Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, January 2, 2022
A Conversation with Yeshua – When Will He Return? (Part 7) by Dr. Raymond Finney
INTRODUCTION: I continue our study of Yeshua’s Olivet Discourse. Previously, I discussed (and resume today) Yeshua’s warning that many of His followers would become apostate and apathetic and would be driven from true faith.
APOSTASY AND APATHY (A&A): Recapping the earlier RR, Yeshua described two features characterizing the Community of Believers (Church) in the last days– apostasy and apathy. I combine the two related conditions by the abbreviation A&A.
● Apostasy: “Apostasy” comes from the B’rit Chadashah Greek ἀποστασία (apostasia). Apostasy combines apo- (away from) and -stasia (to stand). Literally translated, apostasy is “a standing away [from faith],” “a movement away [from faith],” or “deception, revolt, renunciation, neglect, abandonment [of faith].”
● Apathy: Apathy is a closely related term. “Apathy” comes from the Greek ἀπαθεια (apatheia). Apathy combines a- (no) and -pathy (feeling). Apathy is literally translated “without suffering, feeling, or sensation.”
DETOUR: I deviate from a verse-by-verse discussion of Yeshua’s Olivet Discourse to discuss a few things about the Tribulation. In the B’rit Chadashah text, “tribulation” translates the Greek θλῖψις (thlipsis), which literally means “pressure, affliction, anguish, burden, persecution, tribulation, trouble.”
The Tribulation will last seven prophetic years (7 x 360 = 2,520 days). Scholars quote different Bible passages to opine whether Believers will face none, half, or all of the seven-year Tribulation before Yeshua’s Second Coming. (Rabbi Michael believes 30%) Even if you, a Believer, escape the Tribulation (by death or rapture), you should appreciate the changes now occurring which are leading to the Tribulation.
Remember that Yeshua told us the end will come like a woman’s labor pains (read Matthew 24:8, Mark 13:8). At first, labor pains are mild and widely spaced. By the time of delivery, though, the pains are intense and closely spaced. I believe the chaos we are now experiencing throughout the world are “labor pains” of the last days. The closer we approach the Antichrist’s appearance and the Resurrection-Rapture, the more these “labor pains” will be felt. In other words, expect world conditions to worsen, not to improve.
A woman does not experience pregnancy free of labor pains. That is, she does not magically hold her newborn baby without hours of work and pain. The world must go through painful “labor” before the Tribulation. One of these “labor pains” is preparation for a worldwide kingdom ruled by totally evil beings. These evil beings will make Adolf Hitler and his Nazi thugs seem like kindergarten children on a playground. The Bible tells us that the Tribulation will be the most evil time in all of the world’s history (Matthew 24:21-22): [Yeshua said] “For then there will be great trouble, such as has not happened since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. And unless those days were cut short, no one would be delivered. But for the sake of the chosen, those days will be cut short.”
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In this passage, the Tree of Life Version translators chose the phrase “great trouble,” but the text shows the translated word to be θλῖψις (thlipsis = tribulation). Compare this passage with Daniel 12:1, Jeremiah 30:7, and Joel 2:1-2.
THE UNHOLY TRINITY: We worship the Holy Trinity– God the Father (Adonai), the Son (Yeshua HaMashiach), and the Holy Spirit (ha-Kodesh). The Tribulation rulers will form the Unholy Trinity, which will be composed of:
● Satan, who will attempt to replace Adonai;
● The Antichrist (Anti-messiah), who will attempt to replace Yeshua; and
● The False Prophet, who will attempt to replace ha-Kodesh.
SATAN: Following Satan’s expulsion from Heaven, he has been and is God’s enemy. The angels who fell with him– earthly demons– have tried and are trying to defeat God’s plans and God’s people. This battle between the good of God and the evil of Satan will intensify as Satan’s time grows short. Satan’s evil will become especially intense and wicked during the Tribulation.
THE ANTICHRIST: “Antichrist” appears only four times in the B’rit Chadashah– 1 John 2:18, 2:22, 4:3; and 1 John 1:7. This compound word– ἀντίχριστος (antichristos) – combines two Greek words– anti- (“opposite, in place of, opposed to”) and -Christos (the Christ, the Greek equivalent of Mashiach [the Messiah] = “the Anointed One [of God]).” The Tree of Life Version translators chose a more Hebraic title– anti-messiah– but this title combines two languages (Greek + Hebrew), which may cause language purists to wince a little, whereas Antichrist combines two Greek words, and is a good transliteration of the Greek text.
