terrible to ever be used—that they exist only as a “deterrent” against their use.

Do not be fooled! They will be used. Many prophecies make this clear. Remember, the moment these weapons became available, and the United States felt it in its interest to use them, President Truman ordered bombs be dropped in August 1945—and without hesitation! Yet, the two bombs that landed on Japan were little more than “firecrackers” compared to what exists today.

It is no coincidence that the true gospel began being preached around the world at the time weapons of mass destruction became available—proving correct the timing of Christ’s prophecy about danger to the survival of all humanity!

All of what you have seen shows that we are now in the very last of the last days—the end of man’s rule is near.

Daniel Revisited

There is an element of Daniel’s long prophecy that must be brought out here—and it is absolutely crucial. The first reference in Daniel’s book to “the time of the end” is in chapter 8, verse 17. Later, in chapter 11, verse 40, and six times in chapter 12 alone, the word “end” is used.

Now get this! Daniel was not permitted by God to understand what he recorded. Recall God told him that his prophecy was sealed until the end of the age—and it would only then be unsealed. This has happened—and Daniel’s prophecy has now been opened to understanding.

Next, in 12:10 it states, “the wise shall understand,” but “none of the wicked shall understand.” This means some—a relative few—will comprehend events around them—step by step by step! They will be able to understand what happens when, as well as where and to whom. And they will understand why.

Daniel 12:4 gives two more vital clues to knowing when the end time has arrived: “the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

We have already discussed the astonishing knowledge explosion brought about just by the arrival of computers (and cellphones) in scores of millions of homes. Great numbers now have access to vast amounts of knowledge—instantaneously! What can be quickly known by anyone seeking information is staggering! Surely we have arrived at the time when “knowledge shall be increased”—along with its easy access!

What about “many shall run to and fro”? The arrival of railroads in the middle of the nineteenth century—then great ships driven by powerful engines to move them ever faster across oceans—followed by automobiles—and finally, passenger jets, made our planet universally accessible, and quickly. Jets turned the Atlantic Ocean into little more than a large lake.

Earth seemingly grew much smaller because of its inhabitants’ ability to “run to and fro” almost anywhere at any time!

Four Prophesied Kingdoms

Daniel addresses other great prophecies. The second chapter contains another unusually long prophecy spanning over 2,500 years, concluding with Christ’s Second Coming. It pictures a giant man consisting of four metals (gold, silver, brass, and iron mixed with clay), which represent four succeeding world-ruling kingdoms that began in Daniel’s time and culminate with a final revival of the Holy Roman Empire.

This will be the final Beast of Revelation 17 that will come upon an unsuspecting world with stunning speed and force. With the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the reunification of Germany, the last resurrection, consisting of countries and kingdoms throughout Eastern and Western Europe, will be a kind of United States of Europe.

This chapter has brought light on subjects you have almost certainly not even heard referenced, never mind explained.

Fifty Bibles are sold every minute worldwide. This translates to over 26 million each year. How many believe and act on its contents? All convicted Bible readers should by now be sobered and motivated to want to carefully study all the events we have discussed—and we are only beginning. All others, including less convicted Bible students, will soon wish they had brought a more serious approach to the greatest events in all human history.

How Scoffers Think

Today’s world is truly filled with “scoffers.” They do not believe God will intervene—or that this is even necessary! Most believe man is capable at the last minute of “snatching victory from the jaws of defeat,” and will save himself by solving his own problems! They think “everything will turn out all right—somehow!” And “Everything may look bad now, but it will get better because it always does.”

Though wrong in the short term, this is ultimately correct—but by means they have not anticipated!

Scoffing at the thought that Jesus Christ is returning, people choose to live rotten, sinful lives, following “their own lusts.” But dismissing them as irrelevant will not change the truth of God’s prophecies! Men must learn bitter lessons—that they have utterly failed to bring the conditions everyone longs for—that peace, happiness, prosperity and abundance will remain elusive despite humanity’s best efforts to find them.

Armies “trying to make the world safe for democracy,” humanitarian efforts, missionaries, “think tanks,” new scientific laborsaving devices, computers, cellphones, better school systems, fundraising efforts to eradicate deadly diseases, etc., will all fail—because humanity will not humble itself and seek the God who does have solutions—all of them!—to man’s greatest troubles!

But, when it is almost too late, the living Christ will intervene in power and glory to save man from himself!

What About You?

Daniel also foretold: “At that time...there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation...” (Dan. 12:1). Paralleling Christ’s own words in Matthew 24, this is serious. In fact, one could scarcely imagine a passage in the Bible that could be more serious!

Admit now that you are the “captain of your own ship”—the “master of your own destiny.” It is your choice to reject God’s warning or to yield yourself to Him and ask Him to prepare you for rulership in His kingdom!

More than reading a book, you are being warned. You now know the last days are here. Will you prepare yourself for what lies ahead?

If you do not intend to act on what you are learning, put the book down now, for it contains a great deal more knowledge for which you will be held accountable. You are better off to join the “willingly ignorant” scoffers in the “bliss” of not knowing the shocking details of the long, violent storm just ahead.

A formal inset statement is vital here. Many write or call our World Headquarters to thank us for what they call the “service” we are performing—for “boldly” or “courageously,” they often add, “educating” or “informing” the public about matters others will not address. Of course, we appreciate such gratitude. But The Real Truth magazine, The World to Come broadcast and our vast library of literature, including this volume, are infinitely more than a mere “service” or attempt to “inform.”

Just knowing about the last days means nothing. There is a warning attached to this subject. Here is what God said in Ezekiel (twice) to one who would be alive at the end of the age: “I have made you a watchman unto the house of Israel [again, my book America and Britain in Prophecy explains in detail who is the house of Israel]: therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me” (3:17; 33:7)—meaning, this is from God, not any human.

The meaning of the Hebrew word translated “watchman” is instructive. It is tsaphah, and means “to lean forward,” “to peer into the distance; by implication to observe, await: - behold, espy, look up (well), wait for, (keep the) watch (-man).” It is of interest that espy means “to catch sight of (something distant, partially hidden, or obscure); glimpse.”

This definition describes a responsibility that involves scrutiny—the term “to lean forward” paints a picture of one taking a very serious look at what lies ahead “in the distance.” He is one intently interested in “catching sight of” what is apparently obscured to the view of most or all others.

Just before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receives whomsoever I send receives Me; and he that receives Me receives Him [the Father] that sent Me” (John 13:20).

Another verse amplifies this point, making absolutely crystal clear just how important this principle is to God. It is found in Matthew 10: “He that receives you [God’s representatives] receives Me, and he that receives Me receives Him that sent Me” (vs. 40). This is almost identical to John 13:20.

To receive those whom God sends is to receive both Christ and the Father. Conversely—and obviously—to reject or ignore those Christ has sent is to reject or ignore Christ and the Father!

God would not send someone without ensuring we could know that he came from God. If God sends a man, He would obviously want it known. He would make it plain!

Understand. Someone, somewhere—yes, someone, somewhere!—had to be raised up to fulfill Ezekiel 33. God does not speak audibly from the heavens, but rather through His human servants. But make no mistake. The warning is not from the servant, it is from GOD!

No one else is saying these things.

Chapter Eight – Revelation Unveiled!

Monumental events will soon shock the entire world! Great prophecies in the book of Revelation—in fact, the greatest in all the Bible—show how and when these catastrophic events will occur.

In this chapter comes understanding that will completely change your outlook on the near future. But you must have the keys that unlock it! And you must examine every scripture quoted—along with the entirety of Revelation. This stunning book of prophecy is opened, revealed and explained—at last!

Many think they understand prophecy—and this is possibly most true of at least some parts of the book of Revelation. Yet the most common human interpretations of this book, at best, border on ludicrous. Usually, a very little truth is mixed with much error! They are almost unbearable to read—yet major magazines report that great numbers do believe these dangerous, counterfeit scenarios.

World trouble will soon greatly increase—intensifying to staggering proportions. This will be followed by unexpected and cataclysmic events that will shake the whole world!

