Revelation 20: 1-3 “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the devil, and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he cast him into the bottom of the pit and shut him up and set a seal on him so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things, he must be released for a little season.” Current Events In recent years, we have seen many events that seem to be consistent with Jesus’s prophecy in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, such as the huge earthquake in Indonesia that resulted in the tsunami that hit Thailand and other parts of the lands bordering on the Indian Ocean; the earthquake in Argentina that was devastating and resulted in tsunamis that affected even the West Coast of the United States; there was a huge earthquake in Haiti, taking many lives; a huge earthquake in New Zealand and Japan; there was a huge tsunami in Japan, and a resulting nuclear meltdown of one of the power plants in Japan. All of these events resulted in wide-spread destruction. There have been tornados and other natural disasters in Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Alabama. There have been floods from Ohio all down the Mississippi River and devastating floods in Colorado. All of these natural disasters have come about in recent years. We have also seen a significant increase in individuals espousing damnable heresies that “Jesus is not the only way to God” or heaven. Indeed the present Pope has reportedly said that Muslims believe in the same God he does, and that even atheists go to Heaven if they “are good”. Many have written books advocating that there is no such thing as hell or heaven and that all religions are equally valid or invalid. There has been civil war in Liberia resulting in excess of two hundred thousand (200,000) people dead, many of them Christians. They are rioting in Egypt, which first resulted in the overthrow of the Mubarak Government and now the Muslim Brotherhood has been deposed. Muslims are killing Christians, according to reports on the BBC. There is rioting in Libya and civil war ongoing in Libya; near civil war in Yemen and civil war in Syria, where as of August 2013 it is reported that more than one hundred thousand (100,000) people have been killed, as well as other locations in the Middle East. All of these purporting to be a people in search of “freedom and democracy.” What in the world is going on? “Take heed that you be not deceived,” said Jesus! The Prophecy of Daniel 9: 20-27 In Daniel 9, the prophet, Daniel, was praying and confessing his sin and the sin of his people, Israel. After Daniel had prayed, the angel Gabrielle came to him in the evening. Gabrielle told Daniel that he was “greatly beloved,” and then Gabrielle told Daniel the following: “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy. Know, therefore, and understand that from the going forth of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah, the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks, Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the Prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war, desolations are determined. Then He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week, He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering; and on the wing of abominations, shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”(Daniel 9: 24-27) Commentators differ on the interpretation of this prophecy. However, it is one of the most remarkable prophecies in scripture. Nearly all interpreters agree that the term “seventy weeks” is a period of time amounting to four hundred and ninety years (490), consisting of seventy (70) periods of time of seven (7) years each. The interpretation of these particular verses differ and it is not the purpose here to try to prove any one particular view, but merely to identify some of the differing views and the amazing accuracy of the prophecy. There are differing views as to when the prophecy begins. However, if you just take the prophecy as if God were speaking to Daniel and saying, “In approximately five hundred years (500), I’m going to do certain things, and Messiah is going to come,” it is an astounding prophecy! Indeed, there is little dispute as to the six (6) things that are specifically mentioned in the prophecy. While there is dispute as to what is the meaning or interpretation of each of the six (6) things that are listed, it is clear that the six (6) things are:
The meaning of some of these is clear. For example, “to make reconciliation for iniquity” would seem to be a clear reference to II Corinthians 5:19, which says that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself . . . and has committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation.” So God was in Christ Jesus, reconciling the world unto Himself. The phrase “to bring in everlasting righteousness” also appears to be a clear reference to what Christ accomplished by His death and is seemingly specifically referenced in Romans 10:4, where we see, “for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes.” Jesus has ushered in everlasting righteousness by His death to everyone who receives Him by repentance from their sin and placing their trust in Christ alone for their salvation. The phrase “to finish the transgression” also seems to be a rather clear reference to Matthew 23: 32 and following, according to A.A. Hughes, an Australian writer. In Matthew, Jesus says: “Fill you up then the measure of your fathers . . . . By their rejection of Jesus, they finished the transgression. They filled up their cup of iniquity. They culminated their transgression against God, that upon you may come all the righteous bloodshed upon the earth . . . . All these things shall come upon this generation.” The second phrase, “to make an end of sins,” seems to be a clear reference to Hebrews 9:26, where it is written, “to make an end of sins.” Of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, we read: “. . . But now once, in the end of the world, hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” According to A.A. Hughes in his book, A New Heaven and a New Earth, the phrase “to seal up the vision and prophecy” would appear to have been completed and consummated with the advent of the Messiah, who fulfilled and confirmed all of the revelation and visions of the prophets and revelation of the Old Testament. Finally, the phrase “to anoint the most holy” would appear to be a clear reference to the Messiah. The word “Christ” means “anointed one.” Jesus Himself said that “the spirit of the Lord is upon Me, for He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives . . . .” Therefore, it seems that the six (6) things revealed by the angel, Gabrielle, all seem to have been fulfilled in Jesus. Let’s look at the time of the beginning of the prophecy.
