Volume Two: The Last Days
Volume 2: Introduction
The Last Days
The sorts of things most people think of as “Bible prophecy” will be the subject of this, the second volume of The End of the Beginning. These seventeen chapters will cover the time between the rapture of the church and the Battle of Armageddon. Most of this will happen within a seven-year period of time popularly known as “the Tribulation” and the years immediately preceding it. I’m guessing (based on the abundant clues provided in scripture) that the rapture will take place several years prior to this. How long a gap there will be is left unstated (for our own good, no doubt), but it is becoming increasingly clear that it won’t be a long one—not decades or centuries, but only a few years, perhaps only months.
Indeed, logic would tell us that the rapture itself will play a key role in the unraveling of society that will lead to the Tribulation’s evils. Paul tells us that the One who restrains evil in the world today (One who could only be the Holy Spirit who indwells the souls of the followers of Christ) will be “taken out of the way” before the identity of the “lawless one” (the Antichrist) is revealed. And his treaty is the starting gun—the sign that the final seven years of this age have begun. The clock of Israel’s destiny will once again be ticking, after a hiatus of almost two thousand years. (Our timetable is provided in the sweeping Daniel 9:24-27 prophecy.) The sudden absence of the church (and the Holy Spirit who lives within us) will in itself be enough to precipitate the fear, anarchy, lawlessness, and war that will inevitably make the insanity of an all-powerful one-world government under the total domination of a single satanically inspired individual seem like a good idea.
Though topical in nature, I have endeavored to present these prophetic subjects in (roughly) the chronological order in which they become critical to the story. What can the world expect once the rapture is history? As it turns out, the Bible has a lot to say about the conditions that will prevail on the earth during these dark days—even before the Antichrist takes control of the earth in the name of Satan. Recurring events of the sort that have always been a part of life on earth will be intensified to the point of their becoming “signs” of the end, things Christ likened to the “beginning of sorrows”—a pregnant woman’s labor pains commencing. That is, although the world has always sporadically experienced wars, famines, diseases, earthquakes and storms, apostasy and lovelessness among men, these things will happen with new and unprecedented intensity and frequency as the end approaches. If “mother earth” is ripe for judgment (and she is) then the rapture will be like her “water” breaking. Once the church is gone, there will be no turning back, no respite from God’s incessant and recurring reminders that a paradigm shift of “Biblical” proportions is on the way.
Two cities—and what they symbolically represent—loom large in these prophetic scriptures. The first, Jerusalem, will prove to be the focal point (and the bone of contention) of all the players in this last great drama. It should be obvious that without Yahweh’s oft-stated and undying love for this city (and the people to whom He gave it), nobody would give the City of David a second glance. Jerusalem has no strategic military significance, no port, no industry to speak of, no great influence over the commerce of nations—and yet, it is the most fought-over city on the face of the earth, and will remain so until King Yahshua establishes His throne here.
The second city doesn’t even exist anymore in any literal sense—and it hasn’t for thousands of years. Babylon, a once mighty city-state on the Euphrates River, in the epicenter of Mesopotamia’s fertile crescent, is now nothing but a metaphor for man’s rebellion against His God. Babylon’s history goes all the way back to its beginnings as Babel—the site of a famous tower and the man-centric pagan religion it represented, whose insidious influence and inspiration have permeated virtually all of human civilization, right down to the present day. Babylon is Biblical code for “false worship,” the institution of religion (as opposed to simple trust in Yahweh), and ultimately anything and everything man venerates and reveres in place of Yahweh. Today, Babylon encompasses and represents everything God intends to deal with in judgment during the Tribulation—every manmade religion (and note: all religions are manmade), and every “stealth” false god like power, sex, money, pride, greed, and self-reliance.
In the strangest twist imaginable, our study of prophecy will reveal how Yahweh will use the Antichrist to subjugate, consolidate, and appropriate every vestige of Babylon into his own satanic “one-world religion,” usurping the entire financial/commercial infrastructure of the earth in the process. The Antichrist’s rise will be fueled by his betrayal of Babylon. All religions will be absorbed into his religion; the world’s entire “military/industrial complex” will become an extension of his ego; all political power will rest with him; all financial tools will be his to wield as he sees fit—until Yahweh’s Messiah crushes him and his system to powder (as it’s described in Daniel 2:35, 45), and along with it what was once Babylon.
