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Some Comments on Mike Bickle's End-Time Teaching, Part 3

by Karl Kemp  
8/25/2015 / Bible Studies

We start with the discussion of Isaiah 66:7, 8 here in Part 3.

I'll quote ISAIAH 66:7, 8 and make some comments in brackets: "Before she ["She" is true Israel, as in Rev. 12:5. You wouldn't know that Christians are included as part of true Israel without light from the New Testament.] travailed [[Quite a few passages prophesy of the travail that the believers (Christians who will become Christians after the rapture) will endure throughout the three and one-half years of the super-evil reign of Antichrist that will start right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week (see, for example, Dan. 7:21, 25; 12:7; Rev. 12:12-13:18; the equivalent of three and one-half years is specifically mentioned in Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 12:6, 14; and 13:5). These believers who will travail after the birth of the boy [man child] center in the elect, repentant, end-time remnant of Israel. If all we had was the prophecies of the book of Daniel and this prophecy in Isaiah, we would not see Gentiles included in the "boy [man child]" of Isaiah 66:7, but in the new-covenant context of the book of Revelation I believe that more Gentiles will become Christians after the mid-week rapture too.]] she brought forth [This is the same birth into the fullness of eternal glory pictured in Rev. 12:5.]; Before her pain came [the pain of the travail spoken of earlier in this verse], she gave birth to a boy [As I mentioned, the birth of boy here is the equivalent of the birth of the male child in Rev. 12:5. It is significant that these two prophecies help interpret one another.] (8) Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? [The words that follow in this verse are extremely important, on the level of importance as the words of verse 7.] As soon as Zion travailed [["Zion" here refers to the elect, repentant end-time remnant of Israel who will be living on the earth during the three and one-half years of intense travail that will take place throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week that I mentioned under verse 7. Antichrist's super-evil reign will be taking place throughout those three and one-half years (Dan. 7:21, 25; 12:7; 13:5, 7).]], she also brought forth her sons." [[This fits perfectly with the book of Revelation. The boy (male child) will be born into the fullness of eternal glory in the middle of the seven years (Rev. 12:5). Then, after three and one-half years of intense travail, those converted after the rapture, which centers in the elect, repentant, end-time remnant of Israel, will be born into the fullness of eternal life, which includes being glorified. In Rev. 20:4 we see the believers who were martyred during Antichrist's reign throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week "come to life" (they will be glorified). We are told that they were killed because they "had not worshiped the beast [Antichrist] or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand." These things will only take place throughout the second half of the seven-year period. (Revelation 20:4, which is a very important verse, is discussed in "The Mid-Week Rapture" on pages 72, 73, for one place. Also see under this verse in my verse-by-verse study of Revelation chapter 20 on my internet site [Google to Karl Kemp Teaching].)]]

What about the believers (Christians) who are still alive at the end of the seven years? I believe they will all be glorified and begin to reign with Christ too. I believe Isa. 66:8 and Rev. 15:2 suffice to demonstrate this viewpoint. (See the heading "A More Detailed Look at Those Who Will Reign with the Lord Jesus and the Time They Will Begin to Reign" on pages 72, 73 of "The Mid-Week Rapture.")

SOME KEY VERSES FROM MATTHEW CHAPTER 24 AND THE MID-WEEK RAPTURE. I'll quote MATTHEW 24:15, 21, 22, 29-31, and we will discuss these verses. Jesus spoke these words the last week of his life before the cross. Matthew chapter 24 is discussed verse-by-verse in a paper on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching).

MATTHEW 24:15. "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)." We discussed the meaning of Antichrist's abomination of desolation and the fact that it will take place a month before the middle of Daniel's 70th week when we discussed Dan. 9:27; 12:11 near the beginning of this paper. This information is crucial to rightly interpret key portions of Matthew chapter 24 (and other passages). Antichrist will go into the rebuilt temple, stop the sacrifices and offerings, and demand that he be worshiped. That ABOMINATION will lead to great DESOLATION that will continue (for 1,290 days) until Antichrist is judged and cast into the lake of fire at the end of Daniel's 70th week.

MATTHEW 24:21, 22. "For then [starting with the abomination of desolation] there will be a [I would skip the "a" along with the KJV and NKJV; the NIV has "great distress," without the "a"; there is no word for "a" in the Greek.] great tribulation [[There is widespread agreement that Jesus was building on Dan. 12:1, which is a very important cross-reference. The NASB translated "a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time" in Dan. 12:1, but it could just as well been translated with the word "tribulation," instead of "distress." The same Greek noun ("thlipsis") for tribulation/distress is used in Matt. 24:21 (and 24:29) and in the Greek (Septuagint) version of Dan. 12:1. Daniel 12:1 is discussed in significant detail in chapter 10 of "The Mid-Week Rapture."]], such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world, nor ever will. (22) Unless those days had been cut short [in accordance with the plan of God], no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect [[The "elect" are the people (both Jews and Gentiles) who submit to God and will have a place in heaven through salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning death. Revelation 21:27, for example, shows that all the people in heaven will be there through the atoning death of the Lamb of God. I'll quote Rev. 21:27, "and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it [new Jerusalem], but ONLY THOSE WHOSE NAMES ARE WRITTEN IN THE LAMB'S BOOK OF LIFE [my emphasis]." If your name is written in the LAMB'S BOOK OF LIFE [Christ Jesus is the "Lamb of God," who was sacrificed bearing our sins with the guilt and the penalties (including the major penalties of spiritual death and bondage to sin)] it means you are saved through His atoning death.]] those days will be cut short."

We will discuss THE INTENSE WARFARE OF THE SHORT GREAT TRIBULATION, which will cover some nine pages, before we come to MATTHEW 24:29-31.

If we don't understand that the abomination of desolation will take place a month before the rapture (which we have discussed) and the details regarding the short great tribulation that we will discuss here, I don't believe it is possible to adequately understand many key end-time prophecies. Matthew 24:29 shows that the short great tribulation will be over before the Lord Jesus returns and the rapture takes place (as pictured in Matt. 24:30, 31) with the words "immediately after the tribulation of those days," referring back to the days of the short great tribulation of Matt. 24:21, 22. (We will discuss Matt. 24:29-31 as we continue.) Based on Revelation chapters 11-13 (especially Rev. 12:5, which we have discussed already); Daniel chapter 12; and other considerations we can see that the Lord Jesus will return right in the middle of the seven years.

Put this information together and we can see that the short great tribulation will start at the time of the abomination of desolation and will be over before the Lord Jesus returns and the rapture takes place right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. The Lord Jesus will return at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet of the book of Revelation (see Rev. 11:15-17). Therefore, the short great tribulation will only last a few weeks, less than a month. This fits perfectly with the three passages that we will discuss here that prophesy of the extremely intense warfare of the short great tribulation that will involve warfare between nations. Antichrist with his armies will be in the center of this warfare. He will undoubtedly be killed during this one-month period. Anyway, Rev. 11:7 shows that he will come back from the dead (come up out of the abyss) in time to kill the two prophets three and one-half days before they come to life (to the fullness of eternal life) and are raptured in the middle of the seven years. ((Mike, in agreement with the majority, believes that the abomination of desolation will take place in the middle of the seven years [he would say that the abomination starts at that time], not a month before the middle of the seven years and that the great tribulation will take place throughout the second half of the seven-year period. And, in agreement with many, he believes that the Lord Jesus will return and the rapture will take place at the end of the seven years.))


The most important cross-reference that prophesies of the very intense, but very brief, warfare of the short great tribulation is REVELATION 9:13-21, which prophesies of the things that will take place under the sounding of the sixth trumpet of the book of Revelation. That trumpet will sound about the time of the abomination of desolation, a month before the middle of Daniel's 70th week. The seventh and last trumpet will sound and the Lord Jesus will return and the rapture will take place right in the middle of the seven years.

I'll quote REVELATION 9:13-21 and discuss these verses. (These verses are discussed in more detail on pages 69-75 of my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10 on my internet site. [Google to Karl Kemp Teaching.] I'll quote part of that discussion here.): "Then the sixth angel sounded [He sounded his trumpet.], and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God [[Revelation 8:3 spoke of the prayers of the saints (of us believers) being offered before God on this golden altar. It is significant that the trumpets are sounded (in part) in answer to our prayers (prayers like "Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven" [Matt. 6:10]). The fact that the voice that gives directions regarding the judgment of the sixth trumpet comes from the horns of this golden altar reinforces that idea here. The judgments of the trumpets (very much including the sixth trumpet) are not coming against us (God's people). Revelation 9:20, 21 confirm this important point.]], (14) one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, 'Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.' [[The sixth angel, who is a high-level good angel of God, does more than sound the trumpet. For one thing, he will release the four evil angels who are bound at the Euphrates River. This angel undoubtedly has the authority to make sure that the four evil angels do exactly what they are supposed to do and at the right time, in accordance with the will of God. The evil angels will be doing the kind of destructive things they like to do with their assigned roles for which they have been prepared (Rev. 9:15), but they (like Satan) certainly have no desire to serve God and do His will, quite the opposite.

