Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
June 18, 1998
Last Updated :
February 22, 2012
Second Coming, Resurrection And The Rapture, Marriage Supper Of The Lamb, Battle Of Armageddon, The Arab-Israeli War And Captivity Of East Jerusalem, Titus's Invasion In 70 A.D., Winepress Of God's Wrath, Jordanian River Of Blood, Beast And False Prophet Destroyed, Feast of The Vultures, Satan In The Bottomless Pit, Judgment In This Life, Persecution And Faithfulness To Death, Will Christians Literally Be Beheaded?
Some time ago, someone inquired of me concerning the purpose of the Millennium, that is, the coming one thousand year reign of Jesus Christ on Earth when He will rule with a rod of iron. In order to properly answer this question, I feel that it is important for me to first provide you with some background information concerning this event. Prior to the beginning of the Millennium, it is my understanding that the world will experience the Second Coming of the Lord, and the Resurrection and/or Rapture of both the dead and the living Saints. This event will transpire immediately following the Great Tribulation, that is, a period of great persecution which will occur during the final three and a half years of wicked man's rule of the Earth. The Lord Himself spoke of these events in the following verses:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Matthew 24:29-31, KJV
The Apostle Paul and John, the beloved Disciple of the Lord, also wrote about these most inspiring events for which every Christian awaits with eager anticipation:
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."
1 Corinthians 15:51-53, KJV
"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, KJV
"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."
Philippians 3:20-21, KJV
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
1 John 3:2, KJV
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."
Revelation 1:7, KJV
Following the Lord's glorious and triumphant Second Coming, and the long-awaited Rapture of the Saints, among other things, the Apostle John describes the Marriage of the Lamb, Jesus Christ Himself, to His spiritual Bride, that is, we the Believers, in the Courts of Heaven:
"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God."
Revelation 19:7-9, KJV
Jesus made a veiled reference to this very same wonderful event in the parable of the marriage feast found in the twenty-second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew:
"And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen."
Matthew 22:1-14, KJV
Following the Marriage of the Lamb in Revelation chapter nineteen, only a few short verses later, the Apostle John describes the Lord's Return to Earth with His raptured Saints and the Heavenly Host for the Battle of Armageddon in the country of Israel. While I currently believe that the Second Coming will only be aerial in nature, that is, that we will ascend to meet the Lord in the air, as I explain in "The Triumphant Touchdown of Jesus Christ!", this Third Coming will be quite different. It is in the ancient battle plain of Esdraelon, the valley of Jezreel, near the hill or city of Megiddo, located to the northwest of Jerusalem and not far from Mount Gilboa, that the Lord will confront the armies of the demonic leader referred to by both the Prophet Daniel and John as the Beast. It was in this same place that both Barak and Gideon wrought great victories against their enemies. It is also here where kings Saul and Josiah both met their deaths, and where the evil Queen Jezebel was eaten by dogs as had been prophesied by the Prophet Elijah. The Scriptures plainly tell us that once again, it will be the site of the Ultimate Battle between Good and Evil:
"And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon."
Revelation 16:16, KJV
"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war . . . And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army."
Revelation 19:11, 14, 19, KJV
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, whom Jude quotes in his epistle, also wrote about this coming Ultimate Battle between the forces of Good and Evil when he said:
". . . Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
Jude 1:14b-15, KJV
If my understanding of these events is correct, this Great Battle will occur sometime after Arab and Muslim military forces have surrounded Israel and have captured the eastern half of the city of Jerusalem. As I point out in some of my other Endtime articles, notice that in these verses, the Prophet Zechariah specifically tells us that half of the city shall go into captivity:
"For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city."
