Rider on the Red Horse
Takes Peace from the Earth
When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.”
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 6:3, 4)
The rider appearing on a red horse when the second seal of the scroll was broken had previously appeared on a white horse when the first seal was broken. And this man, at the time of his previous appearance, was seen presenting himself in a manner other than his true form.
This man, in this previous masquerading form, was seen gaining acceptance by and through his oratorical powers and intrigues (i.e., contextually, in the light of where this man could be seen carrying matters, using his oratorical powers to call attention to himself by about any and every dishonest and deceptive means known to man). He, by and through this means, was seen deceiving the masses, which would include “many” of those in the nation of Israel.
Then, inseparably connected with the preceding, the one thing that opens the door to and begins the entirety of revealed ensuing events is a covenant that the man who was seen riding forth on a white horse at the beginning makes with Israel. And, as revealed in Daniel 9:27, this covenant will apparently be made with “many,” not with all. This would show that the nation will possibly be divided concerning the matter, with at least part of the nation not going along with that which was being done (possibly seeing through this man’s masquerading, oratorical ways, as he further effects results by intrigues).
Nevertheless, though the entire nation may not be in agreement with the things being done in that day, a covenant will be made between this man and the nation of Israel. And beginning at this point (the time when the first seal of the scroll is broken), the ratifying of this covenant could only be the main key to properly understand this man’s rise to power as is seen at the beginning of the Tribulation, his actions toward the Jewish people during the Tribulation, and his eventual fall from power at the end of and following the Tribulation.
(The word, “covenant,” appears seven times in the book of Daniel [9:4, 27; 11:22, 28, 30 (twice), 32], and all except the first usage have to do with the covenant that this man will make with “many” in Israel.
Reference to this covenant forms the centerpiece of the events occurring during the last seven years of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy. And, as well, referring to these same events from a different perspective in Daniel chapter eleven, the same thing is seen in the actions of the man making the covenant with “many” in Israel [vv. 21ff].)
This man, appearing as a man of peace (Daniel 11:21, 24), will apparently possess the answers necessary to defuse the Middle East situation (at least seemingly, in man’s eyes, for only Christ’s return can effect true, lasting peace in the Middle East and the world at large). And, because of the place that Israel occupies in God’s economy, Israel must be recognized as the nation lying at the center of the entire matter (ref. Chapters 1-3 in this book).
A stable and secure situation surrounding Israel must exist first if peace of any type is to exist in the Middle East and the Gentile world at large. And the rider on the white horse, making the covenant with Israel, will evidently recognize and know at least that much about the overall matter.
This man, of necessity, will have to occupy a very prominent position in world affairs at the beginning of the Tribulation. He would have to occupy such a position in order to make a recognized covenant with those whom he will have deceived in Israel — one recognized by both Israel and other nations. And this could possibly be seen in an even greater respect since Israel, by going to this man rather than this man coming to Israel, will recognize the ability of this man to stand behind the terms of the covenant.
The fact that Israel will go to this man rather than he to them is plainly stated in Hosea 5:13, KJV):
When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound [both ‘Ephraim’ and ‘Judah’ used referring to Israel, existing in the state described in Isaiah 1:4-6], then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb [both ‘the Assyrian’ and ‘king Jareb’ used referring to the one making the covenant with Israel]: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.
Events Occurring Between Now and Then
Exactly how events in the world will transpire up to the time this covenant is made, leading into the conditions that will exist in the world at the time this covenant is made, cannot be known. That which has been revealed in Scripture pertaining to Israel and the nations begins at the time this covenant is made and continues from that point. Details pertaining to Middle East events of this nature occurring during modern times preceding the ratifying of this covenant are simply not dealt with in Scripture.
Things often happen fast in the Middle East; and things can change overnight, with a new day bringing about an entirely different set of circumstances, resulting in a person’s outlook on matters being quite different than he might have viewed them the preceding day. Thus, bide your time and let the Lord work these things out as He, in His sovereign control over all things, moves men and nations at will, as one might move pawns on a chess board.
But, though one can’t know exactly how events between Israel and the surrounding nations will transpire between now and the beginning of the Tribulation, one can see things evidently beginning to take shape in that part of the world — the increasing Anti-Semitism, the appearance of Anti-Israeli and Anti-Western powers such as Iran, ISIS, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, etc.
