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Some Comments on Mike Bickle's End-Time Teaching, Part 2
by Karl Kemp
8/22/2015 / Bible Studies
We continue the discussion from Part 1 here in Part 2.
I believe (without being dogmatic) that the Lord Jesus will claim Jerusalem as His city when He returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. Only then will it become a holy city (cf. Rev. 11:8). Agreeing with this detail is not crucial to agreeing with the mid-week rapture, but I believe the evidence is rather strong for this viewpoint, and it is an exciting detail to consider. Assuming this proves to be true, the Gentiles/nations will no longer tread Jerusalem under foot after the Lord Jesus returns, but more importantly, the fact that Antichrist will not have access to the city (he will not be able to take the city throughout the second half of the seven years) will undoubtedly amaze the watching world and glorify God. I have a section titled "The Lord Jesus Christ Will Claim Jerusalem as His City" on page 70 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." I'll quote that section here:
((First I said, see the Chronological Chart #14. Number 14 on the Chronological Chart [the fold-out chart is at the end of the book] is explained on page 17 of the book. I'll quote that two paragraph discussion from page 17 before I quote the other section: The Lord Jesus Christ, accompanied by the raptured saints, will come to the Mount of Olives right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, immediately after the rapture. [See under Zech. 14:3-5 and Rev. 11:13 in "The Mid-Week Rapture."] The "great earthquake" of Rev. 11:13 will apparently coincide with the massive shifting of the earth pictured in Zech. 14:4, 5 that will take place when Jesus stands on the Mount of Olives: "it will be 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." This earthquake will probably remove all the non-elect from Jerusalem so that the Lord Jesus Christ can claim it as His city and as a city for the end-time elect remnant of Israel. (See under Rev. 11:13 in "The Mid-Week Rapture.")
The end-time elect remnant of Israel will be converted (become Christians), starting at the time of Christ's mid-week return, but not in time to be taken in the rapture. (See under Zech. 12:10; 14:1-5; Mic. 5:3; Rev. 11:13 in "The Mid-Week Rapture.") Daniel 12:1; Zech. 13:8; and 14:1, 2 show by what means the Israelites dwelling in the land of Israel will be reduced to the elect repentant remnant by the time of Christ's mid-week return. Most, if not all, of this reduction will take place during the days of the short great tribulation, in the one-month period between the abomination of desolation and the mid-week return of the Lord Jesus.))
Having finished the two paragraphs that deal with the Chronological Chart, now I'll quote the section titled "The Lord Jesus Christ Will Claim Jerusalem as His City." It is clear that the Lord Jesus will reign from Jerusalem during the days of the millennial kingdom (cf., e.g., Isa. 2:2-4; Zech. 14:4-21; Rev. 20:4-9, especially verse 9). I believe He will claim Jerusalem as His city at the time of His mid-week return. (See under Dan. 11:45; Psalm 2:4-9, espec. verse 6; Psalm 110, espec. verse 2; Zech. 12:1-13:6; 14:3-5; Rev. 11:2, 13 in "The Mid-Week Rapture"; cf. Joel 2:32-3:17.)
I believe the Lord Jesus Christ will come to the Mount of Olives (at Jerusalem) at the time of His mid-week return (Acts 1:9-12; Zech. 14:3-5), shortly after the rapture. All the glorified, raptured saints (holy ones) will be with him when He comes to the Mount of Olives. I'll quote the last sentence of Zech. 14:5: "Then [I would translate "And" with the KJV. This is the same coming as where the Lord Jesus comes to the Mount of Olives that is pictured in 14:4. But here the super-important information is added that we will be with Him when He comes to the Mount of Olives. Apparently the spotlight is on us, the glorified, raptured saints (holy ones), but His angels will be there too.] the LORD, my God, will come AND ALL THE HOLY ONES WITH HIM [my emphasis]."
