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On the Wings of an Eagle

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On the Wings of an Eagle

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. - Revelation 12:14

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Great Tribulation
    1. The First Three and a Half Years
    2. In the midst of the week, the Abomination of Desolation
    3. The Last Three and a Half Years
    4. Ends with The Battle of Armageddon
  3. On Wings of an Eagle
    1. God Carries His People
    2. God Shelters His People
    3. God Hides His People
    4. God in a Pillar of Fire and a Pillar of a Cloud
    5. God Provides Water in the Wilderness
  4. Where do the Saints Flee?
    1. One Shall be Taken, and the Other Left
    2. What Happens to the Christians Who Are Not in Israel?
  5. What happens to the Jews Who Remain Behind?
    1. Then Shall be Great Tribulation
    2. Passages to Challenge Israel ...
  6. Some Related Questions
    1. Didn't the "Abomination of Desolation" Happen in 70AD?
    2. Should Christians bring children into the World?

Introduction

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. - Daniel 9:27

The prophet Daniel is describing the last seven years of this age. This starts with one of the antichrists (we will see shortly there is more than one antichrist) making a covenant. In the middle he will set up the Abomination of Desolation. Jesus commands those in Israel to flee to the mountains when they see this sign.

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 Judea flee into the mountains. - Matthew 24:15-16

Only those who believe in Jesus will obey. Jesus will then bring these on the wings of an eagle into the wilderness east of Israel. He will provide for them there during the last three and a half years of this age during which time He will also pour out His wrath on the world for all their abominations. This tribulation will culminate with the Battle of Armageddon. To understand this better, let us first take a detailed look at the The Great Tribulation.

The Great Tribulation

The Great Tribulation is a seven year time period, though the "seven years" is mentioned only once in the Bible (Daniel 9:27). Most other references speak of 3.5 year time periods. It is for us to study and learn if a particular 3.5 year time period speaks of the first or second half of the The Great Tribulation. The tribulation starts with the Antichrist making a covenant with Israel.

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. - Daniel 9:27

AND

Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves. - Isaiah 28:15

The Great Tribulation: The First Three and a Half Years

While Daniel is not specific in the details of the covenant, they may include:

Protection from Israel's neighbors. In light of all the terrorism in Israel, this alone would be a strong inducement for Israel to enter into this covenant.

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. - 1st Thessalonians 5:3

Rebuilding of the Temple and allowing daily sacrifices. Daniel 9:27 says in the middle of the seven years he shall cause the sacrifices cease. We can imply from this that the Temple is rebuilt and that sacrifices are allowed during the the first 3.5 years.

An exemption from worshiping an image of the Beast. During this time the whole world will be required to worship the antichrist and take his mark under penalty of death.

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: - Revelation 13:15-16

Why this exemption? When Jesus comes at the Battle of Armageddon, it is not likely that He will come for an Israel that has taken the Mark of the Beast. One solution would be for this covenant to exempt Israel. Though the antichrist allows the temple to be rebuilt and gives the Jews an exemption to worshiping his image, as we shall see, the antichrist is not sympathetic to the God of Israel. As a side note, in the first century, when Rome required the whole empire to offer incense to Caesar, the Jews by paying a special tax were exempted. Christians however, were martyred for not offering incense to Caesar.

It is possible that others who are not willing to take the Mark of the Beast may try to move to Israel. Though this is only speculation, it may be the antichrist's plan to gather his enemies into one place.

As mentioned earlier there is more than one antichrist. Revelation 13 talks of two men, one with a big mouth.

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
- Revelation 13:5-6

And a second who does great miracles.

And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
- Revelation 13:13-14

Since the whole world will embrace these men of sin, we would do well to recognize them. Here are some things to look for:

1. The first will recover from a deadly wound.

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? - Revelation 13:3-4

2. He will have a big mouth.

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. - Daniel 7:25

AND

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. Rev 13:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. - Revelation 13:5

3. they will do signs and wonders.

