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The Mid-Week Rapture #12
by Karl Kemp
10/16/2011 / Bible Studies
We humble our hearts before you Father. We want to understand your word. We want to be fully ready to stand before you at the end of this age. We pray in Jesus' mighty name. Amen.
We are in the middle of a verse-by-verse study of Revelation chapters 11-13, which are some of the most important chapters in the Bible dealing with end-time prophecy. One thing that makes these chapters so important is that the equivalent of three and one-half years is mentioned five times. The first two uses speak of things that will come to pass during the first half of Daniel's 70th week, including the powerful ministry of the two prophets, who will warn Israel and all mankind that the day of the Lord is at hand. Antichrist will kill these prophets, but three and one-half days later, right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, they will come back to life and be caught up to heaven in a cloud while their enemies are watching. The next three uses speak of things that will come to pass throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week. And, as we have discussed, it is very significant that these chapters prophesy of quite a few very important things that will take place right in the middle of the seven-year period.
The seventh and last trumpet of the book of Revelation will sound right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, and the Lord Jesus Christ will come to save His own and to judge the world (see Rev. 11:15-18). The resurrection, glorification, and rapture will take place at that time (see Rev. 12:5 and Rev. 11:11, 12). I have already mentioned the resurrection, glorification, and rapture of the two prophets that will take place right in the middle of the seven-year period. They may be resurrected, glorified, and raptured a few hours before the rest of us, or something like that. The devil and his angels will be thrown down to the earth at that time (see Rev. 12: 4, 7-9). Revelation chapters 12 and 13 show that the devil will have great wrath against Christians throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week and that he will work through Antichrist throughout that period. The devil will give Antichrist "his power, and his throne and great authority" (Rev. 13:2) right after he is cast down to the earth, and Antichrist will begin his super-evil reign at that time.
Revelation chapters 11-13 inform us that many will become Christians after the rapture, centering in the repentant end-time remnant of the nation Israel. Many verses prophesy of the conversion of that remnant. Apparently we can see their conversion in Rev. 11:13, where the remnant GIVE GLORY TO GOD. I'll read Rev. 11:13 from the New King James Bible, "In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell [referring, in context, to the city of Jerusalem]. In the earthquake seven thousand men were killed, and the rest [or "the remnant"] were afraid AND GAVE GLORY TO THE GOD OF HEAVEN [my emphasis]." The conversion of this remnant will start right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, but not in time to be taken in the rapture.
As we have discussed, the great earthquake at Jerusalem mentioned in Rev. 11:13 will undoubtedly take place when the Lord Jesus Christ comes to the Mount of Olives, as prophesied in Zech. 14:4. He will come to the Mount of Olives shortly after the mid-week rapture. The glorified, raptured saints will be with Him when He comes to the Mount of Olives (see Zech. 14:5). Zechariah 14:4 shows that there will be a great shaking of the earth at Jerusalem at that time; the Mount of Olives (at Jerusalem) will split in two. I'll read Zech. 14:4, "In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south."
Zechariah chapter 14:1, 2 strongly support the idea that the people at Jerusalem will have been reduced to the repentant remnant before the Lord Jesus Christ comes to them. I'll read Zech. 14:1, 2 and make a few comments, "Behold, a day is coming for the LORD [Yahweh] when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. (2) For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest [or, the remnant] of the people will not be cut off from the city." As we have discussed, this intense end-time shaking of the people of Israel will begin at the time of Antichrist's abomination of desolation, which will be initiated about a month before the middle of Daniel's 70th week, and this intense shaking will be over by the time the Lord Jesus Christ returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. Zechariah 13:8 speaks of the great intensity of that shaking of the people of Israel in those days, "It will come about in all the land, Declares the LORD [Yahweh], that two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it." The third that will be left in the land of Israel will be the repentant remnant. We see this repentant remnant at the end of Zech. 14:2, "the remnant of the people will not be cut off from the city [the city of Jerusalem]." The repentant remnant will be ready to receive the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes to them in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, shortly after the rapture. See Matt. 23:37-39.
Zechariah 12:10 is a very important cross-reference. I'll read 12:10, "I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication, so that [or, and] they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn." And I'll read Zech. 13:1, "In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity." That fountain for sin and impurity undoubtedly speaks of new-covenant salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Zechariah chapters 12-14 are discussed in some detail in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture.")
We finished Rev. 12:16 in the last broadcast. Now we're ready for verse 17. I'll read the verse from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition, "So [I would translate "And," instead of "So," in agreement with the King James and New King James Bibles.] And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children [or, seed], who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus." The dragon (the devil) has been waging warfare against the woman throughout the ages, but Revelation chapters 12 and 13 show that he will be raging against the woman from the time he is thrown down to the earth, in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. I'll read Revelation 12:12, 13, "For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time. (13) And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted [or, he pursued] the woman who gave birth to the male child." As we have discussed, the "woman" is a symbol for God's true Israel. The woman embraces all the believers from Old Testament days and all true Christians, including the Christians converted before the rapture and those converted after the rapture. The only members of God's true Israel that the devil will be able to attack after he is thrown down will be the Christians converted after the rapture. Revelation 12:17 makes it clear that the devil will be attacking Christians: It says that he "was enraged with the woman and went off to make war with the rest of her children [or, seed], who keep the commandments of God [which Christians are required to do] and hold to the testimony of Jesus." The fact that they testify of Jesus makes it clear they are Christians.
The words "the rest of her children [or seed]" here build on the fact that the woman has already given birth to the male child in Rev. 12:5. "The rest of her children [or, seed]" speaks of the members of God's true Israel who become Christians after the mid-week birth and rapture. They are destined to also be born into the fullness of God's eternal life and glorified and to begin to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ by the time the millennial kingdom begins. As I have mentioned, I believe the rest of her children [or, seed] will include many Gentiles, along with the end-time elect remnant of the nation Israel.
I can't be dogmatic on this point, but I believe that this verse (Rev. 12:17) goes with chapter 13 and serves as an introduction for that chapter. (The chapters and verses were added long after the New Testament was written.) Revelation chapter 13 goes on to give some details showing how the devil makes war with Christians throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week. Chapter 13 shows that the devil will give Antichrist his power and his throne and great authority right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week and that Antichrist will begin his super-evil reign at that time. Many verses show that a major feature of Antichrist's super-evil reign will be the waging of intense warfare against Christians. I'll read the first half of Rev. 13:7, "It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them," and Rev. 13:5 shows that this super-evil reign will last for three and one-half years. Revelation chapter 13 also shows that the devil will use the false prophet, the image of the beast, and the mark of the beast in his attacks against Christians during the second half of Daniel's 70th week.
I'll read Rev. 12:17 again; then we'll go on to Rev. 13:1. "And the dragon was enraged against the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus." Now, 13:1, "And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems [or, crowns], and on his heads were blasphemous names." As Rev. 13:2 shows, the dragon (the devil) has an appointment with Antichrist. He will give Antichrist his power and his throne and great authority right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, and he will use Antichrist throughout the second half of the seven-year period.
I'll quote a paragraph from my book under the words, "then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea." This "beast" primarily represents Antichrist, but in this symbolic picture, we also see his kingdom and something of the other world kingdoms. Revelation 12:3 shows that Satan is behind all the world kingdoms of the Bible, but Revelation chapter 13 (and other Scripture) shows that Satan will manifest himself to a much greater extent through Antichrist than through the earlier kings and kingdoms. The fact that the "beast" was seen "coming up out of the sea" reminds us of Dan. 7:2, 3. In Dan. 7:3. Daniel saw four great beasts coming up out of the sea. "The sea" represents the peoples/nations of the earth (see Rev. 17:1, 15, and 18). Daniel chapter 7 is a very important prophetic chapter. That chapter is discussed in substantial detail in chapter 6 of my book.
The "seven heads" represent the seven world kingdoms of the Bible, the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, Roman, and revived Roman kingdoms. The "ten horns" represent the ten rulers of the ten nations of the revived Roman kingdom. I'll read Rev. 17:12, 13, "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast [with Antichrist] for one hour. These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast."
The fact that the ten horns are crowned in Rev. 13:1 shows that we are looking at the world kingdom at the end of this age, when the ten horns are reigning. It is clear that they will reign under Antichrist throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week.
I'll read what I said in my book under the words, "and on his heads were blasphemous names." Compare Rev. 17:3. All seven of the world kingdoms are typically against God and His people. Revelation 12:3 is sufficient to explain this fact. (Revelation 12:3 shows that the devil is behind all the world kingdoms.) The greatest blasphemy, however, will come through Antichrist and the false prophet, as Revelation chapter 13 shows. Blasphemy, by the way, is not limited to blasphemous words.
I'll read Rev. 13:1 again; then we'll go on to 13:2, "And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names." Now, 13:2, "And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority." I'll read what I said in my book under the first sentence of 13:2, These words build on Daniel chapter 7. The Greek Empire of Daniel 7:6 was likened to a leopard; the Medo-Persian Empire of Dan. 7:5 was likened to a bear; and Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian Empire was likened to a lion. These words in 13:2 help show the continuity between the various world empires (for one thing, as Rev. 12:3 shows, the devil is behind all of the world empires), and they show that something of these earlier empires remain, having been incorporated into the revived Roman Empire.
And I'll quote what I said in my book under the words, "And the dragon gave him [Antichrist] his power and his throne and great authority." These words explain the super-evil reign of Antichrist that will take place throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week.
Let's go on to Rev. 13:3, "I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;" I'll quote part of what I said under the words, "I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed." In this symbolic presentation, "one of his heads" represents Antichrist and the seventh world kingdom. Verses 12 and 14 of this chapter show that we can also speak of the beast himself (and not just one of his heads) receiving a fatal (mortal) wound, from which he was healed. The beast represent Antichrist and his kingdom, but "one of his heads" also represents Antichrist and his kingdom in this symbolic presentation.
I believe there is a strong scriptural basis to say that Antichrist will actually be killed and come back to life. Consider the following: In my book I listed seven points here. I'll just quote one of these points for this article. Revelation 17:8 speaks of the beast (Antichrist) as the one who "was and is not, and is [going] to come up out of the abyss." The words "is not" speak of the time when Antichrist will (temporarily) be gone from the scene, having been killed. When he comes back, he will come up out of the abyss (the abode of the dead). Revelation 11:7 speaks of this same coming up out of the abyss, where Antichrist comes up out of the abyss and kills the two prophets. But as the following verses in chapter 11 show, the two prophets will come back to life after three and a half days, and they will be taken into heaven in a cloud before the eyes of the watching world.
I have a sub-heading in my book, "When will Antichrist be killed, and when will he come back from the dead?" I'll quote part of what I said under this sub-heading. Antichrist will probably be killed during the intense warfare of the sixth trumpet (and I referred to Rev. 9:13-21). As we have discussed, that's the warfare of the short great tribulation of Matt. 24:21, 22 and Dan. 12:1. And as we have discussed, that warfare will start about the time of Antichrist's abomination of desolation, which he will initiate some thirty days before the seventh and last trumpet sounds in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, and that warfare will be over before that last trumpet sounds.
Revelation 13:14 says that Antichrist will be killed with a sword, which could represent any weapon. (He may be killed by bullets or a bomb, for example.) He will come back from the dead before he kills the two prophets in the middle of Daniel's 70th week (see Rev. 11:7). He probably will kill them within a few days after he comes back from the dead. Revelation chapters 13 and 17 strongly suggest that Antichrist will not come back from the dead until it is just about time for him to begin his super-evil forty-two month reign. This spectacular event (of his coming back from the dead) will apparently be heralded only during the second half of Daniel's 70th week.
Antichrist's coming back to life, which is described with the words "his fatal (mortal) wound was healed" of Rev. 13:3, does not follow in sequence the events of Rev. 13:1, 2. The idea is not that Satan gives Antichrist "his power and his throne and great authority" (Rev. 13:2), and then Antichrist comes back from the dead. Rather, Antichrist's fatal (mortal) wound has already been healed before we see him in Revelation 13:1, 2. The words "his fatal (mortal) wound was healed" just add this very important information (regarding the fact that Antichrist had come back from the dead) to what John has already reported in Rev. 13:1, 2.
Now I'll read part of what I said under the words, "And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast [Antichrist]." Revelation 17:8 informs us that those who dwell on the earth, whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will be amazed when they see that Antichrist has come back from the dead. God's people (His elect, those whose names have been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world), who will be living on the earth at that time, will not be amazed or follow Antichrist.
I'll read Rev. 13:3 again; then we'll go on to verse 4, "I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal (mortal) wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast." 13:4, "they worshiped the dragon [the devil] because he gave his authority to the beast [to Antichrist]; and they worshiped the beast, saying, 'Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?' " I'll quote what I said under this verse, I have to assume that Satan will not be worshiped directly, but only in an indirect manner, as men worship Antichrist. (And I referred to Dan. 11:36-38 and 2 Thess. 2:3, 4. Both of these passages indicate that Antichrist will not tolerate any one else being worshiped.) Antichrist will be worshiped (Rev. 13:8, 12, 14-18; 14:9-11; 20:4, for example). The worship of Antichrist is, of course, blasphemy in that men are required to worship God, their Creator and Judge.
The book of Revelation answers the question, "Who is able to wage war with him [with Antichrist]?" See Rev. 17:14; 19:19-21, for example. I'll read these verses and make several comments. Revelation 17:14, "These [referring, in context, to Antichrist and his ten associates] will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him [with the Lord Jesus Christ] are the called and chosen and faithful." Antichrist will be waging war against the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the three and one-half years of his super evil reign.
"The called and chosen and faithful," who will be with the Lord Jesus Christ, are the glorified believers, who will be reigning with Him throughout those three and one-half years. As we have discussed, the glorified saints will be reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ, and even ruling with a rod of iron, from the time of their glorification and rapture, right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. This verse (and there a several similar verses in the book of Revelation, including Rev. 19:19-21, which we'll look at next) serves to rather strongly confirm the mid-week rapture viewpoint. It is clear that Antichrist and his associates will be waging war against the Lord Jesus Christ and the glorified saints with Him throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week.
The Lord Jesus Christ could easily overpower Antichrist at any time, but He will use him throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week. He will use him to destroy Babylon the great harlot, for one thing, which is a major feature of God's end-time judgment of the world (see Rev. 17:16, 17). As I have mentioned, God's judging and removing of Babylon the great harlot is so important that God devoted some three chapters of the book of Revelation to prophesy of that judgment. God will also use Antichrist to test mankind (who will take the mark of the beast, for example?), and he will use the attacks of Antichrist to refine his people in those days (see Dan. 12:10 and Zech. 13:9, for example). The Lord Jesus Christ will judge and destroy Antichrist and his followers at the end of Daniel's 70th week, after gathering them to Armageddon under the sixth bowl of wrath. We see that judgment in Rev. 19:19-21, the verses we will look at now.
Revelation 19:19-21. "And I saw the beast [Antichrist] and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. [It is important to see that we, the glorified, raptured saints, who have been reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ for three and one-half years already at this time, constitute "His army." Revelation 19:6-18 help confirm that we are "His army." (We will discuss Revelation chapter 19 later in this study of the end times.) It is clear that God's angels will be involved in His end-time judgment of the world, and the words, "His army" could include the angels too, but it seems that the glorified saints are in the spotlight in this chapter. Now I'll read Rev. 19:20, 21.] And the beast [Antichrist] was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. (21) And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh."
I'll read Rev. 13:4 again; then we'll go on to 13:5. "they worshipped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, 'Who is like the beast, and who is able to able war with him?' " Now 13:5, "There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him." The translation "speaking arrogant words" would more literally be translated "speaking great things." In my book I listed quite a few cross-references that mention Antichrist's arrogant words and blasphemies, and I mentioned that Satan is certainly the one who gives these things to Antichrist. I'll read what I said under the words, "and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him." These forty-two months constitute the second half of Daniel's 70th week (and I listed four other verses that also mention the equivalent of three and one-half years and refer to the second half of Daniel's 70th week: Rev. 12:6, 14; Dan. 7:25; 12:7, 11). Satan is the one who gives Antichrist this "authority" (see Rev. 13:2), but ultimately it comes from God (compare, for example, 2 Thess. 2:8-12, especially verses 11, 12; Dan. 8:19; 11:36; and Zech. 11:15-17). God will use Antichrist in His judgment of the world, even as He uses Satan.
I'll read Rev. 13:6, "And he [Antichrist] opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven." I'll read much of what I said under this verse in my book, It is interesting that Antichrist (inspired by Satan) does not just blaspheme God; he also blasphemes "His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven." Throughout this present age, God dwells in, and with, Christians; they are "His tabernacle" (or, temple). (See, for example, 1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; and Eph. 2:18-22.) After the rapture, they will be His tabernacle in a greater, much more intimate sense (see Rev. 7:15; 21:3; see my book for some details on Rev. 21:2, 3).
It is possible that "those who dwell in heaven" here in 13:6 include the cherubim, angels, etc., along with the glorified, raptured saints, but I consider it probable that only the glorified saints are in view. Satan will have a special hatred for the glorified saints (the male child of Rev. 12:5) because they will have begun to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ; he knows that the birth and reign of the male child spells doom for him and his kingdom. Furthermore (and this point by itself would be sufficient to explain the blasphemy of Antichrist, inspired by Satan, against the glorified, raptured saints), Antichrist will have to try to explain what happened to the raptured saints. I'm sure that Satan already has some blasphemous lies prepared to explain away the rapture: For example, it was necessary to remove all the simple-minded ones, those who believed the Bible, so that the earth could evolve into its glorious new age under its glorious new leader.
God bless you!
Copyright by Karl Kemp
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.
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