But God has not left mankind without a source of answers that reveals in detail what lies ahead. Tragically, believing things will eventually “work themselves out,” many take the ostrich approach and bury their heads in the sand, choosing to pursue pleasure and the accumulation of material goods. But world conditions will become much more serious than most realize.

God understands human nature and where it always leads when left to its own devices. This allows Him to know, and to guide, the awesome future events that will occur from now on!

We saw it has become God’s time to reveal what lies ahead. The stage is set and He has lifted the curtain on the future. Revelation describes terrible plagues and truly earth-shattering events!

Mystery Book

Signs, seals, symbols, Satan, vials, visions, images, trumpets, thrones, plagues, angels, demons, destruction, beasts, heads, horns, women, witnesses, woes, wars, judgment, numbers, multitudes, messages and mystery! Revelation contains all of these terms. But what do they mean?

As we discussed from Isaiah in Chapter One, most believe the book of Revelation is sealed, closed from understanding. It is called a mystery book without meaning. Yet it is an entire book of important—vital—meaning. It is filled with answers. The above terms can be unlocked! They can be understood—and the next two eye-opening chapters contain the necessary keys!

You will be fascinated by the clarity of what can be known from Revelation. You can know that events are building to an unanticipated explosion!

Almost half the books of the Old Testament are included in the so-called “major” prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) or “minor” prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Jonah, Micah, etc.).

Paul explained that the New Testament Church was “…built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Eph. 2:20). Recognize that, since the Church stands on the words of the prophets, Christians are expected to understand prophecy. Because God commands men to “live by every word of God” (Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4; Deut. 8:3), He would not exclude the full third that is prophecy!

We read that Daniel spoke of a time and of events “the wise shall understand” (12:10). Jesus directly paraphrased Daniel in the Olivet prophecy, where He answered the disciples’ question about the sequence of events to occur at “the end of the age.” He reinforced Daniel’s statements about those events by saying, “Whoso reads, let him understand” (Matt. 24:15).

What are the wise to understand? Important keys exist, which open up Bible prophecies, but the world knows nothing of them! No wonder so many claim that the meaning of Revelation cannot be explained. How could they understand without the keys?

Imagine. Forty-two percent of Americans actually believe that they can consult the dead about matters involving the future. But mankind refuses to seek and consult GOD! Only He can reveal the future. Men cannot, through intelligence, human reasoning or scientific discovery, know or discern events to come. And many “religious” people believe the book of Revelation offers no help anyway, because it cannot be understood.

Revelation Means a Revealing

God reveals a basic framework for understanding future events. This framework is primarily laid out in Daniel and Revelation. Daniel, recorded over 600 years earlier, sets the stage for the larger and more detailed book of Revelation, which describes events found nowhere else in the Bible.

The Greek word apocalypse is translated “revelation.” A fuller look at this English word starts with to reveal—not conceal, hide, veil or close up. The actual definition of revelation is: “The act of revealing or disclosing; something revealed, especially a dramatic disclosure of something not previously known or realized” (American Heritage Dictionary).

We saw that Revelation closes with, “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand” (22:10). Comprehend John’s words. The time for understanding Revelation IS now at hand!

We will see that this awesome revelation of future events was sealed with seven separate seals. It is crucial to understand another key point: The seven seals in God’s hand essentially span all but the last two chapters of the book! The seven seals are opened one by one, in sequence. Each reveals future events before they happen. Only Christ is qualified to remove the seven seals and open the book to understanding.

Revelation outlines a long series of events that relate to one another in a continuous flow—comprising an entire story. These occur in order of time sequence. (This chapter contains two overview graphs—an outline and a story flow—to which the reader may occasionally refer.) Also, Christ periodically insets certain events into the course of the Revelation. You now understand the first key to unlock the book!

Grasp this central, all-important point. While there are keys to understanding Revelation, the book itself is the single greatest key to understanding almost all other prophecies in the Bible!

An important point must be made. Many subjects in the book of Revelation that will be covered only briefly in the next two chapters command their own full chapter. Remember that the Table of Contents tells the reader which of these subjects reappear in greater detail.

The Signs of Christ’s Coming Parallel the Seven Seals

The basic rule of Bible study, that the Bible always interprets itself, is probably never truer than in the book of Revelation. This will be done as we progress through the opening of the seven seals.

Since John sees many symbols, we need to be able to understand the actual events that they represent. Otherwise, we will not know what is being described. How do we do this?

Mark 4:10-12 and Matthew 13:10-15 hold another key to understanding how Jesus teaches. In both places, He explained that He spoke in parables so that His servants would understand Him—but all others would not! Carefully read this: “And when He was alone, they that were about Him with the twelve asked of Him the parable [Jesus had just told the parable of the sower]. And He said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them” (Mark 4:10-12).

Note exactly what Jesus said! Only His servants can understand His real meaning. Others might think they do—but they cannot!

Jesus never leaves His servants in the dark about matters He wants them to understand. But He does record them in ways that keep them hidden from the view of all others. This will help you see why so few understand a book that has been read by so many. Others may—and many do—sincerely seek to understand the many truths of Bible prophecy, but they are wasting their time. So says Christ.

Jesus explained, in plain, clear language, the key events of the last days preceding and leading to the time of His Second Coming. Central to your thinking and understanding is Jesus answering the disciples’ question, “…when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the [age]?” (Matt. 24:3; Luke 21:7).

We must briefly examine the critical Matthew 24 for vital clues, which explain the symbols that we will study in Revelation. Jesus gave a list of six different events that are to happen before His Second Coming. They precisely parallel what we will read beginning in Revelation 6.

First—false prophets and false christs (vs. 5). Second—wars (vs. 6) throughout the age, culminating in the end time with world war (vs. 7). Third—famines (vs. 7). Fourth—pestilences (vs. 7). It is at this point that Christ inserted a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, in AD 70, because this was a forerunner, or type, of the yet future siege of Jerusalem and final “battle of Armageddon” (review Matthew 24:17-28 with Luke 17:30-37). Therefore, Matthew 24:9-28 (also Luke 21:12-24) applies to the period of AD 70—but only as a forerunning type of the final time of the end to which His warning refers literally!

Fifth, in Matthew 24:21-22, Jesus explains that the Great Tribulation occurs. Sixth are the heavenly signs (vs. 29)—when the stars fall and the sun and moon are darkened. The sign of Christ’s coming (vs. 30) occurs at this same time. His actual coming is right on the heels of it.

We will now examine Revelation, chapter by chapter.

Chapter 1: Christ the Revelator and the Book’s Theme

Understanding who is the true author of the Revelation—as well as the critically important theme, the centerpiece of the book—is vital. Without these two keys, many have bogged down either into arguments about whether “the Lord’s Day” (vs. 10) is a reference to Sunday—or whether John, instead of Christ, authored the book.

Why does almost everyone refer to this book as “The Revelation of St. John the Divine”? Nowhere does it refer to John as either divine or the Revelator.

Notice again: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto HIM…and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw” (vs. 1-2).

The book of Revelation contains Jesus Christ’s words, as the Revelator, not John’s. John was merely a scribe—a secretary taking dictation. Sadly, modern commentators love to picture John as a deranged old man in exile on an island where he dreamed up lunatic visions that cannot be understood. These accusers do not realize that they are actually attacking Jesus Christ!—the book’s true Author.

Anyone who will even quickly examine the above passage will plainly see that the Revelation originated with God (the Father), who gave it to Christ. Christ sent and signified the Revelation by His angel, who then gave it to John, “Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw” (vs. 2). John merely recorded these events, preserving them for the servants of Jesus Christ—His end-time Church.

As soon as the book was copied and canonized (circa AD 100), the founders of the developing universal church at Rome denied its origin. The highly authoritative and famous 11th edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica states, “Instead of this [Rev. 1:1] the Church substituted the name of the disciple through whom the message was delivered for that of his Master, and designated our Apocalypse ‘The Apocalypse of John.’ This title was familiar before the end of the 2nd century” (vol. 23, p. 212).