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
- Matthew 24:24

4. Everyone will be forced to worship his image.

And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
- Revelation 13:14-15

5. Along with worshiping his image, everyone will take his mark.

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. - Revelation 13:16-17

The Great Tribulation: In the midst of the week, the Abomination of Desolation

In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate. - Daniel 9:27b

The Abomination of Desolation defiles the Temple and thus breaks the covenant with Israel.

And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. - Isaiah 28:18

Satan through the antichrist is trying to fulfill an ancient desire, to have all of creation worship him. As previously mentioned, these antichrists have already been provoking God for 3.5 years. The Abomination of Desolation will be the magnum opus. The apostle Paul speaks of the man of sin occupying the Temple of God:

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. - 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

Isaiah also said,

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. - Isaiah 14:13-15

During his occupation of the Temple of God the man of sin will also place the Abomination of Desolation in the Temple. What is the abomination? In the New Testament, it is first mention by Jesus.

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. - Matthew 24:15-16

Since Jesus defers to Daniel for the description of the Abomination, it seems that He wishes us to personally study the Book of Daniel. In one passage he said,

And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
- Daniel 11:31

In brief, the antichrist, probably possessed by Satan, will sit in the Temple of God and demand worship. He will break his covenant with Israel, and will stop the daily sacrifices that are being offered. Then, in utter contempt for God, he will set up his Abomination of Desolation. The Book of Revelation mentions an Image of the Beast seven times. The worst punishment mentioned in the Bible is reserved for those who worship the Image of the Beast.

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. - Revelation 14:9-11

Every verse in Revelation that speaks of the Mark of the Beast also mentions the Image of Beast. Though few sermons are preached on the topic, the worshiping of an image is forbidden by the second commandment. God repeatedly warns Israel, throughout the book of Deuteronomy, not to fall into the sin of idolatry. When Israel worshiped the golden calf (Exodus 32), God gave Moses a cryptic remark.

Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made. - Exodus 32:34-35

My opinion is that the Abomination of Desolation is the antichrist setting up his Image in the Temple. The moment those in Israel hear of this transgression, they are to drop everything and flee into the mountains.

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 Judea 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. - Matthew 24:15-18

The Abomination of Desolation is a test of allegiance to the Lord. Pharaoh thrust the children of Israel out of Egypt without giving them time to bake bread, but when the children of Israel who believe in Jesus see the abomination of desolation, they will not even take bread. This flight will seem crazy to the world, but the apostle Luke wrote,

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. - Luke 17:33

The Great Tribulation: The Last Three and a Half Years

Referring to the time immediately after the Abomination of Desolation, Jesus said:

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 24:21-22

During the first 3.5 years, the antichrist persecutes the saints. During the last 3.5, years God will avenge Himself on behalf of His saints. The Book of Revelation mentions seven trumpet plagues and seven vials of wrath. I believe that these are the same set of plagues. If we examine them closely, starting with the last first, we see:

The seventh vial and trumpet both speak of the end of the age, or the Lord's second coming:

The vial: And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. - Revelation 16:17

AND

The trumpet: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound [his trumpet], the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. - Revelation 10:7

The sixth trumpet and vial both affect the Euphrates River in preparation for the Battle of Armageddon:

The trumpet: Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
- Revelation 9:14-15

AND

The vial: And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
- Revelation 16:12

The fifth trumpet and vial are both directed specifically toward those who worship the Beast:

The vial: And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
- Revelation 16:10-11

AND

The trumpet: And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: [...] And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
- Revelation 9:1-6

The fourth trumpet and vial are both plagues on the sun:

The vial: And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. - Revelation 16:8

AND

The trumpet: And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
- Revelation 8:12

Third vial and trumpet are on the rivers:

The third and second trumpets and vials are plagues on the waters. While there are differences in their descriptions, perhaps John was looking down from heaven on the trumpet plagues, while he saw the vision of the vials from earth.

The vial: And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. - Revelation 16:4

AND

The trumpet: And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
- Revelation 8:10-11

Second vial and trumpet is on the sea:

The vial: And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. - Revelation 16:3

AND

The trumpet: And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. - Revelation 8:8-9

The descriptions of first trumpet and vial are different enough that, while I believe they are related, I do not understand their connection (this is why I compare the trumpets and vials in reverse order).