Apparently He will claim Jerusalem as His city at that time, and from that time the elect, repentant remnant of Israel (who will have become Christians, which will make a gigantic difference in their relationship with God; but they will not be glorified until the end of the seven years) will control this city (cf., e.g., Zech. 12:1-13:9; Zechariah chapters 12-14 are discussed in chapter 15 of "The Mid-Week Rapture"). Revelation 11:2 infers that Jerusalem will not be trodden under foot by the nations during the second half of Daniel's 70th week. (As we have discussed, Rev. 11:1-3 deal with the first half of the seven-year period.)
Antichrist will undoubtedly want to control Jerusalem throughout the second half of the seven-year period, but if I understand the Scriptures, God will not permit him to, which will appear shocking to the world which is worshiping Antichrist. I believe Dan. 11:45 confirms this viewpoint in that Antichrist's headquarters will be set up near Jerusalem, not at Jerusalem. (See pages 143, 144 of "The Mid-Week Rapture on Dan. 11:45.) Psalms 2 and 110 both picture the Lord Jesus Christ beginning to reign from Jerusalem. (This reign will begin at the time of His mid-week return.) Both of these psalms show that, at the time He begins to reign, His enemies will not yet have been subjugated (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20-28; Rev. 11:15-18). He will be judging and subjugating them throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week. He will be using Antichrist, who hates Him and the One who sent Him, in His end-time judgment of the world. For one thing, He will judge and remove Babylon the great harlot through Antichrist (Rev. 17:16, 17). That judgment is a major feature in God's end-time judgment of the world. He spends three chapters of the book of Revelation prophesying about that judgment. I believe Babylon the great harlot is a symbol for the devil's world which embraces all the things he uses to seduce mankind from God, with an emphasis on false religions, very much including apostate Christianity.
I don't mean to infer that the Lord Jesus Christ will be visibly present at Jerusalem throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week. He probably won't be, at least not much of the time, but it will be understood that He has taken Jerusalem and that the inhabitants of Jerusalem are His people (they will have become Christians). (It seems clear to me that if the Lord would be visibly present throughout much of the second half of Daniel's 70th week it would interfere with God's plans for Antichrist's super-evil reign throughout that period.) When Antichrist and his followers assemble to make war against the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 19:19), they will assemble at Armageddon (God will gather them to Armageddon under the sixth bowl of wrath [Rev. 16:12-16, cf. Rev. 14:20]); Megiddo is some 60 miles North of Jerusalem. (This is the end of the quotation from page 70 of "The Mid-Week Rapture.")
We need to further discuss the details regarding what it will mean for the nations/Gentiles to tread Jerusalem under foot (including the court which is outside the temple) for the equivalent of three and one-half years, throughout the first half of Daniel's 70th week. The idea isn't that the armies of the nations will attack and control Jerusalem throughout the first half of the seven-year period, but that they (not Israel) will have the authority over Jerusalem, probably through the United Nations. As we have discussed, they will probably gain that authority through the seven-year treaty/covenant of Dan. 9:27. Jerusalem clearly will not be a holy city during the first half of the seven-year period. It won't become a holy city until the Lord Jesus reigns there (cf. Luke 21:24).
Notice that Rev. 11:2 prophesies that the "court which is outside the temple...HAS BEEN GIVEN [my emphasis] to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months." Ultimately God is the One who included these details in His end-time plans. Apparently He will cause these things to come to pass this way (in a way that would not be expected) through the seven-year treaty/covenant of Dan. 9:27. IF THE NATIONS/GENTILES HAD ATTACKED AND CONQUERED JERUSALEM AS IN ZECH. 14:1, 2, FOR EXAMPLE (which is the viewpoint of Mike and others, which I will demonstrate as we continue), THE ENEMIES OF ISRAEL WOULD NOT PERMIT THE JEWS (TO REBUILD) OR TO WORSHIP IN THE TEMPLE.