There appears to be four (4) commands or four (4) decrees of various Persian rulers recorded in scripture, any one of which could conceivably be the commandment that is mentioned. They are:
According to Dr. Frank M. Barker, Jr., Pastor Emeritus at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, this incredible prophecy, the accuracy of which is verified by Jesus Himself in Matthew 24:15, “could be taken to say that in approximately five hundred (500) years, Messiah is going to come. He will be cut off, but not for Himself, and the temple will be destroyed, and the city will be destroyed, and I will usher in everlasting life in a new way. I will make reconciliation for iniquity. What an incredible prophecy if you simply look it at that way! Surely, however, only the living God speaking through His eternal living Word can give valid evidence of this nature. Barker says, “There is nothing else like it anywhere in any other religion. Nobody even claims it. It couldn’t be substantiated.” God’s Word is true. Jesus is true, indeed, Jesus is truth itself. He Himself created all things, and without Him, was not anything created that was created. He Himself lived a perfect life without sin, even though He was tempted in every aspect as every other ordinary individual person is tempted. He is the spotless lamb of God slain from before the foundation of the world. He died not for himself only, but an atoning death, which the Apostle John says is the propitiation for the sins of the world (I John 2:2). Even though Jesus was without sin, He became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. In the vernacular, He took our sorry record and gave us his perfect record, that we might have eternal life in Him. He was crucified, dead, buried, and descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead, where he now sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. He is risen! He is life itself, and there is no other name given among men under heaven whereby we must be saved. This amazing prophecy in Daniel given more than five hundred (500) years before the birth of Christ substantiates in its amazing accuracy the truthfulness of God’s Word, and Christ Himself proved the truthfulness of who He is by His death and resurrection. He is worthy to be praised and to be believed. One has to be willingly ignorant not to hear and believe the truth of God’s Holy Word. Jesus is the Word, having become flesh. Do you believe Him? Do you know Him? You can, if you will surrender your will to His will in repentance, and place your trust in Jesus alone for your salvation. Ask Him to give you repentance unto life and faith in Him. The Solemn Warning of Jesus Jesus Himself, in talking to His disciples sitting on the Mount of Olives about the sign of His second coming and of the end of the age, warned them to “take heed that no one deceives you.” (Matthew 24:4,11) Jesus went on to warn His disciples (and us): “Many will come in my name saying ‘I am the Christ and will deceive many.’ You will hear of wars and rumors of wars – see that you are not troubled – for all of these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, pestilence, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Jesus gives a solemn warning against false prophets or false teachers and the deception that will arise from them…) “Then, many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” The Solemn Warnings from the Epistles Paul “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (II Timothy 4:3,4) “But know this, that in the last days, perilous times will come; for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its powers. From such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (II Timothy 3:1-7) “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3: 2,3) “For many walk, of whom I’ve told you often and tell you now even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, whose glory is in their shame, who set their mind on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:18,19) Jude “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith, which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unawares, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turned the grace of our God into lewdness and denied the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1: 3, 4) Peter “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness, they will exploit you with deceptive words. For a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” (II Peter 2:1-3) “. . . The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the Day of Judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, whereas angels who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.” (II Peter 2: 9-11) The Falling Away “Now, Brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means, for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself about all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that He sits as God in the temple of God, showing Himself that He is God.” (II Thessalonians 2:1-4) “. . . The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, that all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this reason, God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (II Thessalonians 2:9-12) The Major Millennial Views The scripture referenced above from Revelation 20 has given rise to differing interpretations regarding one’s eschatological view. There are at least four (4) “Millennial Views” that have resulted from Revelation Chapter 20. While there are other variations, the purpose here is not to “exhaust all Millennial views,” but to give a brief synopsis of the four (4) major Millennial Views.
Adherents believe that the Second Coming of Christ will be prior to the Millennium. They, therefore, look for a reign of Christ on earth for a period of one thousand (1,000) years after His return, and before the ushering in of the final state. According to Historic Premillennialism, before Christ returns, the following events must occur:
The Second Coming of Christ will not be a two-stage event, but a single occurrence. When Christ comes again, believers who have died will be raised, believers who are still living will be transformed and glorified, and then both groups will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. After this meeting in the air, believers will accompany the descending Christ to earth.
