Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, March 6, 2022
Shavuah Tov,

A Conversation with Yeshua – When Will He Return? (Part 15)
by Dr. Raymond Finney

SECOND OF THREE-PART DETOUR: For the RRs for three Sundays, I detour from the text of Yeshua’s Olivet Discourse (as presented in Matthew, chapter 24) in order to discuss certain major Tribulation events. Since the Tribulation will be an immensely complicated period, I would need to spend the rest of 2022 to discuss just some of its features. I will not attempt such a marathon endeavor.

INTRODUCTION: Recall that the Apostle John was persecuted by the Roman Empire. This Beloved Disciple, as a man in his nineties, was imprisoned on the bleak prison island of Patmos, off of the coast of Roman Asia (present-day Turkey). John’s writing– The Revelation– provides one of the clearest pictures of our future– a future we are seeing fulfilled at the present time. God’s Word, as revealed by His prophets, is true!

Chapters 6 through 18 of The Revelation discuss the most horrible time in the history of mankind– the Tribulation. This time will be “the perfect storm” of twenty-one judgments from God, the rule of the Unholy Trinity (which opposes and tries to defeat the Holy Trinity), absence of the restraining power of the Ruach ha-Kodesh (allowing  evil to flourish), and the evil of men and women who turn against their neighbors.

Yeshua’s Olivet Discourse (Matthew, chapter 24; Mark, chapter 13; and Luke, chapter 21) warns of some of the events that we can expect. Some televangelists claim we are presently living under some Tribulation judgments. These televangelists usually sell  “special offers” to help us survive the judgments. I believe John generally wrote about our future in something of a chronological order, although there is some skipping around in his narrative. If so, the first judgment (first Seal Judgment) will be the appearance of and global acceptance of an evil man, whom we commonly call the Antichrist, as an acclaimed world leader. Since we do not know who this man is and the peace plan he promotes, the seven years of the Tribulation have not commenced.

In today’s and next Sunday’s RRs, I wish to discuss a few major events and personalities of the Tribulation.

SOME TRIBULATION PLAYERS: The Apostle John often wrote cryptically in describing major personalities of The Revelation. Allow me to clarify a few of these players in today’s and next Sunday’s RRs:

● UNHOLY TRINITY: The Unholy Trinity will compete with the Holy Trinity (Adonai, Yeshua, Ruach ha-Kodesh). The Unholy Trinity is composed of three extremely evil persons or beings– Satan, the Antichrist (anti-messiah), and the False Prophet:

● Satan, a counterfeit wannabe replacement, will attempt to replace God the Father (Adonai). (See Isaiah 14:13-14, etc.) Satan was introduced to us in the early chapters of Genesis. He surely needs no additional introduction.

● The Antichrist, a counterfeit wannabe replacement, will attempt to replace Yeshua. (See Revelation 13:2, etc.) He has had several titles in the Bible, being called “Antichrist” only in 1 John 2:18 and 2:22. A description of this evil man is given in Revelation 13:1-9, where he is called “The Beast Out of the Sea.” Why? This designation originated in Daniel, chapter 7. Daniel described four beasts arising out of the sea. These beasts represented four empires– Babylon (first beast, Daniel 7:4); Persia (second beast, Daniel 7:5); and Greece (third beast, Daniel 7:6).

The fourth beast from the sea envisioned by Daniel is the Antichrist (Daniel 7:19-26): Daniel said: “Then I [Daniel] wanted to know the true meaning of the fourth beast that was different from all the others, exceedingly terrifying with iron teeth and bronze claws, which broke in pieces and devoured and then stomped with its feet anything that remained. Of the ten horns on its head, the other horn that sprang up before which three others fell– that horn eyes and a mouth speaking arrogant things, and its appearance was more imposing than its companions. As I was watching, that horn was waging war against the kedoshim and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was rendered in favor of the kedoshim of the Most High– when the time came and the kedoshim possessed the kingdom. Thus he [a heavenly being] explained: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on earth that will be different from all the other kingdoms. It will devour the whole earth, and trample it and crush it. As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise. Another will arise after them, but he will be different from the previous ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak words against the Most High, and will continually harass the kedoshim of the Most High, and will try to change the appointed times and law. The kedoshim will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time [three and one-half years]. But the court will sit and he will be stripped of his power to be destroyed and abolished for all time.’” [Translation: kedoshim = “holy ones; consecrated, set-apart persons; saints.”]