This evil man, a major force of the Tribulation, is foretold throughout the Bible, but Bible authors use different titles. Grant Jeffrey compiled a list of these titles (modified to comport with the Tree of Life Version), which follows (with a representative Scriptural citation):
… Serpent’s (Satan’s) seed (Genesis 3:15);
… King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:4);
… Prince of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:2-19);
… Another horn, a small one (Daniel 7:8);
… Stern-faced king, master of intrigue (Daniel 8:23-25);
… Prince who is to come (Daniel 9:26);
… Ungodly king (Daniel 11:36);
… The Assyrian (Isaiah 10:24);
… The destroyer (Isaiah 16:4);
… Worthless shepherd (Zechariah 11:16-17);
… One who comes in his own name (John 5:43);
… Man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:3);
… One destined to be destroyed (2 Thessalonians 2:3);
… Anti-messiah, or, more correctly from transliterated Greek, Antichrist (1 John 2:18);
… Beast who arises from the Abyss (Revelation 11:7); and
… Beast rising out of the sea (Revelation 13:1-10).
The Unholy Trinity will attempt to establish an earthly kingdom to thwart Yeshua’s return and to establish His Millennial Kingdom. All plans of Satan through the Antichrist and False Prophet will be evil counterfeits of God’s plans. In Satan’s kingdom, which is a counterfeit and evil imitation of God’s Kingdom in Heaven, Satan will rule through the Unholy Trinity.
The Antichrist will usher in the Tribulation as (or, be revealed by) the First Seal Judgment (read Revelation 6:1-2). He is depicted as the rider on the white horse– a mocking mimicry of Yeshua, who is depicted as mounted on a white horse prior to His Second Coming (read Revelation 19:11-16). This rider on the white horse (the Antichrist) will be a man of false peace (he holds a bow but has no arrows), but, as Satan’s disciple, he will hate mankind and will wage war against all nations.
The Antichrist will come to world prominence when he affirms a false peace pact between Israel and her Middle Eastern enemies. This peace pact will be short-lived, and worldwide wars will follow. The Antichrist will march into Israel and defile the Third Jewish Temple (yet to be built), just as Antiochus IV Epiphanes defiled the Second Jewish Temple in 167 BC. The influence of the Antichrist will be widespread throughout the world, as he will work effectively to establish a one-world (global) government, a one-world cashless financial system, and a one-world sham religion. Not all of the world will follow him, though.
THE FALSE PROPHET: Even though the Antichrist will likely only worship Satan, he will realize that there is something within most people that draws them to belief in a higher power than themselves– a god. The Antichrist will partner with a religious figure, called in the Bible “the False Prophet.” This “prophet” will establish a worldwide religion during the Tribulation. The religion will worship Satan and the Antichrist as gods, will abolish officially all other religions (including Judaism and Christianity), and will set up the most effective financial system ever devised. In reality, this financial system will be a spy and surveillance system.
The False Prophet is described in Revelation 13:11-18, where he is called “the beast out of the earth.”
Symbolically, the False Prophet will have two horns like a lamb but will speak like a dragon. Yeshua is depicted throughout the B’rit Chadashah as a (Passover) Lamb. Satan is depicted as a snake or dragon. The False Prophet will have some connection with Christianity, but he is a false Believer/ Christian (lambs do not have horns). He will speak as a dragon (represented as a serpent or dragon). Therefore, the False Prophet will not quote the truth of the Word of God, but will speak the lies of Satan.
SIDELIGHT 1: Of interest, a twelfth century Roman Catholic Church (RCC) cleric, the Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, now called St. Malachy, uttered prophecies of all popes who would follow his time until Yeshua’s return. He prophesied the last pope, who would be the present Pope Francis in Malachy’s numbering sequence, and wno would be code-named Petrus Romanus (“Peter of Rome”). This pope would lead the RCC during times of tribulation, when Rome is destroyed and Yeshua returns. I do not present Malachy’s vision as being equal to Bible prophecies. Many in the RCC believe this prophecy, however, and you may find it interesting enough to do more reading. END sidelight 1.