If the world’s best minds cannot even discern the book’s correct title—and Author—how could they possibly discern its MESSAGE?

Jesus Christ used John to “bare record of” (vs. 2)—write down—what He was revealing. In short, John wrote three things: (1) The word of God, (2) the direct testimony (words) of Christ, and (3) what he saw in vision.

With this background, you now understand the introduction to the book.

The Theme

Most reputable scholars generally agree, and admit, that the term “the Lord’s Day” is, in fact, a reference to God’s coming day of reckoning, or judgment upon the world—the Day of the Lord!

Yet almost no one else understands this. Without this central point correct in one’s thinking, the entire book will make no sense. Reading Revelation becomes a fruitless exercise.

Now notice verse 10. It actually reveals the central focus or theme of the whole book. Understand that John lived 1,900 years ago—long before the events of this book were to be fulfilled. He wrote, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.” Both the Rotherham translation and the Concordant version render this verse, “I came to be, in Spirit, in the Lord’s Day.”

Centuries of controversy have sprung from this reference, because people argue about to which day of the week John is referring. The presumption is that he is talking about Sunday, though the prophecy says nothing of the kind. This verse has nothing to do with Sunday—and is not a reference to any day of the week! The day of the week on which John may have received this prophecy is irrelevant.

The “Lord’s Day” is speaking of the time of God’s wrath. Over 30 different Old Testament prophecies refer to “the great and terrible day of the Lord .”

The prophet Joel speaks of it in detail. And he is graphic. Here is a small portion of how he describes the day: “Blow you the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord comes, for it is near at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there has not been ever the like [again, this is shown to be part of the worst time ever], neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devours before them; and behind them a flame burns: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yes, and nothing shall escape them” (2:1-3).

The prophet Zephaniah is even more graphic: “Hold your peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord has prepared a sacrifice, He has bid His guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes and the kings’ children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit. And it shall come to pass in that day...” (1:7-10).

A few verses later, Zephaniah gives more insight into just how terrible this time will be. Consider this sobering picture: “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hastes greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord : the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm...And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung” (vs. 14-17).

This presents a horrible picture. Verse 18 refers to this time as “the day of the Lord’s wrath.” Verse 17 identifies the cause of God’s wrath: “because they [all mankind] have sinned against the Lord.”

Events depicted here are almost more awful and terrifying than words can describe. This day literally belongs to God—it is the “Lord’s Day.” Man’s conduct has made God angry. And He will soon intervene in the affairs of this world and send horrific plagues on a sinning mankind.

The Day of the Lord is the truly terrible time of God’s punishments, plagues and judgments at the culmination of mankind’s practice of sin for six millennia. Jesus Christ, through John, is revealing to His servants what occurs prior to—and through—His Return!

Ezekiel 8:3 gives some insight into how John could be transported 1,900 years into the future. Notice: “The spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem.” Like the prophet Ezekiel, John was in vision—“in the spirit”—from the Isle of Patmos, where he recorded the Revelation. God projected His servants (through visions) into important future events so that they could record them.

The book of Revelation does not speak to unknown events in the distant past in the Roman Empire, as many assert. It warns of colossal events that spring from world troubles affecting the masses of humanity alive now. Grasp that the Day of the Lord is the towering centerpiece of the entire book. Thus, it requires more explanation to understand what we will read in the balance of this and the following chapter.

In Revelation 1:3, God states, “…he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep [obey] those things which are written” are “blessed.” What would be the point of this verse if God did not want the reader—the “hearer”—the “keeper” (obeyer)—to understand the book’s message? This is an important statement to all who read the book.

It means you!

Verses 14-16 are a direct description of Christ, as He now exists in full glory. This is an awe-inspiring picture. Take a moment to meditate on it—and how it is a far cry from the common image of the popular long-haired, sallow-complexioned, sad-faced, effeminate-looking, weakling false “Christ” of this world: “His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in his strength.”

There are two symbols used in the first chapter of Revelation. One is mentioned in verse 12, where John saw “seven golden candlesticks.” Also, in verse 16, he saw “seven stars” in Christ’s hand.

Their meaning is explained by simply continuing to read the context: “The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels [messengers] of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which you saw are the seven churches” (vs. 20).

The Bible just interpreted itself! And we have now introduced the subject of chapters 2 and 3.

Chapters 2 and 3: The Seven Church Messages

Chapters 2 and 3 contain Christ’s messages to seven congregations—“churches”—in Asia Minor—today’s western Turkey. Together, these messages represent the first overall message of God’s book. They are directed to the seven successive eras, or stages, of the Church, and span the entire New Testament period—from the time Jesus built His Church (Matt. 16:18) in AD 31, until His Second Coming! God has chosen to work with His Church through sequential eras.

Each message contains Christ’s brief description of the spiritual condition of these seven consecutive Church eras.

These messages are not spoken to the many well-known, respected denominations of this world’s professing Christianity. They are directed to God’s one true Church. Men have never understood the messages because they have never recognized how to identify God’s Church.

All eras are described as having their own unique set of doctrinal and spiritual problems (Smyrna and Philadelphia are exceptions) that eventually lead to Christ raising up a new leader to establish the next era. The eras are Ephesus (2:1), Smyrna (2:8), Pergamos (2:12), Thyatira (2:18), Sardis (3:1), Philadelphia (3:7) and Laodicea (3:14).

These locations were actually seven cities lying close together (in this order) on a mail route. God knew that each city would reflect a corresponding attitude existing in the era it represents. Christ was able to use them to show a pattern that would span the 2,000-year history of His Church.

History demonstrates that most in each of these eras did not heed the warnings spoken to them by Christ. This is never truer than at the end of the age. While the Church has now progressed into the deplorable seventh (or last) era, known as Laodicea, the most faithful brethren in the Church of God today are a remnant of the sixth, the Philadelphian era. Doctrinally sound and more zealous in spiritual condition, they remain separate from the “lukewarm” condition of the seventh era. (The serious reader will want to study my book Where Is the True Church? – and Its Incredible History!)

Chapter 4: Before God’s Throne and the Twenty-four Elders

Chapters 4 and 5 represent the setting for the central part of the Revelation, which is to follow. They set the stage for unveiling the great prophecies explaining the theme of the book.

In verse 1, John describes a door opening in heaven and an invitation from a great voice to “come up” to be shown things “which must be hereafter.” Keep in mind that John was actually on a small island (Patmos) in the Mediterranean Sea and all of what he saw was occurring in vision. He was not literally in heaven.

In verse 2, John saw the Father on His throne. The verse introduces God and presents a magnificent picture of the setting in which He exists. Surrounding Him are 24 additional “seats” (lesser thrones), occupied by “twenty-four elders.”

It is important to study chapter 4 with chapter 5, because together they present a descriptive picture of four “beasts” (living creatures), as well as the twenty-four elders—and Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God (5:6), standing before God’s throne.

This awe-inspiring setting pictures the environment—the magnificent beauty—of and around God’s throne. The description is simply stunning!

Chapter 5: Christ Unseals the Prophecy

Verse 1 pictures the Father holding the entire book of Revelation (with seven seals upon it) in His right hand. At this point, the book (actually a scroll or parchment) is still unopened—sealed—locked! Now notice: “And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.”

Seven is God’s number of completeness—and, of course, the book was also completely sealed. This means that the explanation of the prophecy would remain hidden from view—unavailable to mankind until God’s appointed time! It has not even been possible to read it correctly in proper sequence, let alone understand it.

Here is the description: “And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon” (vs. 2-4).

The account reveals that no man is qualified to open the book. If only people would simply believe God, there would not have been so many men, over the centuries, giving their interpretations of a prophecy that cannot possibly be understood. Like Daniel, who recorded a prophecy he did not understand, John was also unable to comprehend this prophecy. He actually cried because he did not see any way to open the book (vs. 4).

It is at this point that Christ, and Christ alone (not any human being), is deemed “worthy” to UNSEAL THE BOOK!

