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Description: “The Abomination of Desolation: Part 2”
What in the World Is God Doing?
WAIT FOR INTRO, MUSIC, AND VOICEOVER
VOICEOVER: Welcome to End Times Today with Author, Speaker, and Bible teacher: John Claeys. This episode is entitled, THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION: PART 2
We’d like to remind you what’s available at End Times Today Dot Org. You can sign up for notifications concerning upcoming episodes, watch previous broadcasts, and even send in your own questions for John.
In addition you can get copies of John’s books by going to End Times Today Dot Org.
We’ll take a look at THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION: PART 2 in just a moment, but first let’s see what’s happening in our the world right now. Here’s John Claeys
Viewer Screen: “What in the World Is God Doing?”
Welcome to the segment we have entitled, “What in the World Is God Doing?” We begin with an article entitled:
Viewer Screen: IAEA: Iran's Uranium Stockpile Is 10 Times over Limit Set by Nuclear Deal - David Albright, Sarah Burkhard, and Andrea Stricker (Institute for Science and International Security)
The article informs that: “According to the International Atomic Energy Agency's quarterly safeguards report for Sept. 4, 2020, Iran's low enriched uranium stock now exceeds by ten-fold the limit set in the nuclear deal. Iran's estimated nuclear breakout time is as short as 3.5 months. In as little as 5.5 months, Iran could produce enough weapon-grade uranium for two nuclear weapons.”
This is followed by this article:
Viewer Screen: U.S.: Iran Will Have Enough Fissile Material for Nuclear Bomb by Year's End - Steve Holland and Arshad Mohammed (Reuters)
According to this article, “a senior U.S. official said . . . Iran could have enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of the year”!
This is concerning, to say the least. Iran is a dangerous, terrorist state that seeks world domination through nuclear weapons. Its first declared step toward that domination is the elimination of Israel! However, God will not allow Iran to achieve that wicked goal. Since the current Iranian government will not give up on its declared goal, and because the current Iranian government is seeking to block a Middle East treaty with Israel, it only makes sense that God will provide for the toppling of that regime.
A number of Middle East leaders have come alongside Israel to strongly encourage the Jewish nation to take down the Iranian regime., essentially saying, “We will guarantee a treaty of “peace and security” if you [Israel] take down the current Iranian regime,” as these leaders fear a nuclear Iran. I believe Israel will respond in kind and will be hailed as the hero, as a result.
Viewer Screen: U.S. Imposes Sweeping New Sanctions on Iran - Nike Ching (VOA News)
Furthermore, we see:
Viewer Screen: The Return of UN Sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran - Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo (U.S. State Department)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo writes: “The greatest threat to peace in the Middle East comes from the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose violent efforts to spread revolution have killed thousands and upended the lives of millions of innocent people.” He goes on to correctly call Iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terror and anti-Semitism” and states that “the world will be safer as a result” of reigning in this regime of terror.
The result of recent sanctions on Iran can be seen in the following article:
Viewer Screen: Iran's Currency Plummets after U.S. Sanctions Threat - David Rose (The Times-UK)
The article reveals that “Iran's currency has sunk to its lowest level after the U.S. threatened to enforce the return of UN sanctions. Iran's currency has weakened 30% since June and is worth about a tenth of its value in 2015.”
This squeeze on Iran is, of course, squeezing its entire population and is making this regime even more unpopular among its populace. Might Israeli leaders be working secretly with Iran’s underground movement in preparation of bringing down the terrorist regime? If so, this may prepare the way for a treaty of “peace and security” with Israel. So, keep looking up!
This is: “What in the World Is God Doing?”
FULL STOP. WAIT FOR MUSIC AND VOICEOVER
VOICEOVER: Thanks John! If you’ve got questions, about current events, you can send them to John by going to Endtimestoday.org. Now, let’s take a look at what in the Bible God is saying to us, as we take a look THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION: PART 2 Here’s John to explain.
What in the Bible Is God Saying?
“The Abomination of Desolation: Part 2”
Viewer Screen: “The Abomination of Desolation: Part 2”
The April 22, 1974 edition of Time magazine ran this letter to the editor:
A man who does not make value judgments could be dangerous. A man who does not ask who is right may operate with a blank and pitiless conscience. If the same man happens to be amassing ever greater power and popularity, watch out, world! A brilliant mind, a passionate ego and an imagination unfettered by any moral absolutes concoct the ultimate delusion: Your savior has come—fall down and worship him.