It is true that verses like Zech. 14:1, 2 show that Jerusalem will be attacked by the nations/Gentiles and the city taken, but that goes far beyond the information spelled out in Rev. 11:1, 2. Those things prophesied in Zech. 14:2 will not come to pass until after Antichrist's abomination of desolation, which will take place a month before the Lord Jesus returns and begins to fight against the nations and for the repentant, end-time, elect remnant of Israel. The reason the Lord Jesus can begin to fully fight for the end-time remnant of Israel after He returns is that they will submit (in faith) to Him (and God the Father) when He comes to them right after the rapture (in the middle of the seven years). See Zech. 12:10-13:1; Rev. 11:13; cf. Joel 2:32; Mic. 5:3; and Rom. 11:25-27.
Mike (and many agree with him) has a very different understanding of what it means for the nations/Gentiles to tread Jerusalem under foot in Rev. 11:2. I don't believe there is any possibility that he is right. For one thing, he believes that the forty-two months in 11:2 refer to the second half of Daniel's 70th week. I'll quote a sentence from page 14 of his 2014 paper, "Studies in the Book of Revelation - Session 8, Prophetic Ministry in the End Times [Rev. 10-11]"): "THE TRAMPLING OF JERUSALEM INCLUDES THE SIEGE AND CAPTURE BY THE ARMIES OF ANTICHRIST [my emphasis]." And he quoted Zech 14:2 to back up that statement. As I mentioned, the taking of Jerusalem pictured in Zech. 14:2 goes beyond the events prophesied in Rev. 11:2. The taking of Jerusalem will take place after the abomination of desolation, during the last month of the first half of Daniel's 70th week. Mike also referred to Zech. 12:2, 3. Zechariah 12:1-10 (especially see verses 4-10) picture the end-time remnant of Israel at Jerusalem under attack (during the second half of the seven-year period), but victorious (Jerusalem will not fall), after they have submitted to the Lord Jesus not long after He returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week and the rapture takes place.
The drastic change from the gigantic defeats that will take place in the month that starts with the abomination and ends with the mid-week return of Christ will come to pass because those people will now have repented and submitted (in faith) to the Lord Jesus. (See my discussion of Zechariah 12 in chapter 15 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." Zechariah chapters 13 and 14 are discussed there too.) During the month that precedes the mid-week return of Christ, the city of Jerusalem will be taken (Zech. 14:1, 2, for example), and some two thirds of the people of Israel will be cut off and perish in those days, during the days of the short great tribulation (Zech. 13:8), during the time of "Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:7). But then the repentant, converted remnant of Israel will go into the refining fire of the second half of Daniel's 70th week (Zech. 13:9). Those will be three and one-half very difficult years for them, but they will be victorious, even though there will be many martyrs.
Mike Bickle spends a lot of time emphasizing that Christians can, and should, be victorious throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week; I agree, but (from my point of view) he needs to see that those Christians will not become Christians until after the mid-week return of Christ and the rapture. Christians who are faithful now will be glorified and reigning with Christ instead of living on the earth during the three and one-half year super-evil reign of Antichrist, when the devil, having just been cast down to the earth with his angels, is going forth with great wrath. This is God's plan! We didn't ask Him to do this! I like His plan!
The primary point I want to make here is that the repentant, converted end-time remnant of Israel (they will have submitted in faith to the Lord Jesus), not Antichrist and his people, will apparently control Jerusalem throughout the second half of the seven years. As I mentioned, Mike believes that the equivalent of three and one-half years mentioned in Rev. 11:2 and 3 will take place throughout the second half of the seven years. THAT MAKES A GIGANTIC DIFFERENCE IN THE INTERPRETATION OF REVELATION CHAPTERS 11-13, WHICH ARE OF KEY IMPORTANCE. I don't believe there is any possibility that Mike is right on this point. (Now I'll quote Rev. 11:3.)]] (3) And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. [[Revelation 11:3-12 prophesy that these two prophets will have a powerful ministry that will get the attention of the whole world. Throughout the first half of Daniel's 70th week, they will be warning the world, with a special ministry to Israel, that the Lord Jesus is coming very soon to save and to judge. They will be calling Israel and the world to repent. They will probably announce each of the seven trumpets before they sound as Moses announced the plagues in Egypt before they came to pass, which will make the events of the trumpets all the more powerful attention-getters.