One of Babylon’s most significant permutations (at the moment) is Islam, which for the past half century has been growing in strength, numerical superiority, wealth, political clout, and belligerence. It is as if, after thirteen centuries of clueless religiosity, they finally decided to read—and heed—their own scriptures, which unequivocally demand that they use every means at their disposal to rid the world of Jews and Christians (for starters), eventually enslaving, converting, and/or killing every living human being. Today, about one person in five on this planet is a Muslim (nominally, at least).
A blind man could see what will happen within Islam when the restraining power of the Holy Spirit is no long active in the world: the Muslims will do what their scriptures require them to do: lash out at the world in homicidal rage—starting with the Jews. It is no coincidence that the “starting gun” for the Tribulation (as Daniel reveals) is a “covenant (or treaty) with many” brokered by the Antichrist, which is calculated to secure peace and safety for the nation of Israel. Safety from whom? From their Islamic neighbors, who will “sign on” to the treaty as a diversion to induce Israel to drop her guard, because Muhammad declared, “War is deceit.” A good-sized chunk of prophetic scripture deals with the fallout of dar al-Islam’s inevitable breach of that peace—how the Antichrist will be powerless to stem the tide of Islamic invasion within Israel despite his successes elsewhere; what will happen to the invading nations; how Yahweh will personally intervene on behalf of Israel (resulting in their belated eye-opening epiphany concerning the reality of their God); how the Antichrist (in order to prop up his sagging Messianic credentials) will escalate this regional Middle Eastern conflict into a full-scale thermonuclear world war that will destroy a third of the planet; and how the Antichrist will gain dominance over the whole world as a result.
The Antichrist’s short and brutal career as the dictator of planet earth is another central theme of the Bible’s prophecies concerning these times. We will study his personality profile, his descriptions (the beast from the sea, the little horn, the prince who is to come, the son of perdition, the lawless one…), his relationship with Satan, his apparent resurrection from the dead, his association with the “beast from the land” (a.k.a. the “false prophet”), and his insatiable lust for power. We’ll discover his agenda vis-à-vis Israel, his regime’s devastating effect on planet earth and its rapidly diminishing population, the war of the “kings of the east” (something I’m calling World War IV, China’s genocidal land grab, perpetrated with the Antichrist’s blessing) and finally, his ultimate demise.
We’ll also meet the “ants at his picnic,” so to speak. Two “witnesses” whose mortal lives are sealed by Yahweh until their job is done will pronounce curse after curse on the Antichrist’s kingdom—which by this time will include the entire earth. These curses will apparently be implemented by the angels of the seven bowl judgments. Adding to his woes will be 144,000 young Jewish evangelists (also sealed by God) who will make it clear to Israel why the Antichrist is not their savior (as he’d like them to believe). They’ll shepherd Israel’s remnant through their 1,260 days of exile and reintroduce their people to the Messiah their forefathers rejected.
The events of the Tribulation will swirl around Israel as if it were the eye of a hurricane, and they’ll conspire to bring the nation back to Yahweh—and then to His Messiah, Yahshua. The first undeniable demonstration of God’s power on their behalf will be His blatantly miraculous intervention on their behalf during the War of Magog. The result will be that “Then they shall know that I am Yahweh their God.” (Ezekiel 39:28) And the last nail in the coffin of their historic unbelief will be the return—as prophesied—of the risen Messiah to the Mount of Olives. It will be Israel’s Great Awakening, their definitive observance of the Day of Atonement, when Israel will—as a nation—afflict their souls in repentance and respond to their Anointed King’s offer of imputed righteousness, just as the Torah requires.
There is a five-day gap on the Levitical calendar between the Day of Atonement (which prophesies Israel’s repentance) and the Feast of Tabernacles (which predicts the earthly reign of the risen Christ). During those five days, the most infamous conflict of human history will be fought: the Battle of Armageddon. Calling it a “battle,” however, is a bit naïve (which is no doubt why scripture doesn’t actually use that phrase). Yes, the world’s collected armies have assembled at Har Meggido to annihilate the hated Jews once and for all, but they didn’t count on facing the returning Messiah-King, Yahshua, who will (as Isaiah says) tread out the winepress of Yahweh’s wrath alone, leaving no one alive who had come to attack God’s beloved people. Their corpses will be strewn in bloody heaps from one end of the Land to the other—a fitting end to three and a half years of worldwide rebellion against Yahweh.
Thus ends Volume 2, which explains why there’s a Volume 3 to this book: there is far more to the future of Yahweh’s plan than merely getting rid of the evil in the world—though that’s a necessary piece of the puzzle. The story doesn’t end with wrath and damnation, but with a bright eternal future for those who have allied themselves with the Living God. It’s not necessarily over when it’s over. For God’s children, it will never be over.