This warning sounds a lot like the man in prophecy associated with the abomination of desolation. As we have learned here on End Times Today, the future will reveal a man known in the Bible as the King of the North who will become the Beast, seen by the world as its savior and even as its god. As we have also seen, this Assyrian will be empowered by Satan to arise to great power and authority from the Middle East. After vanquishing the Middle East and northern Africa, he will move into Jerusalem in the middle of the Tribulation period, where he will become the Beast, the ruler of the world.
At that point, he will kill God’s two prophets and then enter the temple of God. It will be at that point there will be an end to sacrifice and offering as Daniel 9:27 announces.
In 2 Thess 2:3-4, the apostle Paul describes the act associated with the Beast’s abomination of God’s temple. However, let’s get a bit more of the context by, first, looking at verses 1-2:
Viewer Screen: “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come” (2 Thess 2:1-2).
“The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” refers to the return of Jesus which is initiated by His coming in air at the rapture. In fact “our gathering together to Him” refers to the rapture. That event is begun when Jesus leaves heaven, taking with Him all believers in heaven. Those believers will then receive their resurrected bodies, followed immediately by the plucking off the earth all believers in Jesus who are alive at that moment at which point they receive their glorified bodies.
This glorious event is then followed by seven years of tribulation upon the earth which is put to an end when Jesus returns to the Mt. of Olives, accompanied by all believes who had been with Him in the sky. His coming to the earth completes His return which is initiated by the rapture.
Returning to verses 1 and 2 of 2 Thess 2, we see that the Apostle Paul is comforting his first century readers who had been shaken up, thinking that that “the day of Christ had come.”
“The day of Christ” refers to the second half of the Tribulation period. In Daniel and Revelation, the seven-year Tribulation period is divided into two equal halves. Jesus also seems to equate the Tribulation to two parts or “days” in Luke 17, in which the first half begins with “the day Noah entered the ark” (v 27). In the context, this represents the rapture, which is followed by the universal destruction of the earth—the flood which represents God pouring out His wrath upon the world during the Tribulation period.
The second half begins with “the day that Lot went out of Sodom” (v 29), responding to the Lord’s warning to flee, representing the Lord’s warning to Jewish believers in the Tribulation to flee at “the abomination of desolation,” which begins the second half of the Tribulation period.
These two halves in Luke 17 represent “the days [plural] of the Son of Mon” (v 22). But “the day [singular] when the Son of Man is revealed” portrays the second half of the Tribulation period. Thus, the second half of the Tribulation period leads to the revealing of “the Son of Man,” which is a title for the reigning Messiah. This “revealing” occurs when Jesus returns to the earth to take His rightful place as “the Son of Man,” the Ruler of the world.
“The day when the Son of Man is revealed” is what Paul is calling “the day of Christ” in 2 Thess 2:2. Thus, Paul is saying to his readers, “Don’t be led astray to think that the mid-point of the Tribulation period, which is when persecution will begin for believers in Jesus, has already arrived.” We could understand why those first-century readers would be “shaken,” since that would mean the arrival of severe persecution for believers and even death! Paul goes on in verses 3 and 4 to explain why “the day of Christ” had not yet come:
Viewer Screen: “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess 2:3-4).
Paul lets his audience know that the last half of the Tribulation will not be unveiled until two things occur. The first is “the falling away.” This refers to Jewish believers in the first half of the Tribulation period growing cold in their relationship with the Lord. Paul describes it in this way in 1 Tim 4:1:
Viewer Screen: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim 4:1).
The second signpost of the second half of the Tribulation period is revealed in verses 3b and 4 of 2 Thess 2:
Viewer Screen: . . . and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess 2:3b-4).
Though Paul calls him “the man of sin,” this is the Beast of Revelation. He will enter into, and take his seat in, “the temple of God.” This is the temple that will be built as a result of the seven-year treaty with Israel that inaugurates the Tribulation period. Thus, Paul explains that the day of Christ—the last half of the tribulation period—will begin when the Man of Sinenters into the temple of God. With that act, he will declare he is God.