The four angels will apparently go forth to gather very large armies of men, maybe four separate armies, from their assigned parts of the world (Rev. 9:15-19). (In Rev. 16:13-16 demons gather large armies of men to Armageddon under the sixth bowl of wrath.) The total number will be two hundred million (Rev. 9:16). The armies will cross the Euphrates River and come into that part of the world that includes Israel.]] (15) And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind. [[We aren't given any insight as to when and how these four evil angels have been prepared. It seems that God has predetermined exactly when the sixth angel will sound his trumpet down to the very hour (cf. Acts 1:7). This means that factors like the faithfulness, or lack of faithfulness, of Christians, even though they are very important, won't affect God's predetermined timing for the trumpets, including the seventh and last trumpet of the return of the Lord Jesus and the rapture. God leaves a lot of room for angels and for men (good and bad) to act, but He keeps things under control - thanks be to God!

The "third" factor is typical for the trumpets. A "third" of mankind being killed is obviously a very big deal, even if the total number of those killed will probably be far less than a third of the total population of the earth. The Bible can speak of a kingdom as a worldwide kingdom when it was understood by everybody that the kingdom didn't begin to cover the dimensions of the earth that were known at that time. I'll give a few examples from the book of Daniel that speak of "world kingdoms": Referring to the Greek world kingdom, Dan. 2:39 speaks of it as a kingdom "which will rule over all the earth" (Dan. 2:39). Referring to Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian world kingdom, Dan. 4:1 says: "Nebuchadnezzar the king to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language that live in all the earth. ...." Those were Nebuchadnezzar's words, but Daniel prophesied the following words to Nebuchadnezzar in Dan. 4:22: "it is you, O king; for you have become great and grown strong, and your majesty has become great and reached to the sky AND YOUR DOMINION TO THE END OF THE EARTH [my emphasis]." Everybody who lived back then understood that only a small part of the entire world/earth/inhabited earth was being spoken of. I'll list several verses from the New Testament which use expressions like "the world," "all the inhabited earth," "to the ends of the world," "all over the world," "throughout the whole world," and "all the earth" where only a rather small part of the entire earth/world (typically the Roman world) was being referred to: Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28; 17:6; 19:27; 24:5; Rom. 1:8; and 10:18.

The judgments of the first six trumpets will probably be centered in that part of the world that includes the revived Roman Empire and not extend outward nearly far enough to directly involve the entire globe. The sixth trumpet warfare will be very extensive; it could be called World War III; but I doubt that a third of the total population of the earth will be killed under this trumpet. I'm not saying that I know that the first six trumpets won't directly involve the entire population of the earth; I'm just giving my opinion. Keep in mind that the day of judgment won't officially begin until the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet; a third of mankind being killed is of staggering proportion. If it is true, for example, as I suggested (and I'm not the only one suggesting this), that the sea of the second trumpet (Rev. 8:8, 9) is the Mediterranean Sea, this is a strong basis for suggesting that the first six trumpet judgments probably won't directly involve all the world.