SIDELIGHT 2: One act of the False Prophet has drawn considerable interest (Revelation 13:16-18): He also causes all– the small and the great, the rich and the poor, the free and the slave– to receive a mark on their right hand or upon their forehead. And so no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark– either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number of a man, and his number is 666.
What is this mark? “Mark” translates the Greek χάραγμα (transliterated charagma, pronounced, KHAR-ag-mah). Charagma (“mark”) has been used to denote ”stamp, brand (as in horses), or stamp (as badge of servitude).”
The Bible is somewhat vague on what this “mark” actually is. Many scholars suggest it is a microchip, an electronic device now about the size of a rice grain (but being made smaller), which can be inserted under the skin through a trocar (a large bore needle). Images of this device may be seen at: implantble microchip at DuckDuckGo . This microchip was introduced as VeriChip many years ago,and is widely used in animals for identification purposes. Such chips could be programmed with unique serial numbers for all persons and could transmit data to overhead communications satellites. All personal financial activities could be conducted with a rapid scan (swipe) of the hand or forehead. More importantly for the Antichrist, the marked person could be located within a one-yard radius any place in the world.
The False Prophet’s religion will be promotion of the Antichrist and Satan, and he will accomplish this promotion through “great and miraculous signs.” A skilled magician can easily fool his audience. Equipped with modern technology, these “miracles” will be even more impressive.
The False Prophet will deceive many of the world’s inhabitants. As Judeo-Christian faith weakens, apostate Jews and Believers/ Christians will be more easily fooled.
The False Prophet will set up the “abomination that causes desolation,” mimicking Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ desolation. The Antichrist’s act will be so obscene that the devout will reuse to worship in their once-holy, but now defiled, Temple.
The False Prophet will force every person in the Antichrist’s “kingdom” to receive the “mark of the Beast” on the right hand or forehead. This “mark” will be required for all commercial transactions and for identification. Without the “mark,” a person and his/ her family will starve. The “mark” will probably be very popular:
□ For the general population, money, checks, debit/ credit cards will be eliminated. A purchase will be made merely by swiping the hand across a reader and the amount of the purchase will be deducted from the purchaser’s account.
□ For the Unholy Trinity, the “mark” will keep the wearer under constant surveillance. He/ she can be located within a one-yard radius, using current technology. If the Antichrist should desire to arrest any person, that person can be immediately and precisely located by the Antichrist’s troops through the “mark.”
NOTE: Implantable microchips, global-positioning satellites, and high-speed computers represent existing technology. VeriChip and probably other implantable microchips can be purchased now. This “mark” can be installed now. Lack of political will is the only thing preventing implementation of the “mark” at the present time, and an all-powerful, dictatorial Antichrist will provide that political will at a future date.
The number of the Beast is 666. There has been much speculation about the meaning of 666. In Jewish numerology, 7 is the number of perfection (God), and 6 is the number of imperfection (man). Does 666 indicate a trinity of imperfect man, as opposed to 777, a trinity of perfect God (the Holy Trinity)? No one knows. There may be another interpretation, which will become apparent during the Tribulation. It could be that the Antichrist will call his system something like “Plan 666” to mock the Bible’s prophecy of the number of the Antichrist as “666.”
KEEP WATCH: God has warned us through His prophets of coming events. Keep watch. Prepare yourself and your family. Warn others. Anyone who accepts the mark of the beast forfeits his/ her soul (Revelation 14:9-11): And another angel, a third one, followed them, saying in a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he shall also drink the wine of God’s fury, poured full strength into the cup of His wrath. And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone before the holy angels and before the Lamb. The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. Those who worship the beast and its image and those who receive the mark of his name have no rest day or night.” Consider also:
Is the Unholy Trinity alive today? Satan has existed since creation, and has tempted all generations with evil. I believe the Antichrist and the False Prophet may also be alive today. They probably have made a pact with Satan. They will remain quiet about their intentions until it is time for them to be revealed. They will, then, “explode” on the world stage and their evil intentions will soon become all too apparent.
I personally suspect, but cannot prove, that the War of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39) may provide the world chaos that will demand a stabilizing leader and a “peace” plan. At that moment, a charismatic Antichrist (who will have a regular name, not Antichrist) will step up, and the world will marvel at his plan. I suspect part of that plan may be a sharing between Muslims and Jews/ Believers of the Temple Mount.