Understand this! The interpretation of the book of Revelation is not that of The Restored Church of God, or any person within it, including me. No man is capable of opening a single prophecy in this book.

The book of Revelation has been available in English since the King James Version was translated from the original Greek in 1611. So, on the surface, this is a difficult point to understand because, of course, many have opened the Bible to this book and read all of its 22 chapters. But they have not correctly understood it. This is because they have not believed chapter 5—that Jesus Christ has sole authority to unseal the book. Endless differing, competing, humanly devised “interpretations,” creating much confusion, have floated around for almost 2,000 years. Popular modern novelists have only made this worse.

Do not be confused about who alone can open this book to correct understanding. And remember, Daniel’s book is a companion to all the main prophecies of Revelation, and his book was “sealed till the time of the end” (12:9).

But Christ reveals the meaning of these prophecies: “And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne” (Rev. 5:7).

The Twenty-four Elders Explained

Let’s notice something else about the twenty-four elders—and clear up a misunderstanding that has existed about who and what they are.

First read an additional reference to them in chapter 5: “And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sung a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for You were slain, and have redeemed us [them] to God by the blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and have made us [them] unto our God kings and priests: and we [they] shall reign on the earth” (vs. 8-10).

Some claim the twenty-four elders are taken from saved human beings. This idea comes from a mistranslation of the italicized words “us” and “we.” They should be replaced by the words in brackets. See the Revised Standard Version, and also the margin of the New King James Version. Both render them correctly.

These elders are spirit beings created by God to be His counselors. They were probably created before the physical creation, along with the cherubim (Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer—who became Satan), the seraphim, the four living creatures and the billions of other angels (vs. 11) that serve God.

It is impossible for the twenty-four elders to be resurrected saints. Jesus said, “And no man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:13). Only when Jesus returns to Earth will Christians be given immortality (I Cor. 15:23)!

The twenty-four elders rule with God in heaven, having an obvious advisory role to Him. The resurrected saints will rule on Earth (Rev. 20:4; Matt. 5:5; Dan. 7:27). Though the vision that John saw is unsealed in heaven, it reflects events that will occur “on the earth.”

Chapter 6: The Seals Are Opened

We now come to the critically important chapter 6—and the beginning of Christ’s one-by-one removal of each of the seven seals. Watch end-time events unfold in sequence.

First, again understand that, beginning with chapter 6, unsealing the seven seals spans the next 15 chapters of the book. But since chapter 6 explains six of the seven seals, obviously they do not individually receive a large amount of space. The seventh seal is so important—and so multi-faceted—that God devotes much space to its complete explanation. Most of the remainder of Revelation is devoted to just the seventh seal!

This is another key to understanding the whole book.

The world sees the Apocalypse as a mystic, cryptic message of doom! The first four seals are represented by four riders, on four different-colored horses. Of course, much has been said and written about them. But the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” as they are commonly referred to, are still viewed as mysterious, unexplained horrors to be unleashed upon the world without warning. Again, only briefly explained now for context, each horse and rider receives its own chapter later in the book. But it is still important that we lay enough foundation here regarding the meaning of these horses and riders that you comprehend what is happening as the unveiling of Revelation progresses.

To clearly understand the first seal of Revelation 6:2, we must accept a basic fact. Recall, the Greek term apocalypse simply means “revelation.” So let’s now explain what is to be revealed—the seven seals.

We will read the description of each seal before discussing it. Remember, God wants His servants—“the wise”—to understand!


Let’s now examine the first seal: “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” (vs. 1-2).

What John records is written in symbols. He does not speak in plain language. It is impossible to understand these symbols by merely rereading Revelation 6 over and over until their correct meaning sort of “pops into your head.”

It is also absolutely critical to recognize that a list of human interpretations is available for what this horse and its rider, and the others, represent. But, once again, the Bible interprets the Bible. We must permit Christ to explain what He is unsealing! No one else has authority to speak for what God gave to Christ—and authorized only Him to reveal!

Christ Interprets

Jesus reveals the meaning of the white horse. Recall that His disciples asked Him, “…when shall these things [the destruction of the Temple] be? and what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world?”

Understand that Christ is speaking in both Matthew 24 and Revelation 6. He is addressing the very same questions in both chapters. He answers His disciples by listing, in time sequence and order, the events and trends that precede the end of the age—and thus His Coming.

Now notice the exact parallel between Revelation 6:1-2 and Matthew 24:4-5: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My Name, saying, I am Christ [that Christ is Christ]; and shall deceive many.” That’s right! Christ warned that the many will be deceived by those who claim to represent Him—not the few.

The white horse that John described represents false “christs.” Here is proof. The one sitting on this horse is actually a counterfeit of the true Christ and a counterfeit of His Second Coming, described in Revelation 19:11-16. There, the real Christ wields a sharp two-edged sword, while the false christ is represented as carrying a bow. Do not overlook this critical difference!

Here is a partial description of the true Jesus Christ returning in great power and glory. While it does show Him riding a white horse, the rest of the description is very different from Revelation 6: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war...And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (19:11, 15).

Consider for a moment. Most who study Revelation believe that the white horse of the first seal pictures the true Christ coming before war, famine and disease strike the earth. How ridiculous! Such ignorance and misunderstanding has clouded the timing of the glorious Return of Jesus Christ described in Revelation 19:11-16. This is but one more way Satan’s ministers have deceived false Christianity—the other white horse.

Parallel Chapters

Before proceeding, let’s read more of Christ’s answer to His disciples in Matthew 24. It will prepare us to see further the precise parallel between it and Revelation 6.

Carefully notice the rest of Jesus’ answer: “And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (vs. 6-8).

Christ gives a direct answer to a direct question. The events He describes require no interpretation. In fact, they are Christ’s interpretation of Revelation 6. By having them in mind as we read the opening of the remaining seals, we have Christ telling us in advance what we are viewing—and what the symbols mean. All mystery is stripped away. This is most crucial to see!

The same Christ would not give two different versions of what happens immediately prior to His Return. He would not tell one thing to His disciples of the first century, and give an entirely different explanation to His servants of the twenty-first century! This should be obvious.

But, it is important to understand that only relatively recently, after almost 2,000 years, has the book of Revelation been opened up to plain understanding for all those who will heed. The words have always been there, but, as with Daniel’s prophecy, their meaning has been “sealed till the time of the end.”

Grasp what you have just read! In effect, Jesus has given an advance newscast—newspaper headlines—of events now lying just ahead, and increasingly already around us today. Jesus’ greatest single prophecy, the entirety of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 contain much more information than just Matthew 24:3-8. But we are not yet ready to discuss it.

In John 1, Jesus Christ is referred to as “the Word.” Compare verse 1 and verse 14. “The Word” is translated from the Greek word logos, meaning “Spokesman.” Actually, Jesus not only inspired Matthew 24 and Revelation 6, but also the entire Bible! (I Cor. 10:4, among other places, reveals that Jesus Christ is in fact the God of the Old Testament. However shocking this is to most, it is true and easily provable!)

For those with “eyes to see and ears to hear,” in Matthew 24, Jesus is revealing in plain language the true meaning of the symbols recorded in Revelation 6.

Understanding the last sentence is the single biggest key to understanding the entire book of Revelation!

Parables are much like symbols. Both are different from the actual things or figures being described. As explained, while most believe that Jesus spoke in parables to illustrate His meaning, He said otherwise in Mark 4 and Matthew 13, when discussing the parable of the Sower and the Seed. The real reason Jesus spoke in parables was to HIDE His meaning. The same is true of symbols! It is the use of these symbols in Revelation 6 that kept the prophecy locked—sealed!

If you read the account in Mark, you will find that Jesus explains the Parable of the Sower, but only privately to His disciples. This is exactly what He did in Matthew 24. He explained privately to His disciples then—“and His disciples came to Him privately”—and for His disciples of the end time, the meaning of the Revelation 6 symbols.

When the disciples wanted to understand the events that would precede Christ’s Return, they asked HIM, not some uninformed churchman or theologian who could have no idea what he was talking about.