Jesus also describes that same act in this way:
Viewer Screen: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place . . .” (Matthew 24:15).
The “holy place” in this verse refers to the holy of holies in the temple. God directed in the Old Testament that no one was to enter the temple except the high priest—and only once a year. And even then, the priest had to undergo preparation by offering up a sin offering for himself in order to enter the temple. Any other entrance into the holy of holies would be an abomination and was not allowed by the Lord.
Thus, the “abomination of desolation” refers to the Beast abominating the temple by entering it against God’s regulations. “Desolation” refers to what will occur once he abominates the temple. Thus, the abomination of the temple by the Beast will signal that he is about to bring desolation to Israel.
This is why Jesus issues the following admonition:
Viewer Screen: “ ‘Therefore when you see the “‘abomination of desolation,” ’ . . . then let those who are in Judea flee to the hills. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes’ ” (Mt 24:15-18).
Observe Jesus’ exhortation to His future audience. By the most serious of warnings, He is calling for believing Jews residing in Judea at the time of the abomination of the temple to flee Judea immediately! In other words: “Run for your lives!”
It will be critically important that those particular Jews not hesitate to obey Jesus’ command at that point. If they do hesitate, they will lose their lives.
Then, almost inexplicably after that powerful exhortation, Jesus adds this warning:
Viewer Screen: “ ‘But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be’ ” (Mt 24:19-21).
Jesus underlines His most serious warning by announcing that those who are pregnant or who are nursing babies will not be able to leave Judea quickly and could therefore be caught by the Beast’s armies. He is, thus, emphasizing the haste with which these Jews will need to escape Judea.
In addition, Jesus gives this somber warning: “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.” Taking flight in winter would be slower due to inclement weather. Fleeing on the Sabbath would be equally difficult because travel would be limited due to Israel’s observance of the Law during the tribulation period, limiting travel on the Sabbath. Once again, the point Jesus is making is to stress the importance of haste in getting out of Judea when the Beast abominates the temple, because desolationof the Jews will immediately follow.
From the exhortation to flee immediately, to the warning about not even taking the time to enter the house from the roof, to the woe attached to being pregnant when it is time to take flight, to the prayer of the Jews not to have to attempt their exodus on the Sabbath, there could not be a stronger emphasis put on the absolute necessity for them to flee Judea immediately.
As we have noted, “the abomination of desolation” initiates the final half of the final seven years of the 490-year prophecy of Daniel 9:24–27, a prophecy directed toward Israel, NOT the Church. To put it another way, “the abomination of desolation” begins the final three and a half years before the return of Jesus to the earth. This 3½-year period which will be a time of unparalleled persecution of Jewish followers of Jesus. No other period of persecution in human history can measure up to the intensity of oppression that will be heaped upon Jewish followers of Jesus at that time.
During the 3½ -year ministry of the two prophets of God to Israel, the prophets will, undoubtedly, present the good news of Jesus and eternal life, sharing with their Jewish audience that eternal life—life with God forever—is received simply by believing Jesus for it. But the prophets will also prepare these new believers to endure well the final 3½ years of the Tribulation period in order to be well-rewarded by Jesus in His kingdom. Part of that preparation will be to teach Jesus’ admonition regarding “the abomination of desolation.” They will emphasize quite strongly the need to heed Jesus’ command to flee at “the abomination of desolation.”
However, this will not be an easy decision for these believers to make. After all, they are being called to take off, leaving behind ALL of their possessions, their jobs, income, savings, social standing, . . . EVERYTHING—for three and a half years!!
Consider another factor to see how difficult that choice to obyey will be. Notice what is revealed in Rev 13:17:
Viewer Screen: “. . . no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Rev 13:17).
Revelation reveals that no believer in Jesus will take the mark of the Beast. This means that believers will not be able to “buy or sell” anything. This means that Jewish believers will need to make a critical and difficult decision for when “the abomination of desolation” occurs, They will make that decision knowing that, for three and a half years, they will not be able to buy or sell anything. If they obey Jesus, they will be on the run for three and a half years with nothing but the clothes on their backs! Will everyone make that choice? What would YOU do if you had to make that choice?
