Reading the leaves on the fig tree
Considering the animosity and violence currently being perpetrated in the Middle East, it seems appropriate to review several items of relevant Biblical prophecy.
We’ll begin with the first ‘horseman’ of the apocalypse. The following will take place to usher in Daniel’s 70th week of years.
“And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.” Revelation 6:2
Note the ‘horseman’ will have a bow but no arrows. The white horse represents peace as does the absence of arrows. Note also that a crown representing the rider’s royal rule was ‘given to him.’ Such is all done to fulfill the word of our sovereign and almighty God.
In the not too distant future, a much anticipated peace will be negotiated by the anti-Christ between Israel and the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s beast which is the final seventh kingdom.
However, the negotiated peace is short-lived. In fact it will only last for 3 ½ years at which time the second ‘horseman’ will appear.
“Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.” Revelation 6:4
The riders on the two horses are metaphorically the same.
The color of the second horse depicts bloody warfare. Note again the sovereignty of God, i.e. ‘it was granted’ and ‘there was given to him.’ God grants to the anti-Christ the ability to engage in warfare marked by tremendous slaughter.
The ‘great sword’ does not mean that the weapon is a large sword, but rather the sword will cause great havoc. The sword itself is from the Greek machaira which is defined as a slaughter-knife used for cutting. Sound familiar?
The preceding prophecy was penned by John in approximately 95AD. About 50 years earlier the Apostle Matthew recorded Jesus’ words relative to the second horseman.
“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” Matthew 24:15
The Greek for ‘abomination’ basically means lawless, or the total disregard for God’s word. It is transgression against God’s revealed standard. Likewise, desolation is defined as destruction or demolition.
“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.” Matthew 24:21
Jesus was affirming the writings of the Prophet Daniel which were penned approximately a half millennium before He (Jesus) was born.
After Daniel returned from the 70 year captivity in Babylon which ended in 538BC, the angel Gabriel revealed God’s plan for Israel’s future. The plan included the following:
“…then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week (a week of years, i.e. seven years); but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate…” Daniel 9:26-27
As previously noted, the anti-Christ will negotiate a seven year treaty between Israel and her enemies. One aspect of this treaty will allow Israel to worship in their temple as they please. After 3 ½ years the anti-Christ will desecrate the temple and put an end to Jewish worship. The Jews will suffer greatly at that time until Christ returns to set things straight.
Shortly after the above prophecy, Daniel reveals a detailed example that will occur foreshadowing that of which both Jesus and John spoke.
“At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south (Egypt)…but ships…shall come against him; therefore, he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant; and do damage.” Daniel 11:29-30
‘He’ in the above is the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes who had been at odds with Egypt for years. He is driven from Egypt and takes his rage out on the Israelites.
See next week as the leaves of the fig tree begin to form.
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