The present population of the earth (2015) is 7.3 billion people. A third of 7.3 billion would be 2.4 billion people killed. Let's briefly consider World War I and World War II to gain some perspective. The total number of deaths, including civilian deaths, attributed to WWI was about 20 million. For WWII the estimates typically run from 50 to 60 million. If only a tenth of a third of the present total population of the earth is killed during the sixth trumpet warfare, that would be 240 million people (a tenth of 2.4 billion), which would be quite awesome, and would greatly shake the world. Not only would 240 million be more than four times more than all those who lost their lives because of WWII, but the warfare of the sixth trumpet will apparently last only a few weeks while WWII lasted more than five years. For one thing, modern weapons systems (including nuclear, laser, biological, chemical, etc.), with their advanced delivery systems (including missiles, the aircraft of our day, and perhaps spacecraft and satellites) are much more potent and lethal than those used in WWII. I assume the number killed under the sixth trumpet will be closer to 240 million than 2.4 billion. One billion is closer to 240 million than to 2.4 billion!]] (16) The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million [[This number (which certainly seems to be a literal number; I believe it is a literal number) is rather mind-boggling, but not at all impossible. Such large numbers fit the picture of invading armies being compared to a locust invasion (discussed under Rev. 9:7 in the paper on Revelation chapters 1-10). With countries like China having a present population of 1.4 billion, and India having 1.3 billion, and with there being some 1.6 billion Moslems in the world today, etc., it's not hard to imagine a literal two hundred million soldiers. Back in the 50s China boasted that they could field an army of two hundred million.]] I heard the number of them. (17) And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire [reddish] and of hyacinth [bluish, like smoke; "In its only occurrence in the NT...'huakinthinos' appears to denote a dusky blue colour as of sulphurous smoke..." ("Vocabulary of the Greek Testament" by J. H. Moulton and G. Milligan [Eerdmans, 1972 reprint], page 647).] and of brimstone [[Or, sulfur, which is yellow; cf. Rev. 9:18; 14:10; 19:20; 20:10; and 21:8. It's not clear (nor is it important) whether some of the breastplates were "fiery red" (NKJV), some "hyacinth blue" (NKJV), and some "sulfur yellow" (NKJV), or whether each breastplate had all three colors. The translation of the NIV takes the viewpoint that the horses also had breastplates. These three colors go with the "fire and smoke and brimstone" that proceed from the mouths of the horses that is spoken of in the second half of this verse.]]; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. [[It is clear that we are not to think of literal horses carrying riders/soldiers; instead of horses we should think of modern weapon systems, like tanks, missile launchers, airplanes, and helicopters. Literal horses don't have heads like lions, and they don't have fire and smoke and brimstone coming out of their mouths. Out of the barrels of guns and out of the warheads of missiles, however, fire and smoke and brimstone do proceed. In John's day there were no words or concepts to describe modern weapon systems.

As I have mentioned, I believe the "smoke" mentioned here and in verse 18 is very important, and we will see this same smoke in the next passage we discuss (Joel 2:30, 31). This smoke (and dust) that will be generated during the very intense warfare of the short great tribulation of Matt. 24:21, 22 (which is to be equated with the warfare pictured in Rev. 9:13-21; Joel 2:30, 31; and Dan. 11:40-45) is so important because it explains the darkening of the sun and moon (or the moon being turned into blood) that directly follows the warfare of the short great tribulation that is pictured in Matt. 24:29 and in Joel 2:31 (cf. Rev. 6:12).]] (18) A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. [See under Rev. 9:15.] (19) For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm. [On the mouths of the horses, see Rev. 9:17. Their "tails" probably include things like guns coming from the rear of tanks.] (20) The rest of mankind [the believers aren't being included here], who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands [[As I mentioned, these words confirm the important point that the judgments of the sixth trumpet are not coming against God's people. They also confirm that mankind (at that time) is still being called to repent by God (cf., e.g., Rev. 14:6, 7 [These verses speak of the "eternal gospel" being proclaimed worldwide after the mid-week rapture along with a call (to repent), to fear God and worship Him.]; 16:9, 11, 21). On the works of their hands, which refer to the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk, compare Deut. 4:28; 2 Kings 19:18; Psalms 115:4-8; 135:15-18; Jer. 1:16; Mic. 5:13; Acts 7:41; and 19:26. In our day most idolatry skips the making literal idols but idolaters still bow down before and worship self, demons, money, science, fame, sex, sports, entertainment, etc.]], so as not to worship demons [[Pagan religion/idolatry/sacrifices often involved the worship of demons, whether the worshippers were aware of it, or not (e.g., Deut. 32:17; Psalm 106:35-38; and 1 Cor. 10:14-22). In our modern world many who don't even believe that demons exist are yielding themselves to and being controlled by them to a significant extent. Demons can "help" Christian theologians (and leaders) come up with more "doctrines of demons" if we will accept their "help."]], and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; (21) and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries [[On sorceries, compare Ex. 22:18; Deut. 18:10; Isa. 47:9, 12; Mal. 3:5; Gal. 5:20; Rev. 21:8; and 22:15. I'll quote what John MacArthur said here ("Revelation 1-11" [Moody Press, 1999], pages 273, 274), "John describes a third sin his vision revealed will characterize that tragic time as 'sorceries,' a Greek word ["pharmakon"] from which the English words 'pharmacy' and 'pharmaceuticals' derive. Drugs were and still are believed to induce a higher religious state of communion with deities. (For a discussion of such practices, see "Ephesians," "MacArthur New Testament Commentary" [Chicago: Moody, 1986], 229-34.) Pharmakon can also refer to poisons, amulets, charms, seances, witchcraft, incantations, magic spells, contacting mediums, or any other object that is tied to pagan idolatry to elicit lust or to seduce. People will dive deeper into the satanic trappings of false religion."]] nor of their immorality nor of their thefts. [These words don't mean that no people will repent after this time, but the majority will continue on in their sins (including unbelief) instead of repenting. These words help demonstrate why judgment day is necessary.]

