In the previous 27 articles on End Time issues, we have touched upon several items of End Time consequences and rewards. There remains an abundance of END TIME information we have not covered in this series but is available in scripture. The question remains, why worry or fret about a 7-year Tribulation that believers will either miss or to some degree be protected from its scourges up to the 3 1/2 mark? One might assume that during the 3 1/2 years of the Two Witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11:1-14, people (particularly Jews) will become believers and receive the Mark of Christ mentioned in the Bible. To think this is speculation. Some things were sealed up according to the Book of Daniel and Revelation.
Perhaps thousands will become believers from the witness of these two witnesses found in Revelation 11:1-14 [cf. Acts 2:17-21 & Joel 2:30-32]. This could also be one of the catalysts for the antichrist (Satan) to try and destroy the Tribulation believers beginning 3 1/2 years into the Tribulation. His anger or desperation against God’s creation will likely become even greater when what he thinks he has killed (the two Jerusalem witnesses) return to life 3 ½ days of being dead on a street in Jerusalem, then they rise, fully recovered, are taken up to the heavens in full view of Satan’s followers.
A confusion causing theologian disagreements is the placement of and who receives the mark of the beast or the mark of Christ. There are multiple times this is mentioned in scripture. The forehead is pronounced. When one looks into the eyes of another, the forehead is in clear view. Any mark on it is difficult to “not see”. Catholicism practices an ash or charcoal mark applied to the forehead. The 144,000 (12,000 from each Tribe of Israel minus the Tribe of Dan) are characterized by having the seal of God on their foreheads, according to Revelation 7:3; 14:1.
Something very significant is in the wording of Ezekiel 9:4: “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.” Note well, this passage of scripture identifies Jerusalem, not the church. Why? Because believers have already been redeemed and raptured.
AHAMOMENT: During our research for this article, we ran across Mark 1:1. Now one can know that the first gospel was not the Book of Matthew, but the Book of Mark. Why? Because it says so. Why study such things as end time if the Rapture has already occurred? Look at 1 Peter 3:15.
In Ezekiel’s vision, we read that the saved are marked. This does not necessarily mean on the forehead, but they are marked. In Revelation 3:5 we find a mark being a “robe of white” with his or her name written in the Book of life. This is a “mark” of one’s faithful devotion to Jesus as Messiah. One who wears the armor of God (Ephesians 6) reveals their mark to the world. John 13:35 finds Jesus instructing how others will recognize a Christian believer.
One can find many references as to being or how to be recognized as “marked for Christ”. However, being marked with the seal of Christ means being marked on the forehead in the end time Tribulation, not identified by the clothes one might wear. This is a rebellious world that refuses to be told what to do. These people are the ones, besides the descendants of Israel (we call them Jews today), that Satan deceives and hates for refusing his mark. They refuse to bow a knee to him or his statue.
One who calls him or herself a believer during the Tribulation may be comfortable volunteering for public events or being kind to others, but will be nervous about sharing one’s faith, the consequence that has a price tag for not grasping Matthew 12:2.
We conclude this overview series with a section of scripture that is seldom preached or explained. It is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-17. There is a well written article that addresses the questions raised in 2 Thessalonians 2:6 & 7. Let’s conclude by doing a verse-by-verse review of 2 Thessalonians 2:6-12. Understanding this passage is a personal giant step forward in one’s grasp of the end time.
6 And now you know what is restraining him [from being revealed at this time]; it is so that he may be manifested (revealed) in his own [appointed] time.
(Commentary) There is debate as to who this restrainer is. Because Paul does not identify him (it?) we might conclude that the Thessalonians already know about the restrainer. What is being restrained? Satan’s ruthless being, his antichrist status, and the false prophet. Being so, he could be on earth today but yet to be revealed.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until he who restrains is taken out of the way.
(Commentary) The world does not accept the deity or even the existence of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Remember that the New Testament is an appeal to all individuals within this world. This is the mystery of lawlessness. How can a rational person NOT accept this fact? The Apostle Paul points out that a restrained Satan by the Holy Spirit has an end. When the restrainer is removed from the earth, what next? (ans) The restrainer is removed so the lawless one (Satan) can be revealed.
8 And then the lawless one (the antichrist) will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by His appearing and second advent.
(Commentary) Scriptures tell us that antichrist’s identity is revealed for who and what he is at the mid-point of the Tribulation [Revelation 13]. This happens when the promise of 7-years of peace in Israel is revoked by antichrist. Satan will then set himself up on the throne within the rebuilt Temple of Israel. He will declare himself as the god. The image made of him will be given the power to speak and will condemn to death all who refuse to worship Satan/antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
9 The coming [of the lawless one, the antichrist] is through the activity and working of Satan and will be attended by great power and with all sorts of [pretended] miracles and signs and delusive marvels—[all of them] lying wonders…
(Commentary) Even the supposed death of the Antichrist [Revelation 11:7-9] is just that…supposed. This is the course of the deep deception of end time.
10 And by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing (going to perdition) because they did not welcome (accept) the Truth but refused to love it (so) that they might be saved.
11 Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error, and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false,…
(Commentary) …Romans 10:17 may have something to do with verse 11 of 2 Thessalonians. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”. What could cause a greater delusion than there no longer being any hearing of the Word of God during End Time? Instead, the false faith given by hearing the words of Satan (antichrist) is all they hear. Recall that the two Jerusalem witnesses will have left earth by this time. We must not forget that the two witnesses and the 144,000 are witnesses of God.
12 In order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe in [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely on] the Truth, but [instead] take pleasure in unrighteousness.
(Commentary) Verse 12…explains Romans 10:17. “that all may be judged who do not believe” is self-evident. Man will still have a personal choice to accept Christ or not, but the other possible restrainer, the Word of God, is no longer being preached. Might this be true of many churches today where their emphasis is upon social and political issues, musical talent, dinners, church activities, and great speeches, but not a word is mentioned of the need for faith and salvation?
Rev. Dr. Jstark
PS: We at ahabiblemoments.com believe the restrainer to be the most obvious…the Holy Spirit. Once he is removed the one who is convincing sinners of a need for Jesus to gain salvation is no longer present. Mankind will now be on personal recognizance. That of itself is not much of a shield against the influence of Satan. Possible? Yes. Likely? No.
PSS: Do not lose thought that this 7-year end time is also the 70th week of Daniel’s 70-7’s prophecy. As Daniel prayed, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and gave him a vision of Israel’s future. No mention is made of the church [Daniel 9:24,25].
PSSS: One should also recall Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s Statue Dream. The feet of this statue (End Time Tribulation) will be a mixture of iron and clay…these elements make it weak [Daniel 2]. One should note that such a mix does not hold together meaning the antichrist’s end time rule will also NOT hold together from the start of it.