You can do the same. Christ is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). What He revealed to the disciples long ago is just as true for us today! And the events are foretold to occur in our time. So, if the first-century disciples desired to know the answer to their question of Matthew 24:3, how much more should today’s disciples want to plainly understand what will directly affect their lives?

Understand one final point about Christ’s explanation of the opening of the seals. Each represents a prophetic trend that begins and remains continuous from the moment it is opened, all the way to His Second Coming.

In II Corinthians 11:13-15, Paul recorded how false ministers (or false christs) do their work—deluding, deceiving and causing vast numbers of people to accept counterfeit christs (vs. 4). While this has been happening for 2,000 years, all but the few—to whom Christ is revealing His precious truth—are completely oblivious! This includes deceitful misrepresentation of the entire book of Revelation. You will later learn this in stunning detail.

False ministers and deceivers were prophesied to delude the “many”—not the few.

Almost immediately after Jesus’ death and Resurrection, false ministers and deceivers entered His true flock. This is the very reason He warned His Church, in each of its seven eras of chapters 2 and 3, with separate messages.

The Second Seal—WAR

When the second seal opens, a red horse appears: “When He had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword” (Rev. 6:3-4). As with Christ in Revelation 19, the sword is here shown as an instrument of war and killing.

This horse and rider “take peace from the earth.” The opposite of peace is war. When peace is removed, war is what remains. This pictures the “wars and rumors of wars” that Christ referenced in Matthew 24:6.

Wars have continued and grown steadily worse since the time of Christ’s prophecy. But this part of John’s astounding vision has the gravest implications for all alive on Earth today.

This horseman represents the dreadful destruction of world war. In the Matthew 24 parallel prophecy, war immediately follows false Christianity. By the end of the age, the potential for devastation in war has become so great that it holds the power to take peace not just from two or more nations, but now “from the earth.”

Only in the modern age have such terrible weapons of mass destruction been available. The twentieth century saw the two most devastating wars in history, with World War II far more destructive than World War I.

We are now in the last recess—intermission—preceding the time of the truly greatest war, prophesied to exceed anything in the last century. A sinning, rebellious humanity will soon reach the end of its rope. We have reached a time when war’s potential cannot grow worse, because it can now erase all life from Earth in one final blast of complete destruction—if Christ did not intervene and cut events “short” (vs. 22). You will also later learn much more about this.

But the pattern of history is that famine always follows war. This is why famine (the third seal) follows on the heels of war (the second seal).

The Third Seal—FAMINE

The third seal opens and a black horse, a symbol of famine, appears: “And when He had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see you hurt not the oil and the wine” (Rev. 6:5-6).

This pictures extreme worldwide famine—a widespread lack of food beyond anything civilization has ever seen—and any student of history knows that it has seen a great deal. This devouring condition is seen to be seizing the entire world in an extraordinary way. Famine is now far worse than most imagine. Again, much more will follow later in a separate chapter.

The Fourth Seal—DISEASE

The opening of the fourth seal reveals a pale horse, which represents pestilence or disease: “And when He had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” (vs. 7-8).

This horse is depicted as pale because it is sickly. It obviously represents disease—pestilence! Invariably, war leads to famine—and resulting malnutrition invites a host of diseases. New diseases, or old ones grown worse, seem to be appearing almost daily. The death toll from disease around the world is staggering—now over 82,000 die every day!

Disease is a subject tremendous in size, and the topic of an endless number of entire books. As with the fulfillment of the other seals, far more information is available about it than could begin to fit in this short section. Yet again you are left to prepare for a fuller picture later.


The opening of the fifth seal does not reveal a horse. Instead, it introduces and briefly overviews the soon-to-come worst time of world trouble in history (Matt. 24:21; Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1)—the Great Tribulation!

Again, many prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments explain and describe this period. This world-changing event will be truly colossal in nature—and thoroughly explaining all elements of it involves far more than the space available in this chapter.

Of course, the most terrible wars, famines and diseases still lie ahead. And these will greatly intensify before the Great Tribulation begins. Even so, remember that, after Jesus had described the first four seals, plus earthquakes, He concluded, “All these are the beginning of sorrows [travail or tribulation]” (Matt. 24:8). They are far from the end of matters.

The first thing to follow these beginning events and conditions is the Tribulation. We will shortly prove this.

But first we need to explain another important aspect of what the Tribulation means.

Here is what Jesus told His disciples would occur next: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for My Name’s sake” (vs. 9).

Now understand something. Two different pronouns appear in this passage—“they” and “you.” Jesus did this for a very specific reason. Whenever Jesus was describing true Christians, He spoke of “you.” Those who were deceivers and not of the truth—the many who are falsely converted—are generally referred to in Scripture as “they” or other similar pronouns.

Sometimes the term “you” can also refer to national Israel or national Judah, or to these and to true Christians. Whenever the passage is speaking nationally, it is either referring to Israel or Judah, or both. When coupled with Mark 13 and Luke 21, it is obvious that Jesus is referring to both in Matthew 24.

Final Martyrdom of Saints

Before continuing with more of Christ’s explanation in Matthew 24 about the Tribulation, we need to read John’s description of the fifth seal: “And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Rev. 6:9-11).

The fifth seal portrays the martyrdom of true saints (along with vast numbers from national Israel and Judah). This occurs during the Tribulation. Verse 11 is a symbolic instruction to the martyrs of the Middle Ages to await this latter martyrdom of the end time.

The context develops with the souls asking God a question.

Some cite these verses to validate both the immortal soul doctrine and that the saved go to heaven—and thereby miss the whole point of what Christ is revealing. They obviously also do not put this verse with Christ’s Matthew 24:9 explanation, which again is seen to be His interpretation of its meaning.

This description is not literal, but rather is symbolic, as is much of Revelation. No one believes that the four horses, or their riders, are literal. It is obvious that they are symbolic and part of a vision. A consistent standard must be used, without randomly picking and choosing which passages are literal and which are part of the vision.

In vision, John was shown a preview of a future event (“hereafter,” Rev. 4:1). Since John was “in the spirit” as the seals were opened (vs. 2), the events he witnessed were not actually occurring when he saw them. They were heavenly previews of things that would happen later on Earth.

Upon the opening of the fifth seal (Rev. 6:9), John “saw under [at the base of] the altar the souls of them that were slain.”

Remember, in the vision, John was shown the future. A long period of martyrdom had taken place (up to and through the Middle Ages). A later one (the Great Tribulation) is yet to happen in our time. The souls who were already “slain” were martyred Christians throughout the ages. These earlier martyrs were told to “rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (vs. 11).

Many of God’s people in the end time have partially drifted away from being as close to Him, or as on fire for His truth and His Work as they should. They have not been praying, studying, fasting, meditating and seeking Him on a daily basis as they should. This has allowed many to be deceived, and to fall into various false doctrines. Only the Tribulation will awaken these brethren—and even then only about half (Matt. 25:1-12)!

During the Tribulation, there will be a great religious persecution. Jesus was very specific about this in Matthew 24: “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity [lawlessness, occurring worldwide] shall abound, the love [Rom. 13:10; I John 5:3] of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved...For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be...For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (vs. 10-13, 21, 24).

The elect must remain on guard!

This is a very specific prophecy about tremendous deception that seduces “many.” The “souls under the altar” await God’s punishment of the great governmental power that persecuted them, when God “avenges [their] blood.”

All true but lukewarm Christians will have to suffer this final martyrdom (Rev. 3:14-22). Those faithful Christians who were previously killed must continue to “rest” (remain “asleep” in their graves—Eph. 5:14; I Cor. 11:30) until others join them through martyrdom.

The “souls” (dead saints) crying “avenge our blood” (Rev. 6:10) is akin to Abel’s blood (his life—note Leviticus 17:14) crying to God from the earth (Gen. 4:10) after Cain’s murder of his brother. Since neither blood nor the dead talk (Psa. 115:17; Ecc. 9:5, 10), the meaning is symbolic, not literal.

