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Some Comments on Mike Bickle's End-Time Teaching, Part 6
by Karl Kemp
8/30/2015 / Bible Studies
We continue the discussion of the first six seals of the book of Revelation here in Part 6, starting with Rev. 6:7 and the fourth seal.
(7) When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, 'Come.' (8) I looked, and behold, an ashen horse [In the margin the NASB has, "or, sickly pale," which can be considered the color of death.]; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. [[On Death and Hades, compare Rev. 1:18; 20:13. It isn't surprising that Hades would follow Death. Hades is the abode for the dead, excluding true Christians who go directly to be with the Lord at death (cf. Phil. 1:21-23; 2 Cor. 5:8; 1 Thess. 4:14; and Heb. 12:22, 23). The departed saints are with God now (but most of them have not yet received their resurrection/glorified bodies [cf. Matt. 27:52, 53]); when Christ returns (in the middle of the seven years) they will come with Him (cf., e.g., 1 Thess. 4:13-18).]] Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence [including plagues (cf. Luke 21:11)] and by the wild beasts of the earth. [[I understand these words to teach that throughout this age, up until about the time of the sounding of the sixth trumpet, the total number of premature deaths from all causes will be limited to a maximum of a fourth of the population.
Much of the popular end-time teaching of our day understands this verse to teach that at some time during the first half of Daniel's 70th week, within a very short period of time, one quarter of the entire population of the earth will be killed. Mike agrees, but he locates the fourth seal (and all of the seven seals) in the first half of the second half of Daniel's 70th week. With the present population of the earth, which is now 7.3 billion, that would be more than 1.8 billion people. For that many people to be killed within a short period of time would be a very big deal. During World War II, which lasted more than five years, the total number of deaths, including civilian deaths, was estimated to be some fifty to sixty million. Fifty million people is only some 2.8 percent of 1.8 billion.
I expect an increase in birth pangs (an increase in frequency and in intensity) in the last years of the "beginning of birth-pangs" (Matt. 24:8), in the years before the transition beyond the beginning of birth pangs at the abomination of desolation, which will be initiated about a month before the middle of Daniel's 70th week, about the time of the sounding of the sixth trumpet of the book of Revelation. But I don't expect a gigantic number of deaths during the first half of Daniel's 70th week before the abomination of desolation. Even under the warfare of the sixth trumpet, which equals the warfare of the short great tribulation that will start shortly after the abomination of desolation (cf. Matt. 24:15, 21, 22) and be over before the Lord Jesus returns in the middle of the seven years (cf. Matt. 24:29-31), where one-third of mankind will be killed (Rev. 9:15, 18), I don't expect the loss of life to be close 2.4 billion, which is one third of 7.3 billion, because I don't expect the short great tribulation will fully involve mankind worldwide. (See above under Rev. 9:13-21, where we discussed the warfare of the sixth trumpet; see under Rev. 9:15. I'm not being dogmatic on this point, just giving my opinion.) The loss of life under the sounding of the first five trumpets, which will apparently all sound during the first half of Daniel's 70th week, will apparently be quite limited. It is significant that no people will die under the fourth and fifth trumpets. (The first six trumpets are discussed in chapters 8 and 9 of my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10 on my internet site.)]] (9) [On Rev. 6:9-11 also see pages 21-23 of "The Mid-Week Rapture."] When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar [On the sacrificial "altar," which is to be distinguished from the golden altar before the throne of Rev. 8:3, see Rev. 8:3, 5; 14:18; and 16:4-7.] the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained [[The emphasis here is undoubtedly on Christian martyrs, but I assume the martyrs for God from Old Testament days (starting with Abel) are included too. The apostle Paul was one of many saints who was sacrificed on this altar for God (cf. Phil. 2:17; 2 Tim. 4:6-8). In Rev. 20:4 John saw the souls of Christian martyrs, and he saw them come to life, which includes their receiving glorified bodies. The difference is that the martyrs of Rev. 6:9-11 refers to those martyred in the days preceding Christ's mid-week return, whereas the martyrs of Rev. 20:4 are those who will be martyred during the three and one-half year super-evil reign of Antichrist; they will not become Christians until after Christ's mid-week return and the rapture. (See under Rev. 20:4 in my paper