The trumpet: The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. - Revelation 8:7

AND

The vial: And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image. - Revelation 16:2

These seven plagues are not random acts of nature, rather they are brought about by the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11. Teachers often speak of these Witnesses and God's wrath during the Great Tribulation, yet few connect the Witnesses to the plagues.

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days [3.5 years], clothed in sackcloth. [...] These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood [plagues 2 and 3], and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. - Revelation 11:3 & 6

The Great Tribulation: Ends with The Battle of Armageddon

In spite of the plagues and the testimony of the Two Witnesses, people will not repent.

And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
- Revelation 9:20-21

AND

And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. - Revelation 16:9

Rather, the world led by the antichrists will come up to Jerusalem to fight against God in what is known as the Battle of Armageddon. Unfortunately, Israel looses the battle. For Zechariah prophesies:

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

Isaiah and Joel also describes this terrible day.

And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.
- Isaiah 28:18-19

AND

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. - Joel 2:1-9

The Book of Revelation gives the same bad report:

And when they [the two witnesses] shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. - Revelation 11:7-10

The world will not understand that there is a living God; rather, it will believe that these Two Witnesses have harnessed some cosmic power. They think that, by killing the Witnesses, they will stay the plagues. Many in Israel that did not believe Jesus earlier, will now come to their senses.

Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me. My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets. - Psalms 55:2-11

It is not His imminent return, but the antichrist's victory in the Battle of Armageddon that caused Jesus to say,

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
- Matthew 24:44

On the Wings of an Eagle


And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. - Revelation 12:14

Mount Up Like Eagles

God Carries His People

During the first half of The Great Tribulation the Jews are allowed to rebuild the Temple and it appears that they can worship God freely. After 3.5 years the antichrist breaks his covenant and places the Abomination of Desolation in the holy place. Those in Israel who believe Jesus' will flee when the Abomination happens and thus escape God's seven last plagues as well as the brutal defeat of Jerusalem in the Battle of Armageddon. The beginning of their flight out of Israel will be very difficult. Therefore Jesus said:

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. - Mat 24:19 -20

But God will provide for those who flee into the mountains at His command, just as He provided for Israel during their forty years in the wilderness. In fact the Lord referred to upholding His people on the wings of an eagle when He carried them out of Egypt.

Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. - Exodus 19:4

In Revelation 12:14, John said she is nourished for three and a half years, this lines up with the second half of The Great Tribulation. Other passages also refer to this event:

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
- Isaiah 40:31

AND

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
- Psalm 61:2-4

AND

The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. - Habakkuk 3:19a

The prophet Habakkuk did not speak of wings, but if you read this passage in context, he appears to be confirming what Isaiah said.

God Shelters His People

Once in the wilderness, the Lord will protect and shelter his people during this time of trouble, of which both Matthew and Mark both say:

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. - Matthew 24:21

AND

For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. - Mark 13:19

When David wrote the Psalms, was he only narrating his own experiences, or was he also prophesying about a shelter in the wilderness at the end of the age?

Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for a house of defense to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength. Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD. I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities. - Psalm 31:2-7

AND

Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. - Psalm 57:1b-3

AND

He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. [...] He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. - Psalm 62:2, 6-7

The prophet Nahum uses the same words in prophesying of the last days.

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies. What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. - Nahum 1:7-9

God Hides His People

For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock - Psalm 27:5

AND

Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger. For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up. - Zephaniah 2:3-4

AND

Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. - Isaiah:26:20-21

Of course the antichrist will try to attack the saints, but Two Witnesses will be causing great plagues on the earth at this time.

They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
- Psalm 83:3

God in a Pillar of Fire and a Pillar of a Cloud

When God lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, he used a pillar of fire and a pillar of a cloud to protect them from the Egyptian army.