Zechariah 14:2, KJV
Even as I write this, hostilities continues to grow between the Palestinians and the Jews, while at the same time, patience continues to shorten due to Jewish belligerence and their insistence on populating Arab East Jerusalem, which Yasser Arafat has openly said he will declare the capital of the Palestinian State in less than a year from now. The fact that even the government of the United States was unable to broker new peace talks between the two parties after many attempts at doing so, is a clear sign of how deteriorated the situation has become. Unless the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backs down and offers a larger percentage of the West Bank to the Palestinians, and soon at that, war is inevitable, and everyone knows it. In the Gospel of Luke, the Lord also pronounced some interesting statements concerning Jerusalem:
"And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh . . . And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
Luke 21:20, 24, KJV
It is possible that the above verses from Luke may have had a partial fulfillment when Jerusalem was destroyed in approximately 70 A.D. by the Roman General Titus, the son of Roman Emperor Vespasian, and his legions. From the material I have read, it is said that the destruction was so complete that the Second Temple of Solomon was burned with fire after the Jews had run into it hoping that God would protect them from the Roman forces. So intense was the heat of the flames that all of the gold inside the Temple melted down between the blocks which formed the Temple. Titus and his men then tore down the Temple one stone at a time in order to recover the melted gold. This event was in direct fulfillment of Jesus' own words some forty years before when He said:
". . . See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
Matthew 24:2, KJV
Following this event, it is reported that possibly as many as one million Jews lost their lives due to this exercise of Roman justice on a rebellious nation. It was only a few years later that Titus became the next Emperor of Rome. What is so amazing about this is that we may see a repeat of these events in coming years when the Jewish dream of a Third Temple is finally realized; only to be crushed some three and a half years later when Jerusalem is once again invaded by foreign forces. When the Beast and the False Prophet have gained confidence by securing Jerusalem, and have begun to spread their political and military power throughout the Middle East, it is my understanding that it is at this time that the Lord will return to meet them for the Final Showdown at Armageddon. In the book of Isaiah, we find the following prophecy describing the wrath of the Lord against the wicked as He destroys their military power:
"Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth."
Isaiah 63:1-6, KJV
This prophecy appears to be repeated in slightly different words in the fourteenth and the nineteenth chapters of the Book of Revelation where we are given additional clues concerning exactly how terrible the Lord's revenge will be in the day that He pours out His Wrath upon the wicked:
"And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."
Revelation 14:20, KJV
"And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God."
Revelation 19:13, KJV
If all of the above is meant to be taken literally, that is a lot of blood from a lot of people! In fact, it is a river of blood about two hundred miles long by modern standards of measurement! Is such a thing really possible? Well, consider these facts: Edom literally means "red" in Hebrew and refers to the descendants of Esau. Today this land area forms a part of the country of Jordan. Bozrah comes from a Hebrew word meaning "sheepfold" or "fortress" and is a city in the same land area. The Jordan River, the primary river of Israel and Jordan, finds its origin in northern Israel in an area once known as Anti-Lebanon. This river is just over two hundred miles in length and flows southwest through the Sea of Galilee, and finds its head, or termination, at the Dead Sea! The Lord made the Dead Sea extremely salty for a reason. Could it be that the blood from the Battle of Armageddon will flow, or will be washed by rain into the Jordan River, thus literally turning it into a river of blood two hundred miles long as it flows down the valley towards the Dead Sea? It would certainly seem to fulfill this ancient prophecy. Time will surely tell. For more on what is in store for Jordan, please refer to my series "Satan: King of Tyrus, King of Empires!".
As a result of their sound defeat at the Battle of Armageddon, the political/military leader known as the Beast, and his fellow cohort in rebellion, the false religious leader known as the False Prophet, will be cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone:
"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."
Revelation 19:20, KJV
Concerning all of the armies who foolishly follow the Beast and the False Prophet into battle against the Lord and His Heavenly Army, they will be slain by the Word of the Lord, which is symbolized by a two-edged sword proceeding out of His mouth. These people are the totally incorrigibles, the hardened criminals in God's eyes. Just as we believe in the Sword of the Lord, that is, in the Words of Truth which proceed out of His mouth, these worldly armies will be totally deluded by the lies of the Beast and the False Prophet. Notice the contrast between the following two verses:
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:44, KJV
Within certain circles, there are those who speculate that this satanic duo will be able to accomplish this delusion by claiming that the Lord's Return is really an invasion from outer space by evil space aliens. If you read my articles on aliens, UFOs and New Age thought, you will see that this is not such a far-fetched possibility. For many years now, public opinion of, and belief in, aliens and UFOs has been shaped by those in power as they carry out their agenda for world domination. Somehow, either through demonic delusion, or possibly through Islamic religious fervor, this satanic pair is going to convince these armies that they can defeat these invading forces from "Outer Space". What they don't realize now, is that they are going to be invited to a special dinner; not to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb reserved for the Lord's spiritual Bride; but rather to a dinner for the buzzards of the air who will devour their dead bodies once the Lord utters His Word against them:
"And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great . . . And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh."
Revelation 19:17-18, 21, KJV
It is immediately following the above event, or possibly during the height of the Battle of Armageddon, that we are informed by John that that old serpent Satan will be thrown into the Bottomless Pit for one thousand years. This time period just so happens to correspond to the length of the Millennium, which seems to indicate that during Christ's Rule on the present Earth, demonic influence will be completely removed. In this manner, no one will have anyone to blame but themselves for their rebellion against God:
"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season."