on Revelation chapters 20-22 on my internet site.)]]; (10) and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord [[The Greek noun normally translated "Lord" ("kurios") isn't used here. In the margin the NASB has "or, Master." The NIV has "Sovereign Lord." I assume these words were addressed to God the Father, the Person on the throne in Revelation chapters 4 and 5, the Person with the preeminent role in the Trinity. (I have four articles on my internet site that deal with the Trinity: "Who Do We Worship?"; "Who Do We Pray To?"; "More on the Trinity"; and "The Name Yahweh and God the Father and God the Son."]], holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" [[God will avenge the blood of His bondservants (cf., e.g., Rev. 17:1, 6; 18:20, 24; 19:2; Gen. 4:10; Deut. 32:43; Psalm 79:10; Luke 18:7, 8; Rom. 12:19; and 2 Thess. 1:4-10). God must eventually judge the world and make things right in accordance with His character as a righteous Judge and in accordance with His Word (both the Old Testament and New Testament). He cannot allow the persecution and murder of the people to continue forever; neither can He allow rebellion and chaos to continue forever. 2 Peter 3:9 helps explain God's delay in judging the earth (cf. 1 Tim. 2:1-7).]] (11) And there was given to each of them a white robe [at the time the Lord Jesus returns and they are resurrected, right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week; these souls have to receive their glorified bodies before they can wear their white robes (cf., e.g., Rev. 3:4; 6:11; 7:14; and 19:8)]; and they were told that they should rest ["that they should wait"; the BAGD Greek Lexicon gives "rest" as the basic meaning for this verb ("anapauo"), but on this verse it says, "remain quiet (i.e. wait) for a short time"; the NIV has "wait"] for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. [[They would still have to "wait for a little while" before God would avenge their blood and judge and remove those who shed the blood of God's people. (God won't fully avenge the persecution and shed blood of His people until the great-white-throne judgment at the end of the millennium, but he will have done a lot of judging by the end of Daniel's 70th week.) The book of Revelation goes on to show that after the Lord Jesus returns and the rapture takes place in the middle of Daniel's 70th week many more Christians will be martyred for Christ. Many of the people who become Christians after the rapture, centering in the end-time remnant of Israel, will be martyred during the super-evil reign of Antichrist during the second half of Daniel's 70th week.
The "little while" of Rev. 6:11 corresponds with the "short time" of Rev. 12:12 that the devil will have left to do his evil work after he is cast down to the earth in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, at which time he gives Antichrist "his power and his throne and great authority" (Rev. 13:2). In Rev. 20:4 we see the martyred saints ((those who will be martyred during the second half of Daniel's 70th week; Rev. 20:4 indicates that the martyrs pictured there were slain during the reign of Antichrist with the words "those who had been beheaded because of their testimony to Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast [Antichrist] or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands" [NIV])) come back to life; they will be resurrected into the full glory of eternal life and begin to reign with the glorified saints who will have been reigning with the Lord Jesus throughout the second half of the seven-year period. (See under Rev. 20:4 in my verse-by-verse study on Revelation chapters 20-22 on my internet site).]] (12) [[Here we have a brief, very condensed, early look at the arrival of judgment day before the seventh seal is removed and the all-important scroll can be opened. It is designed to show the terror of judgment day for those who have not been living for God and aren't ready for that day. We have to wait until the scroll is opened (at Rev. 8:1) to learn the details regarding God's end-time judgment of the world. Many of those details had not been revealed before (in the Bible). (I refer the reader to the discussions of Rev. 6:12-17 in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture.")
I'll quote part of what William Hendriksen said under Rev. 6:12-17 ("More than Conquerors" [Baker, 1982], pages 107, 108). "The sixth seal...introduces the judgment day. It describes the one great catastrophe at the end of this age. [This "one great catastrophe" won't be finished in the full sense until after the millennium and the great-white-throne judgment. Hendriksen, now deceased, held the amillennial (no millennium) viewpoint.] The dread and terror, the awe and consternation of that day is pictured under the twofold symbolism of a crashing universe and a thoroughly frightened human race. The terror of that day refers, of course, only to the wicked. ...
What we have here is a symbolic picture of the terror of judgment day. The symbol, taken as a whole, teaches just one lesson, namely, that the final and complete effusion of God's wrath upon a world that has [rejected God the Father and His Son and] persecuted the Church will be terrible indeed. ... ...we do not deny, of course, that there will be a most thorough-going dislocation of the heavenly bodies and a rejuvenation of the universe, in connection with the end of this present age. Scripture clearly teaches this (2 Pet. 3:10, 12, etc.). Neither do we at all deny that also our present passage refers to this fact (cf. Matt. 24:39 [24:29]). But the main point of our passage is this: it stresses the terror of the day of wrath for the wicked. The dissolving elements, earthquake, falling stars, etc., add terror to the picture."]] I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake [[I believe it would be better to translate "a great shaking." This great shaking probably includes the intense shaking of the short great tribulation, which will come to pass under the sixth trumpet and will be over before the Lord Jesus returns and the rapture takes place in the middle of the seven years at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, and it undoubtedly includes the shaking pictured in Rev. 6:13, 14. It apparently also includes all the shaking that will take place throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week as God shakes the world in judgment. On the shaking of judgment day, cf., e.g., Isa. 2:19, 21; 13:13; 24:19, 20 [Isaiah chapter 2; 13:6-13; and chapter 24 are discussed in a verse-by-verse manner in my eschatological paper on Isaiah on my internet site.]; Hag. 2:6, 7, 21; and Heb. 12:26-29. On this great shaking/earthquake, also see under Rev. 16:18-20 in the paper on my internet site that deals with Rev. 14:6-19:21.]]; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood [cf., e.g., Joel 2:30-32; Matt. 24:29-31]; (13) and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. [[The stars here apparently refer first, and foremost, to the angels of Satan, who will be cast down to the earth with their leader (from their present privileged position in heavenly places) right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. See Rev. 12:4, 7-9: the third of the angels who follow Satan are cast down to the earth right in the middle of the seven-year period; those angels are called "stars" in Rev. 12:4. This is a major feature in God's end-time judgment of the world (see pages 15, 317-319 of "The Mid-Week Rapture" on these verses).
Matthew 24:29 is another important cross-reference for the stars falling at the time of Christ's return with the clouds of heaven, at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, right in the middle of the seven-year period. I'll quote the second half of Matt. 24:29: "and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of heaven will be shaken." Satan's kingdom will obviously be greatly shaken at the time he and his angels are overpowered and cast down to the earth. (Matthew 24:29 is discussed in my verse-by-verse study of Matthew chapter 24 on my internet site, for one place.) Also see Isa. 34:4. I should point out that the "host of heaven" in Isa. 34:4 refers to the stars.
We should probably also think of literal falling stars here in Rev. 6:13; Matt. 24:29; etc. This present natural/physical world must ultimately pass away/vanish to be replaced by God's new heaven and new earth (cf., e.g., Matt. 24:35; Rev. 20:11; 21:1).]] (14) The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up [I discuss the meaning of these words under this verse in my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10 on my internet site.], and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. [[By the time God is fully done shaking/judging and bringing forth His new heaven and new earth, everything associated with this present world - including the present sky, mountains, and islands - will have been removed, or made new (cf. Rev. 21:5). See Nah. 1:2-8; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 16:20; 20:11; and 21:1.]] (15) Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; (16) and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne [God the Father], and from the wrath of the Lamb [Compare Isa. 2:10-22 (Isaiah chapter 2 is discussed verse-by-verse in the paper on Isaiah on my internet site.); Hos. 10:8; Luke 23:30.]; (17) for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" The great day of the wrath of God the Father and God the Son will officially begin when the Lord Jesus returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. ((God's wrath will also be manifested to a significant extent for those directly involved with the shaking of the short great tribulation of Matt. 24:21, 22, which equals (at least for the most part) the warfare of the sixth trumpet (Rev. 9:13-21). Antichrist's abomination of desolation, which will take place about a month before the Lord Jesus returns (cf. Dan. 12:11), will signal that it is time for the short great tribulation to take place (cf. Matt. 24:15, 21, 22).))
All the true Christians living on the earth will be able to stand because they will be ready for the return of the Lord Jesus; they live in the light of His return; they are the ones "who have loved His appearing" (2 Tim. 4:8); they will be glorified, raptured, and begin to reign with the Lord Jesus when He returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. (Compare, for example, Psalm 1:3-6; Nah. 1:6-8; and Luke 21:36.)
Revelation Chapter 7 is an interlude (a parenthetical insert) that answers the question of Rev. 6:17, "and who is able to stand." (Revelation chapter 7 is discussed in my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10 on my internet site, for one place.) Revelation chapter 7 deals with two groups of people who will be able to stand. Revelation 7:9-17 deal with the true Christians who will be living on the earth at that time. Those verses picture them having been caught up into eternal glory. Revelation 7:1-8 deal with the elect end-time remnant of Israel. Revelation 7:1-3 picture them being given a special seal for protection; for one thing, protection during the days of the sounding of the first six trumpets, especially the sixth trumpet, to make sure that each one of them remains alive to receive the Lord Jesus when/after He comes. (Compare what Michael the archangel does in Dan. 12:1.) They will not repent and submit to Him in faith until after He returns and the rapture takes place.