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
- Exodus 13:21-22

AND

And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. - Exodus 14:19-20

It's not unreasonable to assume that, in the last days,God will protect those who flee from Israel in the same way. In fact, Joel may be referring to this in the following verse.

And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. - Joel 2:30

Isaiah also speaks of Mount Zion and a pillar of protection.

And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.
- Isaiah 4:5-6

I mentioned earlier that, during this time, there will be a number of plagues poured out on the world. The Book of Revelation says:

And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
- Revelation 16:8-9

It's just speculation, but God may use a cloud to shield His people from the scorching sun at this time.

For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low. - Isaiah 25:4-5

AND

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. - Psalm 121:4-6

God Provides Water in the Wilderness

Another plague on the earth during this time will be a drought, for during the last three and a half years of this age there will be no rain. Joel and Revelation both speak of this.

Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
- Joel 1:15-20

AND

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. […] These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. - Revelation 11:3, 6

However, while the world will be in turmoil, Jeremiah speaks of God's care for those who trust in Him.

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. - Jeremiah 17:7-8

Both Isaiah and David continue this thought.

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. - Isaiah 43:18-20

AND

Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. - Psalm 33:18-20

AND

The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. - Psalm 37:18-20

Where do the Saints Flee?

Ammon Edom and Moab

If you look at Israel on a map, you will see that Israel is small, with limited options. The Mediterranean Sea lies to the west, so to escape from Israel on foot, a person would have to head east. In Biblical times the countries to the east of Israel were Edom, Moab & Ammon. Today this region is Jordan. What is the Biblical evidence that this is where the saints will be sheltered by God? In chapter 11, Daniel gives us a hint as he describes the invasion of Israel at the end of this age.

He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. - Daniel 11:41

Daniel does not say that this is where the saints will flee to, but it is interesting that this area just east of Israel will escape the antichrist’s rage. Isaiah and Micah also seem to touch on the topic.

Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; betray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. - Isaiah 16:3-4

AND

Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel [just west of the dead sea]: let them feed in Bashan [Edom] and Gilead [A mountainous region east of Jordan], as in the days of old. - Micah 7:14

It is interesting to note that, when Jesus returns at His second coming, He will come from the direction of Edom, where He has taken care of His saints for the last three and a half years. I do not expect Him to walk from the mountains towards Armageddon as a man, of course.

From bibleworld.com

Petra - an ancient city carved
out of the mountains in Edom.

Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah [in Edom] this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling 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 wine vat? 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. - Isaiah 63:1-4

AND

God came from Teman, [in Edom] and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting. I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. - Habakkuk 3:3-7

One Shall be Taken, and the Other Left

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. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. - Luke 17:34-37

Some Christians mistakenly believe that this passage teaches a pretribulation rapture. However, Jesus' reply to the disciples' question, Where Lord? included not only where they would be taken, but when and who would be taken. According to the interpretation of those who teach the pretribulation rapture, those taken are the eagles. Since eagles do not usually go in quest of carrion, this word would be better translated vultures. Is it likely that God would refer to His church as vultures?

A more careful look at this passage will show that Jesus is describing the saints who, in obedience, head for the mountains. You may wish to get your Bible and read all of Luke 17:20-37 before we start.

And when [Jesus] was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. - Luke 17:20

Skipping ahead to verse 28, Jesus compares these days to the flight of Lot.

Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. - Luke 17:28-30

In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. - Luke 17:31-33

Now we look at the two verses in question:

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. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body [or carcass] is, thither will the eagles [or vultures] be gathered together. - Luke 17:34-37

This last section of Scripture (vs. 34-37) begins with in that night, which refers to the previous verses (vs. 31-33) that command us to drop everything and flee. As we read earlier this is the same day as the Abomination of Desolation. On the night of the Abomination of Desolation, some will be taken and others will be left.

In order to confirm this, we need to look at the definitions of the words taken and left. Let's look at these words in the original Greek:

Taken: par-al-am-ban'-o - To receive near, that is, associate with oneself

Left: af-ee'-ay-mee - To send forth, in various applications

If you look at other passages in the New Testament, you will see that to receive near is an accurate definition of the word taken, and to send fourth is an accurate definition of the word left.