Dispensational Premillennialism is, according to Hoekema, of comparatively recent origin, while Historic Premillennialism has been taught by Christian theologians since the 2nd Century. Dispensational Premillennialism did not arise until around the time of John Nelson Darby (1800-1882). It is difficult to set the exact time for the main features of Dispensational Premillennialism, according to Hoekema, since dispensationalists differ from each other on a number of details. The main aspects of Contemporary Dispensational Eschatology are set forth in the New Scofield Bible of 1967. Dispensationalists divide God’s dealings with humanity into a number of distinct “dispensations.” The dispensationalists recognize a distinguishing feature being an otherwise “undisclosed” period of time not predicted by the Old Testament, which constitutes a kind of “parenthesis” in God’s plan, which is the establishment of the Church. They see Christ’s return occurring in two (2) stages or phases. The first phase is the so-called rapture, which can occur at any moment. At the time of the Rapture, all true believers who are alive shall suddenly be transformed and glorified and caught up together with Christ in the air to meet the descending Lord. This body of believers, called the Church, now will go up to heaven with Christ to celebrate with Him for seven (7) years the marriage feast of the lamb. The seven (7) year period which follows is a fulfillment of the seventieth (70th) week of Daniel’s prophecy (set forth herein above In Daniel 9: 24-27), during which time the Tribulation will begin; the latter half of which will be the so called Great Tribulation. At the end of the seven—year period, Christ will return in glory, accompanied by the church, and will destroy His enemies, thus ending the battle of Armageddon. He will then begin His millennial reign. C. Postmillennialism Postmillennialists agree with Amillennialists on several key points, one of which is that Postmillennialists place the return of Christ after the Millennium. However, they believe that the Kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the saving work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of individuals and that the world eventually is to be Christianized, and that the return of Christ will occur at the close of a long period of righteousness and peace commonly called “The Millennium.”
Amillennialists believe that there is not a literal one thousand (1,000) year earthly reign which will follow the return of Christ. J.E. Adams, in his book A Time is at Hand, has suggested that the term “Amillennialism” should be replaced by the expression “Realized Millennialism.” Amillennialists believe that the millennium describes the present reign of the souls of deceased believers with Christ in heaven. They believe that Satan was bound and remains bound during the entire period between the First and Second Comings of Christ, though ending shortly before Christ’s return. They teach that Christ will return after this heavenly millennial reign. They believe that the Second Coming of Christ is a single event, not one that involves two (2) phases. There will be a general resurrection at the time of Christ’s return, both of believers and unbelievers, and after the resurrection, believers who are then still alive should be transformed and glorified. Amillennialists believe that Christ bound Satan prior to his ascension so that Satan could not deceive the nations anymore, and the disciples could go forth and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). During the Gospel era, Christ’s Disciples will be able to preach the Gospel and make disciples of all nations. Thus, according to Hoekema, Satan cannot prevent the spread of the Gospel, and second, he cannot gather all the enemies of Christ together to attack the Church during the time that he is bound. Jesus told the Disciples, “How can one enter a strong-man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man?” (Matthew 12:29) According to Hoekema, the word used by Matthew to describe the binding of the strong man is the same word used in Revelation 20 to describe the binding of Satan (the Greek word “Deō”). At the conclusion of that period of time described as the millennium, Satan will be loosed for a little season prior to the Second Return of Christ. Has Satan Been Loosed? The current events described above and many others which have been reported in the news in recent years are seemingly unlike anything the world has ever seen. The apparent common denominator involved in the myriad of events occurring throughout the Middle East at the present time seems to be several key groups. According to an article written by Gary Kah and appearing on the website “worldviewtimes.com,” Evangelist Franklin Graham said in “Newsmax” that one of those key groups is the Muslim Brotherhood. One of the groups making up the Muslim Brotherhood is Hamas, Israel’s declared enemy. Another seemingly key group can be loosely defined as “the Globalist.” Among those who have been identified as a Globalist is Mohamed Ell Baradei, until recently the top man in Egypt. According to Kah, quoting Victor Sharpe from an article entitled, “Obama Well Knows What Chaos He Has Unleashed” (www.americanthinker.com/2011/02), “Under Obama’s watch, the true democratic revolution against the mullahs in Iran was snuffed out because the American president refused to support the demonstrators in the streets of Tehran, but ordered Hosni Mubarak to leave office and let the rioters in Cairo have free elections.” Now, the Egyptian Army is ruling in Egypt amid chaos and civil war in Syria, all tend to show that many nations and people are being deceived. The Real Enemy is Not Flesh and Blood We must identify the true enemy or we too can be deceived. The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Church at Ephesus issues a stern and sobering warning as to the identity of the true enemy. We must never lose sight of the fact that while Globalists, the Muslim Brotherhood, Progressives, Liberals and others may support policies with which we do not agree and, in some case, are both ungodly and anti-American, they are not the true enemy. In order to know how to pray, we must recognize the true enemy. Scripture identifies the true enemy as being the devil and his evil underlings. The 37th Psalm admonishes us not to fret because of evildoers, but to trust in Jesus and commit our way to Him. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. The Call for Battle “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13) This passage of scripture in Ephesians 6:10-13 is what the Great Expository Preacher, Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, described as “a call for battle.” Wherefore, the admonition goes like this: “Recognize the enemy and get prepared for the battle. The way in which one is to prepare for the battle is first, to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Second, is to put on the whole armor of God. The reason that we need to make such preparation is that the enemy is strong, and in order to stand against this strong enemy, the devil and his wiles, you have to be strong in the Lord and you have to have on the whole armor of God.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes this in his Great Treatise on Ephesians as the only way that we can fight. The fight is there. Everyone is going to be engaged in the fight, both as Christians and non-Christians. “The teaching of the Bible throughout is that this world in which we live is a battleground,” is a place in which we literally have to fight for our souls, to fight for our eternal welfare.” This is the nature of the battle, and it is the only way in which the battle can be waged successfully! Dr. Lloyd-Jones says, “If you fail to be strong in the Lord and in power of His might and to put on the whole armor of God, you will be defeated before you even start.” The Apostle emphasizes this is the only way. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, “We make no apology for saying so. We are not at all afraid of this charge of ‘narrow mindedness.’ When you know that to take a certain course is the only cure for a disease, that it is specific, that it cures it to a certainty, and that nothing else can do so, you do not regard it as being narrow minded to use that remedy and to refuse to waste time with other remedies. That is not being narrow minded, it is just being sensible and sane and rational.” Gary Kah, in his article posted on worldviewtimes.com on 4/27/11 entitled, “Is This the Beginning of Sorrows?,” questions whether the current Islamic revolutions occurring throughout the Middle East could lead to a third world war, which would take mankind the final step into a comprehensive system of global government. Kah certainly implies that we are at the beginning of sorrows, the beginning of the period of time leading to the return of Christ. Kah quotes John McTernan, author of As America Has Done to Israel as follows: “I do not see any downtime with events . . .Islam is rising and is going to look fearful. Much like the Nazis in the late 1930’s. I have warned about the Muslims creating a caliphate and this is exactly what is now forming. This entire revolution has nothing to do with freedom or democracy. The Muslims will say this for the blinded Hard Left Fascists. Muslims are going to unite and it is for one purpose and that is to destroy Israel. [However,] God is setting a trap for the Muslims and Allah . . .It appears that the Muslims in Europe will rise up against the West and try to join this caliphate. This will bring massive bloodshed to Europe. If they start in Europe, it will spread to America. In the end, I see Islam being crushed, but not without incredible death and destruction. Allah is the god of war, and he is not going away without a ferocious fight.I still think the final jihad will start with all-out war between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The trigger is going to be Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. The coming Islamic caliphate will respond to conflict, and all the nations around Israel will be drawn into the war, to their doom. This will be the Obadiah/Psalm 83 war. Egypt will not take part in the great battle described in Ezekiel 38, 39 as it [will be] totally destroyed in the prior war. The events now unfolding are preparing Egypt for this war.” “While other interpretations of these prophesied events exist, there is almost unanimous agreement among my Christian colleagues that the world is about to become much more violent. The only disagreement seems to be over whether this time of predicted war and bloodshed begins prior to the reign of the Antichrist or if it will wait until after he makes (and breaks) his treaty with Israel.Regardless of how the sequence of events unfolds, I believe that our time of speaking freely is short. The question becomes what should Christians do?The answer: Live your life each day as if you only have one month to live. Consider your priorities. Make God number one in every facet of your life. Share His Gospel of truth with unsaved loved ones and prepare your heart and mind to endure difficult times for the sake of Christ. Persevere and stand firm to the end.” Trust in Jesus! Seek Him now while He may be found! Don’t be deceived. Remember, deceit always makes that which is false look like the truth. Jesus is truth itself. Only Jesus will protect all that the Father has given Him. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13) If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please do so now. Pray the following words in faith, and mean them with all of your heart: ‘Lord Jesus, I am a sinner and I need you. I believe that you are the perfect Son of God and died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. I repent of my sins. I receive you now as my Savior. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Please give me the desire and strength to love, obey, and serve You. In Your name I pray, Amen.’” Thus, Gary Kah mirrors exactly what Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says is the only way for security; that is, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might and put on the whole armor of God. Finally, Beloved, it is my purpose in this devotional to stir you to pray and to seek the Lord’s face. If you are a Christian, fear not! The Lord knows those that are His and is able to protect His children. If you are not a Christian, or if you are not certain as to whether or not you know the Lord Jesus Christ, pray the prayer set forth hereinabove included in Gary Kah’s article. Commit your way to the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust in Him alone for your salvation. Repent from your sin and surrender your will to the Lord’s will. Get your own Bible and seek to know God’s revealed will. Ask Him to show you His will. He will do so. Then, rejoice and seek to delight to do His will. Now, unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we even ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all generations, world without end, Amen. Your Brother in Christ,
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