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NOT FOR A FEW CENTURIES

by Jacques More

As a result of my studies I do not believe Jesus will return to earth in this century or the next.

This event commonly known as the Second Coming will not occur in my view for several centuries. If I had said this 1800 years ago many perhaps would have felt like you maybe are right now? ''Surely not. You can't be right, etc...''? But, looking back, it is easy to picture someone saying it back then and it being ok. I am however, saying it now, because there are many things which can be seen in the Bible as needing to be fulfilled first. I believe the situation is as true now as it was 1800 years ago!

Well, not quite, because 50 years ago saw the nation of Israel being established again. And this has not been since A.D. 70. This was therefore, a significant step fulfilling prophecy prior to the Second Advent. In the last century men like S. P. Tregelles and Brian Newton taught Bible prophecy and they recognised the need for Israel to be a nation again out of the dispersed Jews worldwide before the Lord's return. But, there is much more written about that needs to occur before Jesus comes back.Now this has occurred, what else needs to happen as shown in prophetic scripture?

THINGS NEEDING TO OCCUR
As discussed in my document How Soon is Jesus' Return? the rebuilding of the temple needs to occur(1). But, before this happens the political climate needs much transforming before that could be permitted. The building of such an edifice in Jerusalem next to or, in place of one of Islam's most holy mosque - the Dome of the Rock - would create such an uproar in the present climate that Israel's security conscious politicians would never allow it. There needs to be a further time of settling down as a nation to establish a greater 'secure' environment for that. But the time will come when this climate will change even though it must be said that Jerusalem itself will always remain a contentious issue in the nations(2).

What else needs to happen?
The layout of the nations out of which the Antichrist is mentioned as arising. This is probably the biggest unfulfilled prophecy which points to centuries as opposed to decades, but there is another which I briefly touch upon at the end of this document.

THE LAYOUT
Before it came to pass Daniel was shown that the Medes and Persians would arise and conquer the domain of the Babylonians. After this, he was informed that the Greeks would rule and this occurred under Alexander the Great and then, the empire was to be split between 4 of his generals. Each of these then ruled as separate dynasties up until the Romans conquered them and set up their own empire. All this was revealed to Daniel ahead of time and actually occurred in that way as recorded in history(3).

There is a progressive revelation given to Daniel of the last things to occur out of these empires. The information given him adds to and clarifies previous things shared with him. Looking at the Roman domination also known as 'the Roman Earth' there will arise 10 separate nations(4). Now at its fullest extent the Roman Empire consisted of most of what is Western Europe up to the River Danube, all of North Africa and most of the Near East that is west of Iran. This area presently contains about 27 or more(5) separate politically recognised nations. With the advent of the EEC and monetary Union and the fact that a monetary system is an emblem of rule - whose inscription is on the coin? Give to whom it is due (Matthew 22:20-21) - then, the number will drop to about 19 and will continue to fall as agreements and mutual economic and political arrangements develop and grow to fruition. I would not be surprised if the final 10 will comprise of 5 in 'the west' and 5 in 'the East' (including North African regions). This would be a possible interpretation of the 5 toes on each foot of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Not forgetting that there is a mixture of iron and clay making up that part of the statue and it is only various legal accords and economic alliances which will keep and bring together these peoples and nations(6).

The need for this to arise out of the Roman Earth puts the date out of sight of this century and I think the next. It could be some major wars are ahead which reshape things faster, but unions as mentioned are more likely.

THE ANTICHRIST'S NATION
If we look at the Greek Empire which was divided into 4 we are told that out of one of these will arise the antichrist(7). Since we are also told that out of the 10 (of the Roman Earth) also he will arise(8), then it follows that one of the 10 'kingdoms' to come will be equivalent in size and location to one of the 4 kingdoms which arose out of the Greek Earth. Now these are historically the domains of Ptolemy (what is modern Egypt, parts of Libya and Sudan as well as Israel, Lebanon and Jordan when it was not occupied by the Seleucids), Cassander (Macedon and Greece), Lysimachus (what is most of modern Turkey east of the Bosporus except for its far eastern parts) and finally Seleucus (what is modern Iraq, Syria, Iran, Pakistan and parts of Eastern Turkey). Further, we are informed that someone out of one ancient nation, the Assyrians, will one day be destroyed on God's mountains(9). This is spoken prophetically as part of the final judgment and is linked with the end of the last days.

Putting these pieces together we are drawn to the conclusion that the Seleucid empire will be the nearest equivalent size and location of the nation out of which the Antichrist will arise. At its heart this consists presently of Iraq and parts of Syria. At its greatest extent it also included present Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and bits of: Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. So, out of the land of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates and probably more out of its northern regions (ancient Assyria) will arise the Antichrist, the Man of Lawlessness.The area of Babylon of old where Babel and the first recorded mass rebellion occurred.