Mike Bickle has a quite different interpretation regarding the four angels and the armies of the horsemen. I'll include a few excerpts from his 2014 "Studies in the Book of Revelation - Session 7, The Trumpet Judgments (Rev. 8-9)." "In the sixth trumpet, four demons will be released to lead a DEMONIC CALVARY [my emphasis] to kill one-third of the human race" (page 14). "Back in the seventies and the eighties, some Bible teachers said, 'It is 200 million soldiers coming from Asia.' [Some of them will probably come from Asia.] No, it is 200 million demons. These are not human soldiers. These are demons coming out of the pit who are going to kill one-third of the human race" (page 15). I don't believe there is any possibility that these soldiers are demons.

JOEL 2:30, 31 prophesy of this same warfare (the warfare pictured in Rev. 9:13-21, which is the warfare of the short great tribulation of Matt. 24:21, 22). I'll quote these verses and make some comments: "I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. (31) The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD [Hebrew "Yahweh"] comes." [[The blood, fire, and columns of smoke picture the warfare of the short great tribulation. As I mentioned, the mention of "smoke" here (and in Rev. 9:17, 18) is very important. It explains the sun being darkened and the moon being turned to blood (or being darkened) "before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes" (Joel 2:31). The "day of the LORD" will start when God the Father sends His Son back to the earth to save (starting with the rapture) and to judge. The wording of Joel 2:30, 31 shows that when the Lord Jesus returns the sun will have been turned into darkness and the moon into blood. We see the same sequence of events in Matt. 24:29-31 and Rev. 6:12-17. Most agree that the moon being turned into blood (with an ominous red coloration) in Joel 2:31 (and Rev. 6:12) is the equivalent of the moon's not giving its light in Matt. 24:29.

It is also quite significant that Joel 2:32 goes on to prophesy of the conversion of the elect, end-time remnant of Israel that will take place after the great shaking of the short great tribulation reduces them to a repentant remnant during the one-month period that will start with the abomination of desolation. (At least most of the reduction will take place during that one-month period.) On being reduced to a repentant remnant, see, for example, Zech. 13:8; 14:1, 2; Jer. 30:7; Isa. 10:20-23 with Rom. 9:27-29). On the conversion of this repentant remnant (when they become Christians; see, for example, Joel 2:32; Zech. 12:10-13:1; Rom. 11:25-27; and Rev. 11:13).

DANIEL 11:40-45 is another passage that prophesies of the warfare of the short great tribulation. I'll quote these interesting verses and comment on them. (For more details see the verse-by-verse discussion of Dan. 11:36-45 in chapter 9 of "The Mid-Week Rapture.") "At the end time [I would translate "the time of the end" with the NIV; KJV; and NKJV] the king of the South [[Throughout Dan. 11:5-35 we read of various kings of the South and kings of the North. Ptolemy, who had been a general under Alexander the Great, was the first "king of the South." He reigned in Egypt from 304-285 BC. There was repeated warfare between the kings of the South and the kings of the North mentioned throughout these verses. The kings of the South were in Egypt, so the "king of the South" in the time of the end will undoubtedly involve Egypt (cf. Dan. 11:42, 43).]] will collide with him [The king of the South will take the initiative and collide with the king of the North.], and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships [The king of the North, who is Antichrist, will strongly retaliate. The armies will use modern weapon systems.], and he will enter countries, overflow them and pass through. [We should undoubtedly think of Antichrist coming from the North, and in the light of the countries mentioned in verses 41-43, we should apparently think of him first entering countries like Syria and Lebanon.] (42)

We will continue this discussion of Dan. 11:40-45 with verse 42 in Part 4 of this paper.

Copyright by Karl Kemp 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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