A DISCUSSION OF DANIEL 12:1, 2, 5-7. DANIEL CHAPTER 12 SERVES TO CONFIRM THAT THE SHORT GREAT TRIBULATION WILL BE OVER AND THE LORD JESUS WILL RETURN AND THE RESURRECTION (and glorification and rapture) WILL TAKE PLACE RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF DANIEL'S 70TH WEEK. The elect, repentant remnant of Israel will go through three and one-half very difficult, but refining, years during Antichrist's super-evil reign throughout the second half of the seven-year period. Daniel 12:1, 2 and 5-7 are key verses in this super-important prophetic chapter.
Daniel chapter 12 is discussed in some detail (some fifty pages) in my "The Mid-Week Rapture." It is also discussed in my e-book, "Introduction to the Mid-Week Rapture." I'll borrow from what I said in the e-book here. (This will involve some repetition, but these super-important things are worthy of some repetition.) Both books are available at amazon.com.
DANIEL 12:1. "Now at that time, Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress [or, "time of tribulation"; there is widespread agreement that Jesus was building what He said about the short great tribulation in Matt. 24:21, 22 on Dan. 12:1] such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued [or, better, "will escape"]."
"Now at that time, Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people [Daniel's people was Israel.], will arise." The words "Now at that time" help demonstrate that Daniel chapter 12 is closely connected with chapter 11. Daniel chapter 12 is part of the revelation introduced at Daniel 10:1. "That time" will begin about the time of Antichrist's abomination of desolation. As Matthew chapter 24 and other prophetic passages show, things will really begin to shake for the people of Israel at the time of Antichrist's abomination of desolation. Antichrist will be manifested as Antichrist when he goes into the (rebuilt) temple at Jerusalem, stops the sacrificial offerings, and demands worship. (See Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; and 2 Thess. 2:3, 4.) Daniel 12:11 informs us that there will be 1,290 days from the time of the abomination of desolation until Antichrist is destroyed at the end of Daniel's 70th week. As we have discussed, this super-important information enables us to see that the abomination of desolation will take place some thirty days (a month) before the middle of Daniel's 70th week. We have also discussed the fact that the very intense warfare of the short great tribulation of Matt. 24:21, 22 (and Dan. 12:1) will take place during that one-month period, which will end when the Lord Jesus returns in the middle of the seven years (Matt. 24:30, 31). And we have discussed three key passages that speak of that very intense warfare: Rev. 9:13-21 (the sixth trumpet of the book of Revelation); Joel 2:30, 31; and Dan. 11:40-45.
"Michael" is the mighty archangel, who for one thing, is associated with the people of Israel. (See Dan. 10:13, 21; Jude 1:9; and Rev. 12:7). Revelation 12:7-9 show that Michael and his angels will overpower Satan and his angels and throw them down to the earth in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. Michael "will arise" about the time of the abomination of desolation to "stand guard" over the elect people of Israel (those whose names will be found written in God's book of life) who will be living on the earth at that time, during the days of the short great tribulation. As I mentioned, the great tribulation will take place during the month that will start with the abomination of desolation and will end with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ in the middle of the seven-year period.
The elect "will escape" being killed and will be left as a repentant remnant when the great tribulation is over, in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. FOR ONE THING, DANIEL 12:7 SHOWS THAT THERE WILL STILL BE THREE AND ONE-HALF YEARS TO GO FOR THE ELECT, REPENTANT, END-TIME REMNANT OF ISRAEL (which correlates perfectly with Dan. 7:21, 25 and Rev. 12:6-13:18; the equivalent of three and one-half years is mentioned four times in the verses I just listed). Furthermore, the fact that Dan. 12:2 mentions the end-time resurrection helps confirm that we are right in the middle of the seven years in that the New Testament, especially Revelation chapters 11-13 (both of my end-time books discuss these chapters verse-by-verse), and especially Rev. 12:5, show that the Lord Jesus will return and the resurrection (for those who will have died before that time), glorification, and rapture will take place right in the middle of the seven years.
