In our four-week study of this lesson, a lot of prophetic ground has been covered. Among others, we observe that:
i) Both God and the antichrist seal their followers in their foreheads—the former with His law containing His Name(Isai. 8:16; Rev. 14:1); the latter with his mark and number of his name (Rev. 13:16-18). Note, the 144 000 of the 12 tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:4-8 & 14:1) are the firstfruits of the saved, as salvation is to the Jew first (John 4:22; Rom. 1:16, 3:1-2) and then to the Gentile. In line with this order, the 144 000 are mentioned first before the saved “great multitude” of all nations (‘goyim’/gentiles) who stand before the THRONE and before the LAMB with palms in their hands are introduced (verse 9). The names in the seals indicate God’s and the antichrist’s respective marks of identification on their people, a badge or brand of ownership as in the days of slavery.
ii) The first part of God’s Kingdom (the Church appearing as a ‘half moon’) will snowball, on Christ’s return and after the great tribulation, into a great mountain that fills the whole earth (a universal Kingdom) – Dan. 2: 34-35, 44-45). In the event, an announcement will boom from heaven: ‘The kingdoms (i.e. four gentile kingdoms) of this world are become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever’ (Rev. 11:15). This will be accompanied by the ascension of the saints (described as those who have the faith of Jesus and keep the commandments of God – Rev. 14:12, 12:17) to Heaven – 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 19:1.
As soon as the saints are taken away(a standard practice by the Lord such as for Noah and Lot – 2 Pet. 2:9) by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:21), the Lord will unleash terrors on the earth (Matt. 24:29-31).
Herein lies the great importance of the Holy Spirit baptism! Notice that the outpouring of the Spirit occurs in these last days in which the destruction of the world is also set to happen (Acts 2:16-21). Without His Spirit (of Redemption), we are none of His and so won’t be among His people who are to be rescued from the imminent destruction (Rom. 8:9)!
By then, the Lord will have removed His restraining Hand (4 angels of Rev. 7:1-3), paving the way for the greatest battle of all time—the war of Armageddon ( Rev. 16:16)!
With the restraining hand of the Lord removed, the way of the kings of the east (Asia east of Israel) will be prepared against the battle of the great day of God Almighty (Rev. 16:12-14). The current arms race is geared towards this last war; the nations are bracing themselves for Armageddon (Joel 3:9). With a two million-strong army, China, for instance, is now a military colossus and boasts of sophisticated military hardware.
When man pits his supposed advanced military strength against the returning Messiah, the saints will not be caught in the ensuing destruction. They will be spirited away to safety (in Heaven) until “the indignation [against the government of the 666 and its supporters] be overpast” in “the great day of His wrath” (Isai. 26:20-21; Rev. 6:15-17).
Beloved, the day of the Lord is darkness and not light for sinners (Amos 5:18-20). Today is the day of salvation; don’t boast yourself of tomorrow (Prov. 27:1). Your moment of escape is today; repent and believe the gospel. When the 666 government comes and your name is not recorded in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 13:8), there will be no chance for you.
As Bible-believing Christians, we shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security that the ‘rapture’ will occur before the antichrist’s rule. We will endure the tribulation—as all true saints did (Acts 14:22; Matt. 24:21-22; Rev. 7:14)—but we will come out victorious (Rev. 15:2). Those fervent in the Spirit will not even taste death, for being alive till the end, they shall meet the Lord in the air!
As I speak, the use of microchips to identify and track people—bringing Rev. 13:16-18 eerily closer to fulfillment—is being piloted in a number of US hospitals on newborns. One US company known as Verichip is known to be promoting this seemingly universal chipping enterprise (“Hospitals tagging babies with electronic chips” www.worldnetdaily.com). According to other reports, convicts on parole, children and elderly people needing special attention have been put on this electronic leash, so they can be kept track of!
Beloved, believe in Bible prophecy as a divine foretelling of sure fulfillment; it’s our light of direction in this dark world (2 Pet. 1:19-21). All the end-time prophecies are racing to fulfillment; the end is indeed closer than when we believed (Rom. 13:11).
Sincere repentance is the greatest need of the hour.