So then, in Matthew 24:9-10 Jesus was actually describing a final martyrdom yet to occur among His people. Therefore, the “souls under the altar” represent those awaiting a future martyrdom of lukewarm saints—“their brethren.” These are of the seventh and last era, Laodicea, described in Revelation 3:14-22.

Invasion and Captivity

The Tribulation will also include the invasion and captivity of the “ten lost tribes” of the modern-day descendants of Israel, and Judah (the modern nation of Israel).

Recognize that God often works prophetically through the principle of duality. Many prophecies work in this way. For instance, I Corinthians 15:21-22 shows that Adam was a type of Christ, and vice versa (a problem for those who believe there was no literal Adam and Eve).

As alluded to previously, most Bible students are unaware that some prophecies have first a former, then a typical and, lastly, a final great fulfillment. This causes big problems for those trying to understand and explain such prophecies. The results are always mixed up and confused.

In Matthew 24:2, Jesus prophesied that the Temple would be completely destroyed, with not “one stone” remaining. So would Jerusalem be destroyed. This occurred in AD 69-70 to the nation of Judah, as an early type of a final, infinitely greater fulfillment at the end of the age.

Here is how Christ described this final fulfillment of national invasion, war and captivity: “But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:23-24).

This describes a time of truly great fear and real horror for the modern peoples and nations descended from Israel. (America and Britain in Prophecy covers in detail where these peoples are now, and why they are foretold to go through such national punishment.)

We must now examine an inset of the prophecy that precedes and leads up to the Great Tribulation. We briefly covered it earlier: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14).

Remember, the true gospel is about the kingdom of God. Men have devised many false gospels, but Christ preached a message about a divine, world-ruling supergovernment to be established at His Return. God’s Church is preaching this marvelous truth, and about how His perfect spiritual Law will soon be established in all nations. This is the wonderful good news referenced earlier—the word “gospel” means good news. When our task is complete, “then shall the end come”! (Look forward to the full chapter on this subject, which makes plain the gospel truth in its component parts!)

Though there is still time for announcing God’s kingdom, it will soon run out. Some few will yet turn to God as a result of this Work. May you “hear and understand” while there is yet time!


Next comes the sixth seal—the heavenly, or astronomical, signs: “I beheld when He had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind” (Rev. 6:12-13).

How do we know that the heavenly signs come directly on the heels of the Great Tribulation? Here are Christ’s words: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” (Matt. 24:29).

This is an almost verbatim, phrase-by-phrase description of Revelation 6:12-13. The parallel is unmistakable. Jesus has again interpreted the sixth seal, and its timing, for us. The phrase “immediately after the tribulation” removes all doubt about when the heavenly signs occur.

The arrival of the heavenly signs heralds a tremendous overall change in the direction—and speed!—of events. This is understood by continuing in Revelation 6, a few verses later. Let’s read: “For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (vs. 17).

There it is in plain English. The Day of the Lord, or Day of God’s Wrath, follows the sixth seal. Heaven and Earth are shaken! This time reveals God’s awesome power! It is comparable to nothing that has ever happened before, or ever will again.

The prophet Joel was speaking of this time when God’s tremendous power and great wrath will be displayed when he said, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and dreadful Day of the Lord come” (2:31).

Some have claimed that these signs have already occurred. This is impossible! Matthew 24 makes plain that they all follow—not precede—the Tribulation. In addition, when they occur, they are either immediately followed by or accompany the sign of Christ’s Coming (vs. 29-30).

The terrible period of God’s wrath is foretold to last an ENTIRE YEAR—after the initial two and a half years of the Tribulation. Here is how Isaiah described it: “For it is the day of the Lord’ s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion” (34:8). Jeremiah refers to this period as “the year of…visitation” (11:23; 23:12—also see Ezek. 4:6 and Num. 14:34).

A Great Earthquake

Notice verse 12 of Revelation 6 speaks of a “great earthquake.” This earthquake occurs after the fifth seal, upon the opening of the sixth seal. The terrible time of the fifth seal involves the military invasion and the captivity of the peoples of the modern nations (which are merely ancient tribes grown larger) of Israel. This includes the two and a half years of unparalleled suffering and tribulation—unrivaled in history. It is coming on this generation—soon!

By its very timing and context, this earthquake proclaims the end of the Tribulation and the beginning of signs that appear in the heavens.

Revelation 6:12 states, “And I beheld when He had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.”

This event was also covered in Matthew 24:29. Reread it: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.”

Luke 21:25-26 describes this same event, adding more: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring [tsunamis]; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”

This earthquake will be of such awesome magnitude that “every mountain” and “every island” will be shaken out of position (Rev. 6:14).

Remember, this is the time of God’s great wrath! This earthquake will be worldwide in scope. But all the earth’s topography will not necessarily be changed by one final earthquake. This process appears to take place in stages. God will bring it about in such a way as to preserve life on the earth, with each of five final earthquakes contributing to some aspect of the transformation.

If only one cataclysmic earthquake did this, it could threaten all life on Earth. Still, only a fraction of humanity will survive into the Millennium. Again, this earthquake announces the sixth sealthe heavenly signs.

Notice Isaiah’s description of this time: “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake terribly the earth” (2:20-21). This compares with Revelation 6:15-16.

All of Revelation 6:14-17 shows that this sign is the heavens rolling together like a scroll. This time will be so awful that John records people, in sheer terror, hiding themselves in caves and rocks and crying out to die. Verse 17 asks, “...and who shall be able to stand?” The masses fear facing the full wrath of the One they have disobeyed!

Three World Events

Understand! The Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are not synonymous! These are completely separate, different events. The heavenly signs come between the Tribulation, which precedes them, and the Day of the Lord, which follows them. (Although only Matthew 24:21, 29 and Revelation 7:14 use the term “Great Tribulation,” at least 30 scriptures speak of it.)

The religious leaders of this world are in almost complete ignorance of how these three earth-shattering events come—in what order they appear. Most believe them to be synonymous. They are not!

The Tribulation comes first. “Immediately after the tribulation” (Jesus recorded) come the heavenly signs. These introduce the Day of the Lord (God’s wrath), which is a separate period of events. We have seen how Joel, Zephaniah and Matthew have explained what Jesus revealed in vision to John in the Revelation. By now, these great events should be clear.

Jesus also taught His disciples, “ vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men...” (Mark 7:7-8). There are many “traditional,” but incorrect, views of prophecy.


More and more people are writing of prophecies they know nothing about. They ignore what God says, in order to promote time-honored, empty theories—or even newer, more far-fetched ideas. I have just reviewed an article in a national magazine about much of what has been covered so far in this and the two previous chapters. It demonstrates appalling ignorance of even the most basic facts of scriptures pertaining to end-time prophecies. Yet the article shows that almost three out of five Americans (scores of millions) believe that the mixed-up jumble of ideas it references about Revelation will soon come true, but only in some inexplicable, mysterious way. Millions of other professing Christians, no doubt because they either do not care or are confused, reject anything to do with prophecy! Either way, people remain ignorant.

I repeat: The great majority of people believe the Tribulation, heavenly signs and Day of the Lord are identical—one and the same. Anyone who cannot distinguish between these obviously separate events has no hope of understanding what God has prophesied.

Here is an important distinction: The Day of the Lord reflects the wrath of God. The Tribulation is actually the wrath of Satan the devil. It is a sobering thought to realize that this time sees the unleashed wrath of the second most powerful force in the universe. This fallen angel is well aware that he has but a short time to remain the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4), deceiving the nations (Rev. 12:9). His time is almost up (vs. 12).

The Tribulation is also Satan’s final persecution and martyrdom of many of God’s true servants in a lukewarm condition. If they return to and remain close to God, Satan cannot deceive them—so he is furious.

If you seek God, you need not worry about events soon to strike all nations. Take a moment to review Luke 21:36. It is a reassuring promise from Christ that requires you to “Watch...and pray...that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things...and to stand before the Son of man.” Then remember Christ’s sobering description in the preceding verses in Luke of how these events will strike a completely unsuspecting world—billions of people—“like a snare.”

The goal of a Christian is to stand before Jesus Christ at His Return, and rule with Him when the kingdom of God is established!

Chapter 7: Why God’s Wrath Temporarily Held Back

Right before the Day of the Lord, an angel temporarily holds back the four winds, which Revelation 8:7-12 explains are the first four trumpet plagues of the seventh seal. Now notice: “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel” (7:1-4).

This is a dramatic scene. Four winds are about to “hurt the earth”—devastate its landscape! (Though symbolic in language, the plagues they bring will be most real to all who suffer them.) God’s wrath, which is the beginning of His direct intervention in world affairs, is poised to appear. But it is temporarily restrained. Something must happen first before this can occur.

These winds are held back so that the well-known (but little understood) 144,000 can be sealed—and the great (innumerable) multitude—each the subject of later chapters—stand before the throne of Christ wearing white robes.

First, most briefly, the 144,000 are sealed (7:4-8) with the Father’s Name (14:1)—and represent 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Revelation 14 adds more about this group (vs. 1-5). These are obviously converted people. They are sealed with the Father’s Name (and the Holy Spirit “in their foreheads”) because this is how Christ prayed, in John 17:11, that the Father would “keep” His servants. This world’s churches are named after men, doctrines, locations, etc. God’s Church (in 12 places in the New Testament) is always named after Himself—Church of God!

The innumerable multitude is comprised of those who are drifting along, not heeding God’s instruction now, though some may know His commands. These “came out of the great tribulation” (7:14).

John records the following: “After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands...And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir you know. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (vs. 9, 13-14).

Many know the truth today but are either not acting on it, or are only responding to it in a limited way. Hundreds of millions heard the voice of Herbert W. Armstrong during his 52-year ministry. He boldly proclaimed the true gospel of the kingdom of God, and restored many true doctrines to the sixth era (Philadelphia) of God’s Church. The vast majority did not heed. They were “choked by the cares of the world.”

Some will finally wake up during or after the Tribulation, after experiencing the terror of the heavenly signs—and after much suffering. These stupendous events will sober and awaken many before it is too late. In complete submission, they will repent and turn to God.

Why God Sends Plagues

A loving God never punishes people before He warns them. Proverbs 3:11-12 states, “…despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction: for whom the Lord loves He corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights.” (A later chapter describes in graphic detail why God plans such severe correction and chastening.)

These are the plain words of God about how He works with people. Theologians and ministers focus almost solely on God’s love. They ignore such verses as Proverbs 3:11-12, or others like “Behold...the goodness and severity of God” (Rom. 11:22), among many others.

We are about to read of terrible plagues to be poured out on a God-hating, truth-rejecting, self-willed, rebellious world. This punishment is coming for a reason. Six thousand years of ignoring God have come to the full—and God is filled with wrath...

Chapter Nine – The Seventh Seal—The Day of the Lord!

The emphasis God places on the final and complex seventh seal requires its own chapter. Remember, nothing in this last book of God’s Word receives close to as much attention! Also remember that the seven seals represent the entire book of Revelation. But exactly what is the seventh seal?

We pick up in Revelation 8, which depicts the opening of this seventh seal. As it is opened, seven angels stand before God and receive the seven trumpets. A different angel took a censer “…and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake” (vs. 5).

This earthquake represents the beginning of the seven trumpet plagues, which begin the seventh seal’s fulfillment—and the Day of the Lord.

Revelation 8:1-2 shows that the seventh seal is the same as the seven trumpets: “And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.”

Now understand! This verse proves that all seven seals are not the same as, or equal to, all seven trumpets. This is critical to recognize—and is another big key to understanding Revelation. Make this important distinction now: (1) The seventh seal is all seven trumpets and (2) the seventh trumpet is all seven last plagues or vials. This is confusing to almost everyone, because most believe that the seven trumpets and the seven last plagues are synonymous. Also, the seven trumpets do not follow the seventh seal—they are the seventh seal. Simply reading more carefully eliminates this error.

The seven trumpets represent seven stages—Revelation 9:20 calls them “plagues, but again they are not the seven last plagues, or vials, as we shall see.

Recall that the four winds comprise the first four trumpet plagues. Revelation 8:3-12 reveals that they blow on the (1) trees, (2) seas, (3) rivers, and (4) a third part of the sun, moon and stars are smitten and darkened. Space prohibits explaining in detail the fuller meaning of the incredible effect of these great winds.

Various places in the Old Testament show that, anciently, a trumpet was always blown as an alarm of war (Num. 10:9; Jer. 4:19; Ezek. 33:2-6; etc.). When heard, it signaled approaching armies and the onset of battle. Israel and Judah always went to war with the sound of a trumpet.

The fifth and sixth trumpets clearly depict war—in two stages. (But this is not to be confused with any part of the second seal, or red horse. This is a later and completely separate element of war.) Make note of another important point. The last three trumpets, the fifth, sixth and seventh, are synonymous with the three woes (Rev. 8:13). The chart in the previous chapter helps make this plain.

The world loves war—and has practiced it since Creation! And man has always pursued war on his own terms. When God goes to war with the world, He is choosing to speak in a language men understand—and this time HE controls the terms! However, this is also His way of pleading with all humanity to “WAKE UP!”

These seven trumpet plagues are a truly frightening and horrific punishment from God on those remaining unresponsive in their disobedience: “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues [the seven trumpets] yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk” (Rev. 9:20). Obviously, many continue unrepentant after these plagues, and continue to serve the myriad of false gods worshipped around the world.

Chapter 9: The Three Woes

Chapter 9 pertains entirely to the first two of the three woes— the fifth and sixth trumpets.

In verses 1-11, the fifth trumpet, or first woe, is described as a great power that comes out of what the Bible calls the “bottomless pit.” This, of course, is a symbol and not an actual pit somewhere on the earth. Revelation 17:8-14 interprets it. The old Roman Empire (with its seven separate resurrections or heads) emerges from this “pit” one last time. The sixth head, Mussolini’s revival of this Roman system, was small and relatively insignificant. The soon-coming last revival will be much greater!

In 9:11, John calls Satan “a destroyer,” referring to him as a “king over them”—a system of people led by a final, world-ruling, counterfeit figure soon to appear, just prior to the Return of Christ. The Hebrew word Abaddon means “destroying angel,” and the Greek word Apollyon, also used there, means “a destroyer” or simply “Satan.” Understanding Satan as a destroyer sets the stage for the next scripture.

Verses 13-21 describe the second woe. Open your Bible and read these verses. An army of 200 million “horsemen” attacks and temporarily repels the European system led by the final super-dictator known as the “Beast.” These eastern hordes (Ezek. 25:4, 10), probably led by Russia or China, and allied with India and Japan, compose the 200-million-man army of verse 16.

The prophet Ezekiel describes the same events of Revelation 9:13-21, revealing more: “And I will turn you back, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armor, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords...and you shall come from your place out of the north parts, you, and many people with you, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army” (38:4, 15; also see Joel 2:4). The reference to horses and horsemen is obviously a representation of an immense army. 200 million is certainly “a mighty army.” This is almost certainly an attack by the Russian and Northern Asian hordes (armies) against what is called the Beast and Babylon (Rev. 17 and 18). Jeremiah 50 and 51, as well as Isaiah 13 and 14, and 47 and 48, describe this coming system and its destruction.

Forces on Earth are forming even now, so they can come into play at the right moment within God’s Plan!

Chapter 10: The Little Book

Chapter 10 is almost entirely about a “little book” held in the hand of a “mighty angel.” This little book is “sweet as honey” in John’s mouth, but “bitter” in his belly. This is a reference to the book of Ezekiel and its long warning (see Ezekiel 3:1-3, 14) to Israel today, but perhaps also working in conjunction with the book of Revelation itself.

The most important part is verse 7, which explains that the seventh angel (that sounds in the end of chapter 11) brings an end to the mystery of God’s Plan as declared by all of His prophets.

Verse 11 reveals that the message of the little book, and the book of Revelation, was to be taken by one (not the apostle John because he never did this) to “peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” Also, for this to happen “again,” as it says, it must previously happen in a first fulfillment. This occurred in the twentieth century for the first time, and is now happening “again.”