If we apply these definitions to the passage in Luke, we we can see that those who obey and flee to the hills will be taken (received near), and those who disobey will be left (sent forth). The eagles being gathered to the body is not referring to the pretribulation rapture; it is referring to the left behind (sent forth) being gathered to the antichrist. ''Wheresoever the body [carcass] is, thither will the eagles [vultures] be gathered together.''

What Happens to the Christians Who Are Not in Israel?

What happens to the Christians who are not in Israel at the time of the Abomination? Those who believe in a pretribulation rapture believe that we will already be taken out of the world, so we do not have to worry. Yet, if you read the scriptures used to support the pretribulation rapture in context, you may be surprised to find how poorly it is documented. Thus, if you are counting on the pretrib rapture it may be worth taking a critical look at eleven of the most common proofs.

So, what about those Christians who are not in Israel? It appears the antichrist will take many Christians by surprise. Many people will be completely unprepared for the Great Tribulation.

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.- Luke 21:34-36

If the antichrist appears tomorrow, are you prepared to be a restrainer of evil? If there is no pretribulation rapture, will your church remain faithful, even when it can no longer buy or sell? Though their expectations of being taken will be dashed, many Christians will continue to be faithful to Jesus, but not all. For Daniel said.

And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. - Daniel 11:35

Jesus also said:

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. - Matthew 24:12-13

Church history has been full of troublous times, and those troubles will come again. Daniel spoke this.

And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spoke very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
- Daniel 7:20-22

The antichrist will command us to worship the image of the beast and to receive his Mark. By refusing to submit to him, we will demonstrate our belief in God, and thereby glorify Him. Yet, as Daniel said:

And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. - Daniel 11:31-33

Those of us who are not in Israel at the time of the Abomination of Desolation should cling to these three promises:

Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger.
- Zephaniah 2:3

AND

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. - 1 Corinthians 10:13

AND

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. - Matthew 16:27

So, in answer to the question of what happens to the saints who are not in Israel:

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of [the]great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
- Revelation 7:13-17

What Happens to The Jews Who Remain Behind?

Then Shall be Great Tribulation

Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD's anger come upon you. - Zephaniah 2:1-2

During the second half of the Great Tribulation God will avenge His people for persecuting His saints during the first half. The apostles Matthew and Mark both say that the real terror of the Great Tribulation will begin after the Abomination of Desolation. Those who have disobeyed Jesus, and refused to flee when they saw the Abomination of Desolation, will suffer the consequences.

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 Judea flee into the mountains. [...] For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. - Matthew 24:15-16, 21

AND

But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, let (him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains. [...] For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
- Mark 13:14, 19

This time of tribulation will culminate with the Battle of Armageddon. As already mentioned, for a short time it will appear that Israel has lost the war.

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

Those who have remained will suffer the devastation of this battle. After great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, and their utter defeat at the Battle of Armageddon, many of the Jews who did not recognize their Messiah at the time of the Abomination of Desolation will turn back to their Messiah. When that happens, the Lord will go up and fight for Israel. Zechariah said,

In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
- Zechariah 12:8-10

Passages in the Old Testament to challenge Israel to Obey the Lord


For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, [1 Chronicles 14:8-17] that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth. - Isaiah 28:21-22

AND

Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. - Isaiah 31:6

AND

Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts. For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.
- Jeremiah 2:19-20

AND

Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee. - Jeremiah 7:27

AND

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. - Jeremiah 17:7-8

Didn't the "Abomination of Desolation" Happen in 70AD?


And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
- Luke 21:20-21

Many people, especially amillennialists, teach that the events described in this study took place in 70 AD, when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem. They first surrounded Jerusalem in 69 AD, and then retreated for a short season, only to return the next year. The historian Josephus, hinted that the Christians who were in Jerusalem thought that the prophecies of Luke were being fulfilled, and fled during the Romans' brief absence. Because of their obedience, they avoided drinking from the cup of God’s wrath when Jerusalem was completely destroyed.