Now this region is not yet technologically advanced sufficiently to operate a policy of buying and selling by codes placed in human parts(10). Though this is not far off if desired in the 'west', it is further away in this region.

SOME HISTORY OF THIS NATION
Interestingly it is out of the Seleucid empire that came probably the best 'Type' or forerunner - a pre example - of the Antichrist. This was Antiochus IV also known as Antiochus Epiphanes who lived about 215-164BC. In his thirst for power he went south to attempt the conquest of Egypt (ruled by the Ptolemaic dynasty). To do this he went through the land of Israel in the way (when the Antichrist himself does this, the Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites - modern Jordan now - will not be 'touched' by The Antichrist - this may therefore be a place to escape to)(11). Antiochus did not succeed in his campaigns against Egypt and on his return trip he removed the sacrifices and worship from the temple in Jerusalem. The place was then left with an emblem of his own rule and no more sacrifices occurred. 3½ years later both Antiochus died and, the temple was cleaned and re-dedicated by Judas Maccabees(12). This is the same time factor given for the patience and endurance of the saints from the moment the daily sacrifice is removed by Antichrist until his own end. A time of great Tribulation where the knowledge of this length of time will be needed for the saints to comfort and encourage one another. This time is also told us in the Bible in terms of 42 months and 1260 days to confirm the reality and importance of this truth(13). Jesus said (to his followers) to look out for the sacrifice being stopped again and the abomination set up. Both Matthew and Mark encourage the reader to take note(14).

ANOTHER POINTER
There is a possible understanding arising out of an examination of the prophetic '70 weeks' mentioned in Daniel 9 which gives me reason to think that there are several centuries before the Lord's Return. I have put these thoughts together on a separate document entitled A Possible Understanding for the Year of the Lord's Return.

SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
Though I do not believe in the Lord's return for quite a while, what I am believing for is a mighty harvest as prophesied by Smith Wigglesworth and that in my lifetime. I quote this prophecy in the text here.

Related topic of interest is The Antichrist's Domain a look at other indicators to the limits of his geographical rule.

NOTES:
(1) 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4 '. . . the man of sin . . who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.' written circa AD54 prior to the destruction of the temple in AD70. No one has sat in it and declared himself as God since Paul wrote and it needs rebuilding before someone can - note that the word Paul uses for temple in the Greek is naos and is the most commonly used word for the building of the temple in the LXX - the Septuagint - the Greek version of the Old Testament - used and quoted by Jesus and the apostles; (2) Zechariah 12:2 '. . . I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples. . .'; (3) Daniel 2:31-44, 7:3-7, 7:17-19, 8:3 , 8:20: 'The ram which you saw, having two horns - they are the kings of Media and Persia', 8:21: 'And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king.' [Alexander the Great], 8:22 '. . .four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.' [see further in the text for details of the 4]; (4) Daniel 7:7-8, 7:19-21, 23-25, Revelation 13:1-10, 17:12; (5) more if I count the splitting up of Yugoslavia, etc; (6) Daniel 2:40-43; (7) Daniel 8:8-9, 10 4 '. . .four notable ones came up . . . out of one of them came a little horn . . . it grew up to the host of heaven . . . and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away. . .', etc; (8) Daniel 7:23-25, Revelation 13:1; (9) Isaiah 14:25 and context, also see Micah 5:5-6; (10) Revelation 13:16-17; (11) Daniel 11:41 'these shall escape from his hand. . .'; (12) 1 Maccabees first few chapters: an apocryphal book with valuable historical information; (13) Daniel 7:25, 9:27,12:7,11 Revelation 11:2, 3, 12:6, 14, 13:5; (14) Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. Remember Antiochus Epiphanes lived before Jesus came and the Lord therefore forewarned of the desecration of the temple which is yet to come..

A NOTE ABOUT 'The Rapture':

In his 1st letter to the Thessalonians Paul taught about 'the rapture' (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). In his 2nd letter he tells them '. . .concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ [the 2nd Coming] and our gathering together to him [the rapture - my emphasis] . . .let no one deceive you. . . for that Day will not come unless [i.e. not before] . . . the man of sin. . .who. . .sits as God in the temple of God.' (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4) In other words the Rapture is not before the antichrist and his removal of the sacrifice.



Unless otherwise stated Bible quotes are from the New King James Version

© copyright Thomas Nelson Inc. 1979,1980,1982.

© copyright Jacques More 1999. All Rights Reserved.

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