"And there will be a time of distress [or, better, "tribulation"] such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued [or, better, "will escape"]." I'll read part of what I said in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," under these words. I have some ten pages under these words. From my point of view, it is of crucial significance to rightly understand the meaning of these words. They take on a much greater significance because the Lord Jesus Christ built on these words in His Olivet discourse (see Matt. 24:21, 22; Mark 13:19, 20). Matthew 24:21, 22, in their context, help us understand Dan. 12:1, and vice versa. We have discussed Matt. 24:15, 21, 22, and 29-31 in this paper, and we will speak further of these verses as we continue. (Matthew chapter 24 is discussed in some detail in a paper on my internet site.)
The Hebrew noun translated "distress" in Dan. 12:1 could just as well be translated "tribulation." I prefer the translation "tribulation" to bring Dan. 12:1 into agreement with the familiar "great tribulation" of Matt. 24:21. (The NIV uses the word "distress" in both verses.) The "time of tribulation such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time" of Dan. 12:1 is the equivalent of the short "great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will" of Matt. 24:21. Matthew 24:21 is not a word-for-word quotation from Dan. 12:1, but it builds on Dan. 12:1 and communicates the same meaning.
As we have discussed, the short great tribulation will take place during the one-month period that will start with Antichrist's abomination of desolation and end with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. And, as we have discussed, Matthew 24:29-31 confirm that the short great tribulation will be over before the Lord returns and the rapture takes place. Matthew 24:29 starts out with the words, "But immediately AFTER [my emphasis] the tribulation of those days" (referring, in context, to the days of the short great tribulation of Matt. 24:21, 22), and verses 30, 31 go on to speak of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ with the clouds and the gathering of His people to Him in the rapture with the sounding of a great trumpet. And, as we have discussed, the trumpet of Matt. 24:31 is to be equated with the trumpet of 1 Thess. 4:16; with the LAST trumpet of 1 Cor. 15:52; and with the seventh and LAST trumpet of Rev. 11:15. All four verses (in their contexts) prophesy of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and the resurrection, glorification and rapture of His people. It is very significant that Revelation chapters 11-13 show that the seventh and last trumpet will sound right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week.
Now I'll read part of what I said under the words, "and at that time [at the time of the short great tribulation] your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued [or, better, will escape]" of Dan. 12:1. The words "your people" refer to Daniel's people, the people of Israel, but Dan. 12:1 informs us that only the elect of Israel, those whose names will be found written in the book, will escape. "For they are not all Israel [not all true Israel] who are descended from Israel" (quoting Rom. 9:6). "The book" is God's book of life (see, for example, Psalm 69:28; Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 20:15, and 21:27; Rev. 21:27 speaks of "the Lamb's book of life," which shows that all the people who have a place in God's heavenly kingdom will have that place through the atoning death of the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ).
Although I'm going beyond the scope of Dan. 12:1 in its context, I should mention that every true Christian is part of God's true Israel and our names are recorded in God's book of life. Every true Christian who is living on the earth during the time of the short great tribulation will be under God's protective care. The short great tribulation is not coming against Christians. A major difference between the Christians and the elect remnant of Israel who will be living on the earth while the short great tribulation is taking place will be the fact that the elect remnant of Israel will not yet have become Christians, but they will have been sealed for protection (Rev. 7:1-8).
Under the words, "will be rescued" I said, I believe "will escape" would be a better translation. The "New American Bible" has, "will escape," and the "New English Bible" has "will escape" in the margin. "Escape" is a common meaning for the Hebrew verb used here. This verb is also used in Joel 2:32, which is an important cross-reference.
Next I have a sub-heading, "In what Sense Will the Elect Sons of Israel Escape?" They will escape in the sense that they will not be cut off and perish during the days of the short great tribulation. They will be left as a remnant of the nation Israel in the middle of Daniel's 70th week; they will be repentant and ready to receive the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes to them shortly after the rapture. It is important that this remnant remain alive to receive the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes to them. Two important cross-references that deal with this "escape" of the end-time elect remnant of Israel are Joel 2:30-32 and Zech. 13:8-14:3. I go on to discuss these cross-references in some detail in my book. (I highly recommend that you get a copy of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," if you haven't done so yet.)
It is very significant that Dan. 12:5-11 show that the elect, repentant end-time remnant of Israel will still have three and one-half very difficult years to go through after they submit to the Lord Jesus Christ. They will be purged, purified, and refined in those refining fires and all things will work together for good. Many verses prophesy of those very difficult years, including Dan. 7:21, 25 and Rev. 13:5, 7. Those verses speak of Antichrist overpowering the saints for three and one-half years.
We will continue this study of Dan. 12, 1, 2, 5-7 in Part 7 of this paper, starting with Dan. 12:2.
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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