One assumption (mistake) that amillennialists make is that they believe the event mentioned in Luke 21 is the same event that is mentioned in Matthew 24. However, a comparison of these two passages will show that Jesus was speaking of two different times: the Roman invasion in Luke, and end of the world in Matthew. Let's look at some of the differences:

The End of the World

Matthew 24:3: Tell us, when shall these things [the destruction of the temple] be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

Luke 21:7: Master, but when shall these things [the destruction of the temple] be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?

Matthew: the disciples asked about the destruction of the temple, Jesus' second coming and the end of the world.

Luke: the disciples did not ask about the end of the world or Jesus' second coming. They asked only about the temple.

In Matthew, Jesus answered questions about the end of the age; in Luke, Jesus warned the saints about the destruction of Jerusalem, which happened in 70 AD.


The Gospel is Preached to all Nations

Matthew 24:14: And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Matthew: Jesus said the Gospel would be preached to all nations.

Luke: There is no mention of this prophesy.

It makes sense that this verse is missing from Luke since the gospel was not preached to all nations before the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.


The Abomination of Desolation

Matthew 24:15: 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:)

Luke 21:20: And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.

Matthew: Jesus said, when you see the abomination of desolation.

Luke: Jesus said, when you see Jerusalem compassed with armies.

In the twelveth year of Nero, a Roman general named Cestius surrounded Jerusalem. According to Josephus (Wars of the Jews, bk2 ch19) after a time he unexpetedly left off his siege. This, was the sign Jesus gave to the Jews to get out Judea. Then in 70 AD Vespasian sent his son Titus back to Jerusalem to finish the job. After the Romans entered the city they defiled the temple, but by the time they entered the city it was too late to escape. All the Jews that were in Jerusalem came to a terrible end. Therefore, the advice Jesus gave in Matthew’s account was not for 70 AD.


Do Not Take Anything out of the House

Matthew 24:17-18: 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.

Matthew: Jesus commands to leave our personal belongings behind.

Luke: Jesus did not forbid them from taking personal belongings.

It will be essential for those in Israel, at the end of the age, to obey this command. However, this was not so after Cestius retreat from Jerusalem. Those in Jerusalem had months to escape out of Israel. It was wise not to dawdle, but it would have made sense to take along some provisions for the way. It appears that Jesus did not give the command to not come down to take anything out of his house after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.


They Shall be Led Away Captive Into all Nations

Luke 21:24: 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.

Matthew: There is no mention of being led captive.

Luke: Jesus warns that those who remain in Jerusalem will be lead away captive.

History has sadly documented that the prophecy in Luke was accurately fulfilled. However, during the Great Tribulation, the Jews will not be led away captive into other nations.

While these two accounts refer to separate events, they also have a lot of similarities. In fact, because Luke's account goes on, at verse twenty five, to address the end of the age it is still essential for us to study today.

Should Christians bring children into the World?


And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
- Matthew 24:19

The question of bringing children into an uncertain world has been discussed by Christians for years. Jesus warned about having children in those days, so many wonder if it is okay to have children now. However, if we read Jesus' warning in context, He was speaking about the time of the Abomination of Desolation. To heed this warning, Christians should stop having children at the beginning of the Great Tribulation - When the antichrist makes a covenant with Israel. If we do this, our wives will not be with child or nursing babies when the Abomination of Desolation happens.

I propose that before the Tribulation, unless God convicts you otherwise, Christians should continue to raise up Godly children.

Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
- Psalms 127:3

Written by Jeff Barnes.


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My Prayer:

Dear Lord,
Where I interpreted scripture right, reveal it to my readers.
If I interpreted any scripture wrong, reveal that to my readers also.

 

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A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah. Great is the LORD, and greatly to
be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.
Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the
sides of the north, the city of the great King.
God is known in her palaces for a refuge.
For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.
They saw it, and so they marveled; they were troubled, and hasted away.
Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail
Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.
As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the
city of our God: God will establish it forever. Selah.
- Psalms 48:1-8