That this beast comes from “the sea” is significant. “The sea” prophetically symbolizes multitudes of people, especially Gentiles. The Antichrist will be remarkably popular– “a man of the people.” He apparently will be a most charismatic politician, supported by most nations’ governments and the media. Of course, the only sea known to Jews at this time was the Mediterranean Sea. Some have suggested the Antichrist will come from a Mediterranean nation. Such an interpretation is supported by other Scriptures.

Why does John call these Revelation 13 men “beasts?” “Beast” translates the Greek θηρίον (transliterated, thērion || pronounced, thay-REE-on || translated, “an especially brutal, ferocious, savage animal”).

This evil man is called THE “Antichrist” in only two Bible verses– 1 John 2:18 and 2:22. The antichrist SPIRIT is common among many people– in the past, now, and in the future– and is discussed in more Scriptures. “The Antichrist” is also referred to by several other names in Scriptures. Grant Jeffrey suggested that the Antichrist may be referenced by other names, including: Satan’s Seed, King of Babylon, Ruler of Tyrus, the Little Horn, a Stern-faced King, the Prince that Shall Come, the Willful King, the Assyrian, the Worthless Shepherd, the Destroyer and the Oppressor, the Lawless One, the Man of Lawlessness, the Man Doomed to Destruction, the First Beast, and the One Who Comes in His Own Name.

Concerning the name Antichrist: the prefix “Anti-” indicates either “against” or “in place of.” The root “Christ” is the Greek title (Christos) of Yeshua (instead of the Hebrew Mashiach, or Messiah). Both “Christ” and “Messiah” denote “Anointed One [of God].”

NOTE: Both the Hebrew or Greek designations for Yeshua (“Messiah” or “Christ”) are titles for Yeshua. Neither “Messiah” nor “Christ” is Yeshua’s surname. In the original text, these titles are preceded by articles– Hebrew Ha or Greek Ho– both of which translate to the English “The.” Yeshua should be called either THE Messiah or THE Christ, never just Jesus Christ. Omission of the article (“The”) is improper. END Note.

Britt Gillette’s recent article, “Setting the Stage for a Global Dictator,” at http://www.end-times-bible-prophecy.com/setting-the-stage-for-a-global-dictator.html , may be of interest.

Notice characteristics of the Antichrist:

□ He has ten horns, with ten crowns, and seven heads (Revelation 13:1) – similar to the toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s metal statue dream and Daniel’s vision of beasts rising from the sea (Daniel 2:41-42 and much of Daniel, chapter 7). This feature has been suggested as indicating this Beast arises out of the revived Roman Empire (the European Union). A horn represents a kingdom in prophecy, and a crown on a horn indicates rulership of that kingdom. The crowns on this Beast indicate that he has usurped the political power of multiple legitimate political leaders.

□ He has features of a leopard, bear, and slain (but revived) man (Revelation 13:2ff). Compare with Daniel 7:4-8 (which is a recap of Daniel, chapter 2). These beasts, seen by Daniel and John, indicate a progression of some empires which affected in the past or will affect in the future God’s people. In Daniel’s vision, the beasts were predatory and violent:

… The lion with wings of an eagle represented Babylon.

… The bear represented the Medo-Persian Empire, and the ribs in its mouth represented the three nations the Medo-Persians conquered– Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt.

… The leopard with four wings represented the Grecian Empire, under rule of Alexander the Great. Alexander was famous for his lightning fast (winged, leopard-like) conquest of neighboring countries. In World War II, the Nazis employed this warfare tactic (blitzkrieg = “lightning war”) to great advantage.

… The fourth beast represented the Roman Empire. This beast had no unique  characteristics, except for its violence. The Roman Empire copied other empires’ art, religion, and culture, without establishing a unique identity, but was superb in the art and science of war. Ten horns (kingdoms) arose from this beast– interpreted as today’s  Revived Roman Empire, or the present European Union. Compare this feature with the toes on Nebuchadnezzar’s metal statue dream (Daniel, chapter 2). From one horn arose “a little horn” (Daniel 7:8), interpreted as the future Antichrist’s government.

… My apology: I have too hurriedly tried to cover these important visions. After I can extract myself from the Olivet Discourse, I hope to discuss the visions of Daniel and John in more detail. The accuracy and relevancy of these visions can come only from God. In these visions, our future is foretold. Are you baffled by omissions in these visions? For example, why did God not warn of the Third Reich and the Nazi slaughter of six-million Jews? I have a theory, but I need to think more about my theory before I post it. Do you have any ideas?

□ He will be slain (or, will appear to be slain) by a head wound (Revelation 13:3). Will this wound be a literal assassination, or a figurative political setback? Will he die, or just appear to die? If he actually dies, will he appear to live through the “magic” of Satan and the False Prophet? John leaves us with questions we wish had been answered. Notice this parallel, though: Yeshua died, but was resurrected. The Antichrist will appear to die, but will appear to be resurrected. The Antichrist will attempt to mimic Yeshua in as many ways as possible. Whether the Antichrist’s resurrection is real or staged, the world will marvel after this man (Revelation 13:4).

□ The Antichrist will boast against and blaspheme the Holy Trinity, including Adonai Himself, and all Believers (Revelation 13:5-6).

□ He will wage war against the Kedoshim, or Believers (Revelation 13:7-10). Notice John’s statement concerning this global war against God’s people (Revelation 13:7a): He was also permitted to make war against the kedoshim and overcome them,….

Why would Adonai (superior in every way) permit Satan to wage war against the kedoshim? John hints at the reason in following verses (Revelation 13:8, 10c): All who dwell on the earth shall worship him– everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the Book of Life of the Lamb who was slain. |…| … Here is the perseverance and faith of the kedoshim.

John repeatedly quoted Yeshua to inform us that only overcomers may enter Heaven. The gates of Heaven (New Jerusalem) are made of pearls. A pearl is produced by an oyster overcoming a foreign irritant inside its shell, just as sin should be foreign to a Believer. A Believer (an Overcomer) will walk into Heaven through a pearly gate.

In each of Yeshua’s letters to the seven congregations– Revelation, chapters 2 and 3– He warned that only “overcomers” will enter Heaven. “Overcomer” comes from a Greek word, meaning “conqueror, victor, one who subdues.” Only by defeating Satan (through forgiveness of sin provided by Yeshua’s sacrificial death) and having his/ her name entered into the Lamb’s Book of Life– may a person be admitted to Heaven.

Different generations have faced different challenges that must be overcome. A great challenge of the Tribulation will be to overcome the Antichrist’s persecution and martyrdom of Believers. This generation’s challenges will be extreme. But, the greater the challenge that is overcome, the greater the reward.

Yeshua’s first-century invitation to be His disciple and follow Him is still relevant today and during the Tribulation (Matthew 16:24): Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” Many, many Believers will be called upon to “take up their crosses” and will be executed by the Antichrist.

● The False Prophet, a counterfeit wannabe replacement, will attempt to replace the Ruach ha-Kodesh. (See Revelation 13:11, etc.) A description of this evil man is given in Revelation 13:11-18, where he is called “The Beast Out of the Earth.” What does “out of the earth” signify? Some suggest he is thought to be resurrected from death (arising out of an earthly grave), but this is not convincing. Some suggest the Antichrist and the False Prophet will claim to have been resurrected, “proving” that Satan can defeat death. These two impostors will compete with the Two Witnesses (next week’s RR) brought to life from a past life by Adonai. Do you think news reports are confusing now? News reports during the Tribulation will achieve the ultimate in propaganda.

Satan and the Antichrist will recognize that humans seek worship of a god. There is,  interestingly, a God gene hypothesis. This hypothesis holds that spirituality results from behavioral and genetic influences. The genetic influence is attributed to the “God gene”–  the vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) gene.

Of course, the God gene hypothesis is controversial and is denounced by many. I believe it is more Biblical to hold that a Believer is called to salvation (see, among other Scriptures, John 6:44): [Yeshua said] “No one can come to Me unless My Father who sent Me draws him– and I will raise him up on the last day.