Revelation 20:1-3, KJV
Exactly what is this Bottomless Pit? It doesn't seem likely that it is the same thing as the lake burning with fire and brimstone. According to the Greek lexicon, this term is derived from the Greek word "abussos". It is used nine times in the Authorized King James Version of the Bible. Of those nine times, in five instances it is translated as "bottomless pit", in two cases as "deep", and in the final two usages it is translated as "bottomless". Following are the definitions provided by the lexicon:
----- Begin Quote -----
3) the abyss
3a) the pit
3b) the immeasurable depth
3c) of Orcus, a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons
----- End Of Quote -----
If you are interested in a more in-depth study of this topic, I encourage you to read my eight-part companion series called "Hell, the Lake of Fire and Universalism", and the series "The Seven Heads", specifically part five of the latter. With Satan temporarily out of the way, and the evil armies of the Beast destroyed, John next tells us that the Millennial Rule of Jesus Christ and the Saints will finally begin:
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years . . . Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
Revelation 20:4, 6, KJV
For many years I was under the impression that the above verses describe the judgment of the Saints, followed by the Millennial Rule; however, I now realize that this may not necessarily be the case. According to what we read here, the Saints will have apparently already been judged and found worthy of Salvation, Resurrection and a position of authority in God's Millennial Government. If this is true, then when were they judged? The following verse from the first Epistle of Peter may provide us with an important clue:
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"
1 Peter 4:17, KJV
If my understanding is correct, our judgment as Christian Believers is an ongoing process which occurs in this life. From Peter's words above, I am given the impression that this judgment of the Believers began the minute Jesus returned to His Throne of Glory as the Firstfruits of the Resurrection. In other words, we are judged on a daily basis by our actions as Christians. After all, we already know what the Truth is and have accepted it. To add further support for this idea, consider what Jesus said regarding the Rapture of the Saints:
"I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left."
Luke 17:34-36, KJV
As can be seen by these verses, a decision, a determination, a judgment will have already been made regarding the worthiness of the Believers at the time of the Resurrection. Those who are raptured will have already been judged, and will have passed the final grade. They will have been found to be faithful witnesses in this current life. As the above verse from the twentieth chapter of the Book of Revelation states, these are they who will not have loved their lives unto the death. They won't worship the Beast, or the Image of the Beast, or receive the Mark of the Beast; but will rather choose to die for the Lord as their final testimony to an unbelieving world. Despite all obstacles, ridicule and verbal and physical persecution, just like the heroes of faith mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews, these brave souls won't be ashamed of the Lord or His Word. Here are some additional verses which lend weight to this idea:
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
Revelation 12:11, KJV
"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
Luke 9:23-24, KJV
"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Mark 8:38, KJV
"And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name."
Acts 5:41, KJV
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2, KJV
If you are interested in reading more on the topic of Christian persecution, I encourage you to read the article "Civil Disobedience and Christian Persecution". It is my most thorough article on this topic to date. What I also find rather interesting regarding the First Resurrection scenario, is that John specifically tells us that these Saints are beheaded because they will refuse to deny their Christian faith; and they will continue to faithfully witness right up to the very end of their Earthly lives. As Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew:
"And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."
Matthew 10:22, KJV
As I point out in other of my Endtime articles, I believe that this word "beheaded" is meant to be taken literally. It is translated from the Greek word "pelekizo" which means to cut off with an axe, or to behead someone. Based upon my current understanding, there are only two possibilities that I can envision: either the demonic forces of the Endtime Government are going to be setting up guillotines in order to execute the Saints of the Most High; or else this ties in directly with my own speculations concerning the Beast, the False Prophet, the Ten Horns, and the invasion of Israel all being Arab, and more specifically, Muslim related. This is covered more fully in other of my Endtime articles such as the series "Satan: King of Tyrus, King of Empires!", "The Kings of the North and the South", "The Seven Heads", etc.
Despite Muslim attempts to downplay this, it is a fact that the Qur'an clearly states that it is an honorable act to defend and kill for the faith. A study of Islamic history will clearly demonstrate that this is true. If you are interested in reading some direct quotes from the Qur'an which clearly reveal the Islamic attitude towards Judaism and Christianity, please refer to my highly-controversial article, "Holy Qur'an and Islam: A Doctrine of Devils?".
Exactly how might this "honorable killing" be accomplished? Once you have read the aforementioned article, it won't be difficult for you to envision the Muslim faithful being stirred up by the rantings of their mad False Prophet, who will encourage them to raise their swords against the Christian and Jewish "infidels" to behead them. When Israel is surrounded, and East Jerusalem invaded, it will truly be a time of Great Tribulation. Consider Jesus' own words concerning the urgency of this time of upheaval and immense human suffering:
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
Matthew 24:15-22, KJV
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .