Tom: Dave Hunt’s book Countdown to the Second Coming has been and is our topic for this segment, and of course it addresses events which lead up to the return of Jesus Christ—which not only did the prophets foretell, but also angels who were present when He ascended to heaven. And we have the words of Jesus in John 14 that He would come again and receive us unto Himself.
Yet, while Dave’s book has been our focal point, or syllabus, for discussion, we’ve taken a little detour—well, it was supposed to be “little”—to present our overview of key biblical events from Genesis through Revelation, and Dave adding a commentary of each event.
Dave: That’s the problem. My commentary goes on and on and on.
Tom: [Laughing] Dave, that’s also the good part! But nevertheless, this week we hope to finish the survey, the point of which is to inform our listeners who are not aware that historic events from creation to the present to future events are not random but are part of God’s timetable and game plan for humanity.
Now, Dave, if you remember, last week we left off with the Rapture of the church and events that follow it in heaven—the judgment seat of Christ, and the marriage supper of the Lamb. So we’re going to continue on from there.
But here’s what I’d like to do. We’ve been at this—I think this is our fourth week. We hope to finish it this week. Let me just briefly go over the key events, and then we’ll pick up with the Tribulation, which is where we left off.
So we have the Creation; the Fall (that is the rebellion of man); the promise of a Redeemer; the flood—(again these are historic events); the rebellion at Babel; the establishment of a people through whom the Messiah would come; the promise of a land for the Jews; the exodus from Egypt and entrance into the Promised Land; the rebellion of the Jews in the Promised Land; the 70-year removal of the Jews to Babylon; the restoration of the Jews to the Promised Land; the first coming of the promised Redeemer; the resurrection of God’s Savior—His death, burial and resurrection; the establishment of the church; the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews throughout the world; 1948—the reestablishment of the nation of Israel; the preparation of the world for the Antichrist; the apostasy of the professing church; the Rapture of the true church; and the resurrection of the dead in Christ. And then in heaven: the judgment seat of Christ, the marriage supper of the Lamb…and, Dave, we believe once the Rapture takes place, there will be seven years of Tribulation. What are some details with regard to that?
Dave: Well, Tom, I just noticed that you forgot a really key item in there. I didn’t notice that before.
Tom: Dave, that’s been your job! I said check me out and that’s—okay what is it?
Dave: Okay. Anti-Semitism.
Dave: Anti-Semitism is foretold in detail in Deuteronomy:28:37 [and] many other places—that God’s people, the Jews, would be hated, persecuted, killed like no other people, and that certainly is true. No one has suffered like they have. And then, preservation—that in spite of that, a thousand Hitlers couldn’t wipe them out. That He would preserve as an identifiable ethnic people, bring them back into their land. Of course, you had that in there—the re-gathering in their own land and a nation born in a day. Remarkable—never happened to any other people, any other nation in history.
Tom: And this is history. And you can check your history books, because this is prophecy and history.
Dave: History told in advance. Right. And now you mentioned the judgment seat of Christ. There’s a marriage in heaven…
Tom: Dave, some people confuse the Judgment Seat of Christ with what Revelation calls the Great White Throne Judgment. What’s that?
Dave: Yeah, Revelation 20—the Great White Throne Judgment…
Tom: Which we’re going to talk about.
Dave: Right. “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God. The books were open…” and so forth. And these are the lost that stand before God in judgment. The Judgment Seat of Christ—Paul said we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account for the deeds done in the body, and so forth. It says He will wipe all tears from our eyes. I think there will be some tears. Hard to imagine in heaven, but I think there will be when we see…
Tom: And it will be the end of those tears.
Dave: Right—be the end, absolutely. Good point. So then, we will be dealt with. There will be rewards, the Scripture says. Some people will suffer reward. You get a different perspective on that in 1 Corinthians 3, where Paul says the works will be tried by fire: “Every man’s work will be tried by fire, of what sort it is,” and wood, hay and stubble will be burned up. Gold, silver, precious stones will pass through the fire, be refined. Now, you know—as a former Catholic you know—this is one place from the Bible that the Catholic Church gets purgatory. But it doesn’t say that the person will be burned in fire; it says their works will be tested by fire.
So then Revelation 19 says that the bride will be clothed in fine linen, white and clean, the “righteousness of saints,” and there’s a wedding in heaven. Now, these are scriptures, of course, for a pre-Trib Rapture. How could you have the Rapture at the end of the Great Tribulation, when Christ—in fact, it’s the Second Coming when he comes to rescue Israel? It says that He brings all the saints from heaven with Him, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. They’ve been married to Christ. They’ve been through the Judgment Seat of Christ. There is hardly time for that when Jesus comes down and He catches His bride up, and He goes through all of this right there in mid-air on His way down and then brings His bride down into Armageddon? Not what the Bible teaches, and it’s not reasonable.
So during that seven-year Great Tribulation period, there’s a honeymoon up in heaven, a wonderful time of God’s people with Him.
Now, Daniel 9 also talks about this. Verse 27 says of the Antichrist—that is, v. 26 says, “The people of the prince who will come will destroy the city and the temple.”
So this is—the prince who will come will of course be the Antichrist. He didn’t destroy the city and the sanctuary. “The people of the prince who will come.” That was done by the Roman armies in A.D. 70. So that leads us to believe that the Antichrist will rise out of the revived Roman Empire. And it says he will impose—actually, the word in the Hebrew there…in the King James, I think it says confirm a covenant for one week. But the Hebrew says he will impose it.
Antichrist will force upon the nations of the world the rebuilding of the Jewish temple. It could very well involve the removal of the Dome of the Rock. I think it probably will, because the Dome of the Rock, as you know—I don’t think we went over this before, maybe we did—is called Al-Aqsa. This is what the Muslims say: “This is Al-Aqsa.”
Now originally, the one verse in the Qur’an, Surah 17:1, that talks about Al-Aqsa, which is the farthest place of worship and says that Muhammad supposedly went on the night journey on his horse, there was recently an article in quite an authoritative paper in Egypt saying, “Well, that wasn’t Jerusalem. There was no mosque in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was not the farthest place of worship. It must have been Medina,” okay? Now, I don’t know what the Antichrist will say, but he could very well tell the Muslims where Al-Aqsa really is, and they would move that Dome of the Rock there.
Tom: Dave, I’ve got a question. Could the Antichrist—or does the temple have to be built on—you know, where God would have it? I mean this is a temple that you referred to earlier that’s going to be destroyed, right? In other words, could it be placed anyplace? Or does it have to be placed where Solomon’s temple was, where Herod’s temple was?
Dave: Yeah, I’m sure it wouldn’t go over for the Jews to place it—where would you put it? No room anywhere else.
Tom: But it doesn’t have to—my point is, does it have to be exact within the Temple Mount? Because they don’t know.
Dave: Oh, it would have to be on the Temple Mount, I’m sure, to satisfy the Jews, for it to have any meaning at all. And 2 Thessalonians:2:4 says, “He as God will sit in the temple of God, declaring that he is God.” So it sounds like this is where it was. He is going to cause it to be rebuilt. The sacrificial system will start up again, and then in the midst of the week—3 ½ years into the seven-year period, he will cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. He will betray—he’ll double-cross the Jews. They thought he was their friend and building it for them. No, no, he has in mind that he’s going to put his image in it and demand to be worshiped as God by the whole world.
Tom: Now, Dave, we’ve mentioned before that the Antichrist—“anti-” has two meanings. It means “against,” and it also means “in place of.” So do you see a certain time period in which this antichrist, a replacement, a false Christ, but a wonderful individual—at least from the way he’s acting—where does he turn? Will it be gradually or…?
Dave: Well, he is Satan’s man from the very beginning.
Dave: And he pretends to be a man of peace. It says through peace—Daniel:8:25: “Through peace he will destroy many.” And it is very clear that it is the Antichrist there, because it says, “He will stand up against the Prince, but will be destroyed without hand.” So he goes against Messiah.
No, underneath it’s just a façade—his peacefulness—but he is a man that has all the power of Satan and can do lying signs and wonders, and so forth. So I would say he is, at the same time, he is both opposed to Christ, of course—and he is opposed to Christ in the most diabolically clever way it could be done, and that is by pretending to be Christ and therefore corrupting Christianity itself from the inside. Very dangerous time.
Now, of course the church is gone, but then there will be many multitudes who will come to Christ through the gospel during that period of time.
Tom: So there’s going to be persecution because of what they’re up against.
Dave: They will not take the mark of the beast, so they can’t buy or sell. They will not bow down and worship the image, and they will be hounded and run down everywhere and martyred. So if there were a post-Trib Rapture, it would be a classic non-event. There’s no one to rapture. All the believers have been killed by the Antichrist.
So this will be a horrible time, and the Bible talks about it. And Jesus, in Matthew:24:22, said, “It will be a time of destruction, persecution, tribulation such as never was nor ever shall be after it.”
Tom: Dave, that moves us to the battle of Armageddon. My son asked me an interesting question. He said, “Well, Dad, what would draw all the nations to Israel? What would be their purpose of going there? Would it just be hatred of the Jews or would it be something more?”
Dave: Good question!
Tom: Yeah, I thought so!
Dave: Well, number one, God says He’s going to bring them there. Ezekiel:38:16: “Thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me….” Or if you went to Zechariah:14:1: “Behold the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoils shall be divided in the midst of thee….” So there’s a spoil that they’re coming for. I don’t know what it will be. “…For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle.” Whatever it is, this is God’s doing. He’s going to bring them there.
Tom: But, Dave, you know, it seemed to me that at least midway through the Tribulation, when God pours out His wrath, I don’t think He’s going to pour out His wrath on Israel and Jerusalem.
Dave: I don’t think so.
Tom: So, somehow, they’re going to be preserved while the rest of the world is suffering. I would think that might draw them to—at least one, one bit of motivation.
Dave: It certainly would anger them.
Dave: I mean, I can think of a lot of reasons. Anti-Semitism, of course…
Dave: …is getting even worse and worse, believe it or not. It’s amazing. The Jews are hated. A chosen people, favored of God and they certainly, I believe, will be favored of God during this Tribulation period. I think it will be like the land of Goshen, you remember—the Jews in the land of Goshen?
Tom: Right, the plagues never affected that land.
Dave: Right. That is going to infuriate the nations. They could even blame Israel, then, since it’s not happening to them. Maybe they brought all of this—they’ve got some secret weapon or something. Also, you can see that we’re getting to the point: “Why should we support this tiny nation Israel? They’re just a burr under the saddle of the Muslims and the Arabs all around them. They have the oil. They’re just a problem to the world. Let’s get rid of them!” So, a number of reasons, but God is going to bring them there.
Okay, I believe—I think this is important—I’m in the very small minority of those who believe that Ezekiel 38 and 39 are Armageddon. Most evangelicals say, “No, this is a preliminary war before the Rapture or in the middle of the Great Tribulation, but not—this is not Armageddon.”
Now, let me just give you some reasons why it is Armageddon.
Dave: A very interesting prophecy—Ezekiel:38:11 says, “I will go…” Well, “You say in your heart [that is, Antichrist, and the armies of the world follow him], I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates….” Wow, that’s interesting!
So, Israel right now is building a wall. That wall is coming down. We know that for sure. Now, you know Israel is not going to let it come down unless they have been deceived into thinking that it’s all solved. And so, I quoted earlier the Antichrist—of him—it says, “Through peace he will destroy many.” He’s going to pretend peace and guarantee it for the world. But it says, “To take a spoil, to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations….”
So these are the Jews who have been scattered. They are back in their land, “which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.” I don’t know what all Israel has. They have the best anti-missile defense system in the world—the only really operational one. They could knock Scuds, if Saddam had sent them at them, out of the sky. The Patriot System couldn’t do that, okay? They have technology far in advance, and you know that Silicon Valley companies have been buying out Jewish companies, Israeli companies, for a long time. I don’t know what all there will be, but they’re going to come to take the spoil. And then it says, “I’m going to bring you against my land.”
There are two purposes for Armageddon. Number one, to punish the nations for what they have done to Israel. Number two, God is going to break the hard heart of the Jewish people. You have a verse that causes a lot of problems in Matthew:24:34. It says, “This generation shall not pass till all these signs are fulfilled.” Well, what generation are you talking about? Some people, you know the preterists, reconstructionists, say, “Oh, that was the generation then. And so Jerusalem was destroyed A.D. 70. Nero was the Antichrist. It was all fulfilled then.”
Tom: Right, Christ came with the Roman troops…
Dave: Right, to destroy Israel. Can you imagine? And then there are those who said, “No, no, it means the generation that sees Israel back in her land.” So 40 years generation from 1948 when Israel was restored, everything will be finished. Subtract the seven-year Great Tribulation, Christ would come in ’81. I remember that very clearly. There were bumper stickers: “Ride at your risk, I’m leaving in the Rapture.”
I never believed either of those. There’s another possibility. Jesus said, “This generation”—what did He mean by “this generation”? Generation of vipers, this faithless generation, this perverse generation, this corrupt, sign-seeking, Christ-rejecting generation? I believe that’s what He meant.
And Israel as a whole—many Jews are coming to Christ—but Israel as a whole will remain in rejection of her Messiah and rejection of God until all is fulfilled, and we get that in Ezekiel:39:7: “So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel….”
By the way, verse 38 says, “I’m coming to this earth. My presence and everything is going to be shaken, even the creeping things, the fish, and so forth.” God is coming back to planet Earth in the person of Jesus Christ, and He is going to change His people. They will never pollute His holy name again.
Verse 22: “The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward.” It’s not some preliminary battle.
Verse 29: “Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel.”
Well, that’s Zechariah:12:10, and other verses: “I will pour upon the spirit of supplication, they will cry out.”
Jesus said, “You won’t seem me again until you say blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” And they are going cry out, they will be in such desperate straits. Two-thirds of all the Jews will be killed, Zechariah 13 says. And they will cry out…
Tom: And these are Old Testament prophets.
Tom: This isn’t something you’re making up.
Tom: These are the Jewish prophets.
Dave: Absolutely, and then it says, “They will look on me whom they have pierced.” And all Israel will believe. That generation of unbelief, of hatred of Christ and of God, will have passed away.
But notice verse 28, it’s just a thrilling verse. This is Ezekiel:39:28: “Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen, but I have gathered them unto their own land and have left none of them any more there.” Not a Jew will be left anywhere on the face of this earth. Well, that takes you to Matthew 24 beginning at around verse 30, when Jesus says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon won’t give it’s light,” and so forth. He will send His angels—with the sound of the trumpet they will gather his elect. “This is Israel, mine elect.” This is not the Rapture. The angels are going to gather every Jew from every place on the face of this earth back to Israel, and these are the ones who will have believed in Christ, the survivors of Armageddon, and there He will rule and reign over them forever on the throne of His father David.
Tom: Yet the Muslims believe that every Jew must be killed before the last day. Wow!
Dave: Quite a contrast, huh?