The purpose of the False Prophet will be to create a religious system to worship Satan and the False Prophet, satisfying mankind’s inner need to worship a higher power, and to create programs to control the Antichrist’s subjects.

Notice characteristics of the False Prophet:

□ He symbolically has two horns like a lamb and speaks like a dragon (Revelation 13:11). John commonly referred to Yeshua as a Lamb (the Believers’ Passover Lamb, slain for the sins of the world). Is the False Prophet an apostate Believer/ Christian? Does he have recognized Christian credentials? Is he a false (apostate) Believer? (A lamb– a baby sheep– significantly does not have horns, and ewes all over the world are grateful. Ouch!)

While superficial attention would cause many to marvel at a beautiful, gentle lamb, more astute persons would notice the horns and realize this is not a true lamb– that is, a true Believer. When this man speaks, he does not speak as Yeshua would, but he speaks as a dragon. (A dragon is one of the symbols of Satan in Scriptures.)

□ As spiritual guide for the world, he does not cause people to worship Adonai/ Yeshua– or, for that matter, Allah or any other existing god. Rather, he causes people to worship the First Beast, which is the Antichrist (Revelation 13:12).

□ He performs magic or employs special effects, probably aided by Satan, to mystify people (Revelation 13:13). A talented magician can fool most people (including me) to cause something to appear real, even though the audience knows it is not real.

□ His greatest accomplishment may be to cause the Antichrist to live (or seem to live), even though he has suffered what should be a fatal “head wound” (Revelation 13:14). He creates a speaking “image” of the Antichrist to address the people, and all must worship the Beast on pain of death (Revelation 13:15). Even now, Disney and others have created animatronic robots or puppets which seem lifelike, especially from a distance.

□ He will initiate his most famous action. He will create “the mark of the Beast” (Revelation 13:16-18), which every citizen must have inserted in his/ her right hand (or, forehead, if the hand is missing). Almost all persons have heard of this “mark.” Let us explore the original Greek text to see if we can better understand this “mark.”

“Mark” translates χάραγμα (transliterated, charagma || pronounced, KHAR-ag-mah || translated, “stamp, brand (as in horses), badge of servitude;” also, as in Acts 17:29, “carved image, graven image”). John was vague in describing this “mark.” Students of prophecy suggest this “mark” may represent an implantable microchip (RFID chip). A microchip is an integrated circuit microprocessor– a tiny electronic device which can carry out preprogrammed electronic functions.

Even at this moment, implantable microchips are commercially available. They are implanted in animals to prove ownership in case of theft or roaming away. Do-it-yourself at-home generic chips only cost a few dollars.

A veterinarian may scan a “chipped” lost animal and instantly learn the animal’s name and owner. Some rich people (royalty, etc.) have also been “chipped” as insurance against kidnapping or assassination. With technology now available, every person in the Antichrist’s world could receive a microchip, inserted by a trocar (a large-gauge needle) in the right hand (probably in what is nicknamed “the anatomical snuffbox”) or in the forehead (for right arm amputees). The device is presently the size of a grain of rice, but is being miniaturized even more. It could be inserted in seconds and with about the same discomfort as that associated with a blood test. The microchip could be programmed with necessary identification data and instructions to transmit certain information to the Unholy Trinity’s spy center. Data about the surveilled citizen could stream continuously to ever-present receivers-transmitters.

□ “Right hand” and”forehead” (Revelation 13:16) are correctly translated. I will restrain myself from blabbering about the significance of the right hand and the forehead.

  • Why is the number “666” (Revelation 13:18) important? Satan knows more Scriptures than any member of this synagogue. He will have a reason to select this number. In Jewish gematria (numerology), the number 6 is the number of man, and the perfection of God is 7. In Believers’ numerology, the Holy Trinity is 3. A trinity of man is 666– 6, 6, and 6. Will this be Satan’s way of challenging God, “My trinity of man– 666– is facing off against your Trinity of God– 777?” Or, could the serial identification number of each citizen’s implanted microchip begin with 666, as a way of mocking Holy Scriptures? A citizen may be implanted with, say, chip 666-12345678, and he/ she may be dehumanized and known only by this number. (I have seen the Nazi concentration camp forearm tattoos of Jewish Holocaust prisoners, as probably have many of you in this congregation.) We will not know the true significance of 666 until the time of the Tribulation, but we can be assured that this number will have a sinister, boasting, mocking meaning.

Rabbi’s note:  Also, don’t miss that the sixth Hebrew letter (with a value of 6 is “Vav.”  In some dialects it is called a “Wow,” and is representative of the English letter “W.”  Where have we seen “WWW?”  World Wide Web, that’s right.  Be very careful how you use the Worldwide Web.  End RN.

The advantage of the “mark” to citizens is that they will no longer need to carry cash, checks, or credit/ debit cards. A central bank will record a person’s wealth. As he/ she purchases something (groceries, for example), the hand is swiped past a sensor, the charge is debited, and the visit is concluded. No cashiers will be required. Another advantage is that everything in society will be tied to the “mark.” A citizen can do nothing in society, unless he/ she is “marked.” Consider the dilemma for the Believer. He/ she knows from the Bible that his/ her soul is damned to Hell, if he/ she accepts the “mark,” but his/ her children are crying pitifully for food (which cannot be purchased without the “mark”). Children crying for food, when there is no food in the home, can be a powerful incentive for a parent.

The advantage of the “mark” to the Unholy Trinity is enormous. For the implanted microchip to work, it must emit radio waves (which present models do). Receivers in every nook and cranny of the Earth will detect these waves and transmit the information they carry to transmitters. (Think of cell ‘phone towers, which make mobile  ‘phone use possible throughout America.)

These data-carrying radio waves will be transmitted to overhead satellites, which will re-transmit the information to Earth. High-capacity computers on Earth can process and analyze citizens’ data in real time, storing the data for future use. The necessary components– implantable microchips + global satellites + high-capacity computers– are commercially available today. This “mark of the Beast” could be implemented now, if someone (the Beast) had the political will and military strength to order it. We really may be this close to the Tribulation!

The Unholy Trinity will be able to know at any moment where a citizen of interest is located within a one-yard radius (with existing technology); even where he/ she was at any given time in the past; and the person(s) with whom he/ she associated at a given time in the past. Privacy will no longer exist. The”mark” will be the ultimate spy tool. Any citizen running a foul of the Unholy Trinity can be immediately arrested.

What else are we told about this “mark?”

□ Anyone who accepts the “mark” and worships the Beast will taste Adonai’s fury and will be consigned eternally to Hell (Revelation 14:9-11; 15:2; 19:20; 20:4). If you learn only one thing from this RR, it should be: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER ACCEPT THE MARK OF THE BEAST! Die, rather than receive the mark. Is it not better to taste the first death (death of the body), rather than the second death (death of the soul)?

□ Even before death, the “mark” will cause terrible skin lesions (foreign body reaction?) in “marked” subjects (Revelation 16:2).

□ There must be something more to this “mark” than just being an improved credit/ debit card. I carry two credit cards, but I do not believe I will spend eternity in Hell  because I pay for gasoline at the pump with one of these cards. When discussing the “mark,” John dropped a phrase about worshiping the Beast. I suspect that a requirement for a citizen to receive the “mark” is that he/ she must declare loyalty to (worship of) Satan/ the Antichrist– and, possibly, renunciation of Adonai/ Yeshua. I suspect it may be the worship of Satan/ the Antichrist as gods– and denunciation of Adonai/ Yeshua as Gods– which is the soul-damning offense. Be wary, though, if you must endure the Tribulation. Die, rather than accept the Antichrist’s “mark.”

TO BE CONTINUED: This series on the Olivet Discourse has lasted longer than I intended, and I realize I am only scratching the surface. I will discuss next Sunday the Two Witnesses and the Bridegroom. Please join me, as we study God’s magnificent letter to us. There is a reason to study these things (Hosea 4:6): [Adonai said to Bnei-Yisrael] “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Since you rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being My kohen. Since you forgot the Torah of your God, just so I will forget your children.” Shalom and Maranatha.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sun 06-Mar-2022 3rd of Adar II, 5782 Rosh Chodesh Adar II
Le 1:1-13 2 Ki 24 Ps 139 Ac 7:1-29 (Rev 1)