Unfortunately, many Jewish believers will choose disobedience; they will try to hang onto their possessions, comforts, standing in the community, etc. However, Jesus reveals they will lose their lives:
Viewer Screen: “ ‘Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it’ ” (Lk 17:33).
Those disobedient believers who will try to “save” their lives will end up losing them. But the obedient believers who “lose” their life, at least life as they knew it prior to fleeing in obedience to Jesus’ command, will preserve their life, in the sense of eternal reward. They will experience a fulness of life in the kingdom as a result of giving their lives in obedience to Jesus.
What an example to us! Obedience costs, but it is eternally rewarding! May we follow this example by trusting the Lord in obedience even when the decision to obey is a tough one, knowing that our Lord will greatly reward our obedience in the kingdom!
So, what will happen to these believers who choose to obey Jesus? We will see next time on End Times Today when we encounter
Viewer Screen: “Hunted by the Dragon”
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Questions / Answers
VOICEOVER: Thank you John. Before we go let’s take a look at a question from a viewer just like you. You can send questions by going to endtimestoday.org. Diane in Arkansas writes:
Q: I heard it suggested that the rapture may be visible to unbelievers because the apostles watched Jesus ascend into the clouds? Also, will there be unbelievers who have been taught about the rapture who will believe when the rapture occurs? In other words, would it be possible that they would believe in Jesus, not because of the two prophets and the 144,000 but because of what they heard (and rejected) earlier about the rapture? -- Diane, Arkansas
A: Jesus’ ascension was visible to provide another sign of His death and resurrection in victory over sin and death. However, the rapture seems to be presented as occurring so quickly no one will see it. Take note of the description of the rapture Paul gives in 1 Cor 15:51-52:
Viewer Screen: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep [die], but we shall all be changed [glorified] -- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, . . .”. (1 Cor 15:51-52).
It will occur “in the twinkling of an eye,” meaning faster than one can blink! In addition, Jesus describes the rapture occurring as a “thief would come” (Mt 24:43). Thieves are careful not to be seen. In addition, Scripture is completely silent about anyone believing in Jesus as a result of the rapture. Instead, God appears to start over with His witnesses upon the earth with two prophets prophesying to Israel, not with hundreds or thousands of others believing as a result of the rapture.
It seems that few, if any, who have been taught about the rapture will believe as a result of the occurrence of the rapture. I point to these verses as my evidence:
Viewer Screen: “The coming of the lawless one [the Man of Sin, the Beast] is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess 2:9-12).
Paul reveals that those “who did not believe the truth” will be deceived; they will “believe the lie.” This indicates the danger of rejecting the gospel, as the more one rejects the good news of Jesus and God’s word, the more one hardens his or her heart to God’s truth. In general, those who heard God’s word presented to them, which would include teaching on the rapture, will be deceived once the rapture occurs. Satan will prepare the world for the coming of the Man of Sin, the Beast of Revelation, by bringing great deception upon the world. This will include “all power, signs, and lying wonders.” In addition, God will hand over to deception at that time those who rejected the truth prior. This is similar to what is presented in Romans chapter 1 where we are told three times—in verses 24, 26, and 28—that, for those who pursue sin, God will hand them over to the full power and consequence of their sin. He will say, “Have it your way.” God will do the same following the rapture; He will hand over those who reject His truth to the lie of Satan.
In addition, if people believed in Jesus outside of God’s plan of using the two prophets to reach Israel and the 144,000 Jews to reach the nations, it would skirt His plan.
For these reasons, I don’t believe people who were taught about the rapture prior to its occurrence will believe in Jesus as a result of it occurring.
FULL STOP. WAIT FOR OUTRO VOICEOVER.
VOICEOVER: Thanks so much to John, for the information in today’s fascinating program. Don’t forget, If you’d like to sign up for notifications, see recent episodes, get copies of John’s books, or even ask John a question you can do that and more at ENDTIMESTODAY.ORG. In addition if you are interested in becoming a financial pattern with this or any of the shows produced by Free Grace International, you can donate at endtimestoday.org. Finally, we would love for you to pray for us as we continue to encourage our viewers to keep looking up. Thanks for watching and we will see you next time on End Times Today, With John Claeys.