Antichrist will come up out of the abyss (Rev. 11:7; cf. Rev. 17:8): He will come back from the dead. He will probably be killed during the warfare of the sixth trumpet that will take place in the one-month period between his abomination of desolation and the mid-week return of Christ. After he comes back from the dead he will kill the two witnesses (prophets), and, because of the hatred of the world (Rev. 11:8-10), their dead bodies will not be buried, but will lie in the street of Jerusalem for three and a half days. That will look very negative for the cause of God, but it will turn into a gigantic positive when they come back to life and are caught up into heaven before the watching world after the three and one-half days (Rev. 11:11, 12).
Their resurrection, glorification, and rapture will be part of the mid-week resurrection (for those believers who will have died before that time), glorification, and rapture of all the believers that will take place when the Lord Jesus returns at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. They may be glorified and raptured a few hours before the rest of us for the dramatic effect, but they will be part of the "male child" who will be born into the fullness of spiritual life and raptured in the middle of Daniel's 70th week of Rev. 12:5.
We expect the rapture of the two witnesses to take place in the middle of the seven years because Rev. 11:3 shows that their ministry will last for three and one-half years, and as we have discussed, Rev. 11:1-17 prophesy of things that will take place during the first half of the seven years, or right in the middle of the seven years. This viewpoint is strongly confirmed by the fact that Rev. 12:6 shows that three and one-half years remain after the birth and rapture of the male child in 12:5. The two witnesses are part of the male child. I have briefly discussed Rev. 12:5 in this paper, and I'll quote and discuss this verse in more detail after two more pages. Mike Bickle, in agreement with the majority, thinks that the male child is the Lord Jesus. I don't believe there is any possibility that the male child is the Lord Jesus.
Mike admits he has some confusion here (he says that there is a great paradox here) regarding the temple. (See his 2014 "Studies in the Book of Revelation - Section 8, Prophetic Ministry of the End Times [Rev. 10-11]," page 11.) Keep in mind that I have already shown that Mike believes that Rev. 11:1-3 prophesy of things that will come to pass during the second half of Daniel's 70th week. The way I understand these verses there isn't any paradox. I'll quote several sentences from Mike's page 11: "John sees this temple [Rev. 11:1, 2]. The paradox of the temple is that it is God's temple and yet the Antichrist will use it. [Antichrist will not use it until the time of the abomination of desolation, which Mike locates right in the middle of the seven years (see his chart). Revelation 11:1, 2 don't have anything to say about Antichrist or his abomination of desolation. They just prophesy of things that will take place during the first half of Daniel's 70th week BEFORE the abomination of desolation. It is also true that the temple, the court which is outside the temple, and the city of Jerusalem will be tread under foot after the abomination of desolation, throughout the last month of the first half of the seven years too.] It is a great paradox. It is called the temple of God a number of times. The Antichrist sets up his image in the temple and is worshiped in it. How does that work? [[(This double bracket goes on for three paragraphs; then I'll continue the excerpt from Mike.) I believe Mike misunderstands what is going to take place with respect to the temple, and that causes him to see a great paradox. For one thing, Mike believes that the temple will be the center of the worship of Antichrist and his image in the second half of Daniel's 70th week. It is true that Antichrist will enter the temple, stop the sacrifices, and demand worship at the time of his abomination of desolation, but that will take place in the first half of the seven years, a month before the rapture (Dan. 12:11, which we have discussed).
Revelation 11:1, 2 do not say anything about Antichrist being worshiped in the temple during the first half of the seven years (but he will be worshiped in the temple for a short period, not more than a month, after his abomination of desolation), and they do not deal with things that will take place during the second half of the seven years, which Mike is thinking. (For one thing, as I have mentioned, Rev. 11:1-17 deal with things that are going to take place during the first half of the seven year period, or right in the middle of the seven years.) Furthermore (as we discussed above under Dan. 12:11), I don't believe that the image of Antichrist will be included in the abomination of desolation or that it will be set up in the temple, not at the time of the abomination or at any time during the second half of the seven years. I also mentioned above that I believe the Lord Jesus will claim Jerusalem as His city when He returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. (We'll discuss this further as we continue.) I'll quote three sentences from Mike's page 12, "The abomination of desolation is a very, very important end-time event. Jesus highlighted it. That is when the Antichrist puts an image of himself in the temple and demands people to worship him as God."
Antichrist's abomination of desolation will take place a month before the middle of the seven years. His abomination of desolation deals with his entering the temple, stopping the sacrifices and offerings, and demanding that he be worshiped (Dan. 9:27; 12:11; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3, 4). It has nothing to do with the image of the beast of Rev. 13:14, 15, which will not be made at the instigation of the false prophet until AFTER Antichrist's abomination of desolation. It will be made AFTER the mid-week return of the Lord Jesus and the rapture, in the first part of the second half of Daniel's 70th week. Furthermore, I don't believe that image will ever be located in the temple during the second half of the seven years; for one thing, it doesn't seem that Antichrist or the false prophet will have access to the temple. As I mentioned, I believe the Lord Jesus and the end-time remnant of Israel will control Jerusalem throughout the second half of the seven years. The image will undoubtedly be set up in Antichrist's headquarters, or one of his headquarters (cf. Dan. 11:45). (Now back to the excerpt from Mike.)]] ... What an interesting phrase [referring to the words "the people who worship there"]! The angel says [The Greek text of the "United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament," Fourth Revised Edition, or the NASB or NIV do not mention an "angel" here, but the KJV and NKJV do. Apparently Mike is using the NKJV (New King James Version).] 'Pay attention to the people who worship there.' I stop and wonder who is going to worship there? Maybe devout Jews who are unbelievers? [Mike shows that by unbelieving Jews he means those who do not believe in Jesus. Clearly many Jews (not Christians) will be worshiping in the temple BEFORE Antichrist's abomination of desolation, but not after the abomination of desolation, including not during the second half of the seven years.] ...
Then there are people worshiping the Antichrist as related to that temple. That is really bad. I don't know if there is another category of who is worshiping there. The angel said, 'Measure the people that worship, that are involved in any kind of worship there.' It kind of boggles the mind! What on earth? Who is going to worship in that building? Certainly the good people are not are they? It is the Antichrist being worshiped, but the temple of God, hmmm." (This is the end of the excerpt from Mike.) As I have mentioned, apparently the only time that Antichrist will be worshiped in the temple is during the one-month period between the abomination of desolation and the mid-week return of the Lord Jesus. And it is very important to see that the equivalent of three and one-half years mentioned in Rev. 11:1 and 2 refer to the first half of the seven years, not the second half (which Mike believes).
A DISCUSSION OF REVELATION 12:5, WHICH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT VERSE IN THE BIBLE TO SHOW THAT THE RETURN OF THE LORD JESUS AND THE GLORIFICATION AND RAPTURE WILL TAKE PLACE RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEVEN YEARS. (Revelation chapters 11-13 are discussed verse-by-verse in both of my books, the e-book "Introduction to the Mid-Week Rapture," which is easier to read and is available at amazon.com and "The Mid-Week Rapture," which contains much more information and is available at my website [Google to Karl Kemp Teaching] or amazon.com.)
I'll quote REVELATION 12:5 and make some comments in brackets: "And she [["She" is true Israel. "She" embraces all the believers (true believers) from the beginning (the days of Adam), including those who will be saved after the rapture, which will center in the elect end-time remnant of Israel. Gentile Christians have been grafted into the tree of God's true Israel (Rom. 11:17-24).]] gave birth to a son, a male child [[(This double bracket continues for three paragraphs.) My NASB has a heading before Rev. 12:5, "The Male Child, Christ." This is a very common view; Mike agrees with it; but I am sure it is wrong. The majority often gets it wrong. For one thing, these words that prophesy of things that will come to pass right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week do not fit Christ in any reasonable way. It is very significant that Rev. 12:6 demonstrates that the birth spoken of in 12:5 will take place right in the middle of the seven years.
The male child will be born into the fullness of spiritual life, which includes being glorified and raptured to begin to reign with the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus was the first man (He is the God-man; the eternal Son of God, deity) to leave death behind and be born into the fullness of eternal glory (see Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5). We (all true believers) will follow Him in that birth (cf. Rom. 8:29). We must understand, of course, that there will be a large difference between the Lord Jesus and us after we are born into the fullness of eternal life. He will be deity; we won't; and we will worship Him (along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit). However, our existence will be quite exalted and glorious as we reign with God forever (Rev. 22:5), starting at the time we are glorified. Jerusalem above is our mother (Gal. 4:26).
I'll say a lot more as we continue to confirm that we, all true believers (those who are committed to the God of creation, the God of the Bible, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit), are represented by the male child. Why "male" child? It fits our ruling with a rod of iron for one thing. We are also pictured as the bride of Christ. This is symbolic language, and symbolic language can be quite flexible.]], who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron [[These words certainly fit the Lord Jesus (cf., e.g., Rev. 19:15), but they clearly fit us too: I'll quote REVELATION 2:26, 27 (Jesus is speaking here; what He says applies to all true Christians): "He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds [In other words, he does the deeds (or, works) that are required of Christians in accordance with God's Word. He does them by grace through faith, through the enablement of the indwelling Spirit of life, truth, righteousness, holiness, etc.] until the end [when we die or when the Lord Jesus returns.], TO HIM I [Jesus is speaking here.] WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS [cf. Psalm 2:8; Psalm 2 is discussed verse-by-verse in chapter 18 of my "The Mid-Week Rapture"]; (27) AND HE [This is the same "he" spoken of in verse 26, the overcomers] SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON [It is significant that these words confirm that it is Biblical to say that the glorified believers WILL RULE WITH A ROD OF IRON as we reign with Christ when He is subduing all the enemies of God in His end-time judgment of the world.], AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES [see Psalm 2:9], as I [Jesus] have received authority from My Father." (Now we continue quoting and discussing Rev. 12:5.)]]; and her child was caught up to God and His throne." [[These words perfectly fit the rapture, our rapture. For one thing, the Greek verb used here ("harpazo") is the same verb used for the rapture (catching up) in 1 Thess. 4:17, which (most will agree) is the most important verse in the Bible that speaks of the rapture (see 1 Thess. 4:16-18). Having been "caught up to God and His throne" includes our having the authority to reign, which includes judging.]]
This interpretation has always seemed clear to me since I first heard it at Covenant Seminary in 1970, but since then I have found THREE PROPHECIES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT THAT STRONGLY CONFIRM THIS INTERPRETATION. They all prophesy of this same birth into the fullness of eternal life and glory. I'll just take the time in this paper to discuss one of these prophecies (Isa. 66:7, 8), which even speaks of this birth as the birth of a boy (male child). (I found this cross-reference early, about the time I began to understand Rev. 12:5.) Isaiah 66:1-8 are discussed verse-by-verse in chapter 16 of my "The Mid-Week Rapture." The other two prophecies are Mic. 5:3 and Psalm 2:7. Micah 4:9-5:6 are discussed in chapter 17 of my book, and Psalm 2 is discussed in chapter 18.
I'll quote and discuss Isa. 66:7, 8 and discuss these verses at the beginning of Part 3 of this paper.
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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