Chapter 11: The Two Witnesses

The first 13 verses contain the description of the previously mentioned final end-time servants known as the Two Witnesses. Ridiculous interpretations, and at least one Hollywood movie, have brought much confusion as to who these men are.

These two “prophets” (vs. 10) witness for three and a half years before being killed by the Beast (vs. 7) of Revelation 13 and 17, and Daniel 2 and 7. The identity of these two individuals is yet unknown. However, when they do come on the scene, it will be clear that Christ’s Return is imminent.

A later chapter brings detail regarding their unique roles, and where they will come from.

Another Earthquake

After the Two Witnesses are resurrected following three and a half days of lying in the streets of Jerusalem, another great earthquake occurs. The timing of this earthquake is prior to the time of the seventh trumpet, the Return of Christ and the First Resurrection (I Cor. 15:51; I Thes. 4:16).

Notice Revelation 11:12-13: “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them [the Two Witnesses], Come up here. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud [the first heaven—Revelation 19:17—where birds fly—where the clouds are]; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city [Jerusalem] fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven [the third heaven—II Corinthians 12:2—of God’s throne].”

This particular earthquake precedes and announces the most pivotal event in mankind’s history—Jesus Christ’s Return!

No doubt, this earthquake is God punctuating the world’s failure to permanently destroy these two extraordinary servants. It also appears to be centered mainly in the area of Jerusalem, but could still be worldwide in scope.

It cannot be the same one described in Zechariah 14:4, because all nations will not yet have gathered (the sixth vial) for what is called The Battle of that Great Day of God Almighty (the time of the last plague, or seventh vial—Revelation 16:17-21).

The Seventh Trumpet or Third Woe

Remember, the seventh trumpet equals the third woe. But these are also synonymous with the seven last plagues! Chapter 11, verses 15-19, describe them, and, coupled with 15:1, prove the last statement.

Now notice verse 15: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever.”

Both I Corinthians 15:52 and I Thessalonians 4:16 speak of this moment. In these verses, Paul states that Christ comes at the “trump of God” and at the “last trump.” Matthew 24:31 speaks of the same event using “a great sound of a trumpet.” These are all references to the seventh trumpet.

With this event, the greatest moment in all history has arrived. At His glorious Return, Christ replaces all human powers and laws with His own. All the governments of men—including that of every great and small country on Earth today—are smashed and replaced by God’s government. Fairness, justice and peace finally come to a sick and broken planet!

Of course, the seventh trumpet brings the forced establishment of Christ’s government, based on God’s laws, over the nations. But they are not happy to see this Christ—they are “angry” (vs. 18)! They will have come to believe and trust in a counterfeit system, and many will have expected to be “raptured away” to safety by what is actually a false christ, not the Christ of the Bible.

Even professing Christianity, while pretending that God governs “in the hearts of men,” has not truly wanted to be GOVERNED by Him. Neither has the world, which hates His Law (Rom. 8:7). Mankind has rejected the only way to peace, happiness, abundance and universal prosperity. In a final and terrible way, the seven last plagues get the world’s attention. They signal that Jesus Christ is King of kings—and He is now in CHARGE!

Christ wants the world to know that He is about to save humanity from itself.

Still Another Earthquake

This earthquake occurs after the seventh trumpet has sounded (Rev. 11:15). This is the time of Christ’s Second Coming: “…and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever.”

Verse 19 states, “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” This earthquake occurs immediately after Christ’s Return and the First Resurrection, and punctuates the fulfillment of these events.

Christ’s Return makes possible the fulfillment of all the wonderful prophecies of the Bible foretold to come to pass on Earth. This pivotal event is the most crucial in all history! Earthquakes, before and after it, underscore its momentous importance in God’s Plan. No other event bears such distinction.

This earthquake also results from Christ’s actual presence, now ruling in glory. The earth literally quakes with gladness, along with the whole Creation: “Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for He comes to judge the earth: with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity” (Psa. 98:7-8).

As with the seventh seal, the seventh trumpet is divided into seven parts. These are called the seven last plagues, and they “fill up” (Rev. 15:1)—complete—the wrath of God! Revelation 14:10 reveals that the last plagues are “poured the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” Of course, Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36).

Before we examine these plagues, beginning in chapter 15, several inset chapters appear in Revelation.

Chapter 12: The Woman—Christ’s Church

Chapters 12, 13 and 14 represent an interruption—an inset—in the overall flow of Revelation. This is because God wants readers to be aware of what His Church—His people—will be doing for the nearly 2,000 years from John’s vision until the Return of Christ. God has always had His true Church—the persecuted (John 15:20; II Tim. 3:12), few (Matt. 7:14; 20:16; 22:14), little flock (Luke 12:32) that will rule with Christ (Rev. 2:26; 3:21)!

We have seen that Christ will be established as King of kings and Lord of lords. But the saints will be resurrected and join Him. Chapter 12 introduces more directly the Church through which Jesus has been preparing these others to rule with Him.

John describes God’s Church from before Christ’s birth (vs. 4), through His life, Resurrection and ascension (vs. 5). He then describes the 1,260 years of persecution this Church endured and how it had to flee to remote areas to avoid the government powers that sought to destroy it. But Christ promised that the true Church—His “flock”—would always exist (Matt. 16:18)—and it has!

This is also an important chapter in that it shows (Rev. 12:14) that God will protect His Church—described as a woman here—from the horrible time of intense trial soon to befall this world! All of Revelation 12 describes her, and the devil’s attacks against her. Soon, an angry Satan will lash out at Christ’s Church one last time, forcing her need for protection: “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (vs. 13-14). Those of the condition of the faithful sixth era of the Church escape!

The “time, and times, and half a time” are the three and a half years of the Tribulation and wrath of God. Verse 17 shows how the devil turns his attention to the “remnant”—the lukewarm era, previously explained.

Understand. This is not the “woman” pictured in chapter 17—she is depicted as a great whore (vs. 1)! That woman is the great false church, representing the false Christianity of this world. The woman of chapter 17 actually persecutes the chapter 12 different woman that is God’s true Church. Chapter 12, verse 17, describes it as those who “keep the commandments of God.” Recognizing the difference between these two women is another vital key to understanding the book of Revelation!

Chapter 13: Two “Beasts”

The 13th chapter describes a symbolic “Beast” and a second beast with “two horns” (vs. 11). The first Beast is a description of the Roman Empire—a political kingdom. The second two-horned beast represents the headquarters of the large, organized false church that controls the first Beast. (Much proof follows later.)

Only by comparing Revelation 13 and 17 and Daniel 7, with Daniel 2, can you fully understand the scope and magnitude of the beasts, and the system they represent. Numerous Old Testament scriptures refer to them, but these chapters most describe them. (A fuller explanation of these beasts comes in the next chapter.)

Chapter 14: The 144,000

Chapter 7 introduced the 144,000, and the 14th chapter gives more details about their identity. Verses 1-5 give a nine-point description of them standing before God’s throne as “the firstfruits” (vs. 4) of God’s kingdom.

As when He protected Israel from the plagues of Egypt, God often protects His servants. We will see in the next chapters of Revelation that the seven last plagues will soon be poured out on the earth. The 144,000, carefully covered in a later chapter, are plainly the number of saints in the First Resurrection, are with Christ in His kingdom, and are therefore protected from these terrifying last plagues.

The Three Angelic Messages

Chapter 14 also pictures three angels bearing three messages (vs. 6-11). Examine these angelic messages, which include a warning not to receive the “mark of the beast.” Other prophecies show that most will ignore this all-important warning!

Those of the final great Babylonish system will be deceived into receiving the much talked about, but little understood, mark of the Beast. These messages announce the fall of Babylon through the seven last plagues and warn against receiving the mark.

The final destruction of this system is an incredible event. Like so much of Revelation, many take phrases out of context in order to support the false ideas and doctrines of men. Verse 11 states, “And the smoke of their torment ascends up forever