The most recent archaeological and historical evidence has shown that the Jewish Third Temple will not need to be built on the site of the Dome of the Rock, as previously thought. There is room to leave the Muslims’ two mosques untouched and build the Third Jewish Temple a little distance away. John saw this Temple, but recorded a striking prophecy (Revelation 11:2): [John was told to measure the Temple of God and the altar] “But do not measure the court outside the Temple– leave it out, because it has been given to the nations, and they shall trample the holy city for forty-two months.”
Ezekiel outlined God’s plan for the Third Temple (to be built in our future). An important omission is lack of an outer court on the Temple’s southern wall (Ezekiel 40:19). Why would the outer (Gentile) court be omitted? Answer: This court would need to be built on the site of the present Dome of the Rock (requiring that building sacred to Muslims to be razed). God will tolerate the “nations” (specifically, Muslims) trampling on His holy city for the first half of the Tribulation.
Islam, Judaism, and Christianity will be satisfied. The Muslims will have their mosques. The Jews and Believers will have their Temple. The Temple Mount will be shared by three important religions. The world will marvel that their wonderful Antichrist has solved centuries-old turmoil. What a guy! But, the world has only seen the false-peace side of the Antichrist. The war side is ready to erupt.
There is speculation about the country of origin of the Antichrist, based on interpretation of different Scriptures. Some scholars believe he will arise from the European Union (revived Roman Empire), but other scholars believe he will arise from an Islamic nation. No one knows. God will likely keep His plans unknown to us until it is time to reveal the Unholy Trinity.
What are some of the “birth pains” that may usher in the Unholy Trinity? There are many persons with “the antichrist spirit” today. Yeshua’s first warning in the Olivet Discourse was to avoid false messiahs (read Matthew 24:4-5; Mark 13:5-6; Luke 21:8). I discussed this warning in an earlier RR. The Antichrist will be one man totally committed to building a kingdom for his god, Satan, and for killing as many of God’s people, Jews and Believers/ Christians, as possible. For the Antichrist’s kingdom to rise, all competing governments must weaken or collapse. The governments of the United States and other Western nations must fall, because anything resembling a democratic republic is incompatible with the totalitarian dictatorship of the Antichrist.
Understand the implications of anything labeled “one-world” or “global.” When power and decision-making can be consolidated into one body, it will be easier for the Unholy Trinity to control and use that body. Specifically, watch for the following:
● One-world government: The main force in the Tribulation will be the one-world government of the Antichrist. There are efforts to merge laws of sovereign nations with the United Nations (UN). The United Nations by design and practice is a godless organization. Political maneuvering has caused the UN to become pro-Islamic and anti-Israeli in actions. Will the Antichrist merge with or take over the UN into his Tribulation government?
● One-world economy: The economies of many nations are on the verge of insolvency. If your bank account resembled the United States’ balance sheet, would you consider yourself insolvent? During the Tribulation, the world’s economies will be controlled by the mark of the Beast. WARNING: I have previously mentioned this, but it is so important I repeat the warning. Do not accept the mark of the Beast. To do so (which may also involve pledging allegiance to the Antichrist as god?) will result in consigning your soul to Hell (among other Scriptures, Revelation 14:9-11): And another angel, a third one, followed them, saying in a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he shall also drink the wine of God’s fury, poured full strength into the cup of His wrath. And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone before the holy angels and before the Lamb. The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. Those who worship the beast and its image and those who receive the mark of his name have no rest day or night.” ● One-world religion: There is a move in Christendom to merge denominations under various appeals for unity (ecumenism, Chrislam, and so forth). We owe allegiance only to God in Three Persons, as taught in the Bible. Although we may cooperate with fellow Believers when appropriate, we must never water down our message in the spirit of ecumenism. Our guide must be God’s Word, as written in the Bible. We must look to the Bible, not man’s words, as written in creeds, catechisms, or other statements of faith (if man’s words contradict God’s Word). Shalom and Maranatha.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sun 02-Jan-2022 29th of Tevet, 5782
Ex 10:1-11 2 Sa 16 Ps 83 Lk 10 (Eph 5:1-17)