As well, in conjunction with the preceding, one can know that very little time is left in Man’s 6,000-year Day for God to bring about Middle East conditions necessary for a man to appear and make a covenant with Israel, particularly since Israel is seen going to this man rather than this man going to Israel (conditions that, of course, do not currently exist).
One can know that we are very near that coming day when these prophesied events will begin to occur. The present dispensation has almost run its course, we are fast running out of time, and only a few years at the very most could possibly still remain.
And, though a period of time will exist between the rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation, it could not possibly be that long.
(For information on where we can only be in relation to “time” left in the present dispensation, or during Man’s Day itself, refer to the author’s book, We Are Almost There.)
Thus, specifics about Middle East events pertaining to Israel and the nations that would show how the present turmoil will ultimately lead into the situation that will exist at the beginning of the Tribulation simply cannot be known. The present turmoil will, somehow, evolve into a situation where a strong leader (though not the world leader at that time) will appear with the seeming answer to Middle East peace — something that will have eluded all of his predecessors.
The Jewish people forming the Israeli nation in the Middle East (at least, “many” in the nation) will be deceived by this man’s overtures, go to him, and buy into that which he has to offer. And once this has occurred, Scripture picks up at this point and begins to clearly relate numerous things that will then transpire.
But, until that time arrives, there is no revelation to work with. And any conjecture on the part of individuals attempting to figure out Middle East events between now and the beginning of the Tribulation can only be just that — conjecture, which may or may not turn out to be correct at all.
(Note that certain events occurring between now and the beginning of the Tribulation are seen in the opening five chapters of the book of Revelation, but these are not events having to do with Israel and the nations in relation to the subject under discussion. These are events having to do with the removal of the Church, the judgment of the Church, and other events occurring in heaven prior to the beginning of the Tribulation on earth.
These are events previously dealt with in this book, in Chapter 4, pp. 21-27.)
The Mosaic Economy, the Temple Mount, the Temple
The covenant that the man about to appear will make with Israel will, of necessity, have to involve things in the Mosaic Economy, particularly those things having to do with the Temple Mount and the Temple itself. This can be clearly seen both from events that will transpire in Israel during the first half of the Tribulation and from the way this man will break the covenant.
The Jewish people, during the first half of the Tribulation (actually, as will be shown later in this chapter, at the beginning of the Tribulation) are going to gain access to the Temple Mount, rebuild their Temple, and reinstitute the Old Testament sacrificial system.
And, in the middle of the Tribulation, the man having previously made a covenant with Israel is going to break this covenant by stopping the previously instituted sacrifices occurring at the Temple. He is going to enter into and desecrate the Holy of Holies (the dwelling place of God among His people in the Old Testament theocracy), declare himself to be God, and subsequently destroy the Temple and the city of Jerusalem.
And he will then set his sights on efforts to destroy and do away with the Jewish people, not only in Israel but worldwide. As Hitler sought to produce a Jew-free Europe, this man will seek to produce a Jew-free world, seeking to destroy the Jewish people from off the face of the earth (cf. Esther 3:5, 6; Psalm 83:3, 4; Daniel 9:27; 11:31, 32; 12:11; Matthew 24:15ff; Luke 21:20ff; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4; Revelation 12:1-17.)
1) A Brief History of Israel, the Temple, and the Theocracy
There is really nothing more important to the Jewish people than a return to the things connected with the Mosaic Economy. And at the center of everything is a rebuilt Temple on the Temple Mount.
All of this can be clearly seen from that which occurred in 1967 in Israel during the Six-Day War. But first, in order to better understand that which occurred during this war, note a brief history of Israel over the past 3,500 years in relation to the Temple and the theocracy.
From the time of the construction of the Tabernacle during Moses’ day to the time of the Babylonian captivity, about eight and one-half centuries passed. And during all of this time, the people of Israel were in possession of the Tabernacle or the succeeding Temple, with a theocracy existing in the camp of Israel (discounting the time [about 100 years] that the ark of the covenant was separated from the Tabernacle and in the hands of the Philistines [1 Samuel 4:11; 2 Samuel 6:17]).
Then, the Jewish people were without their Temple during the seventy-year Babylonian captivity and the succeeding time that it took for the returning remnant to rebuild the Temple. This was the same Temple in existence when Christ was on earth the first time, though an extensive rebuilding and refurbishing process had occurred (John 2:18-21). And, as well, this was the Temple destroyed by the Romans, along with the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
Thus, in the overall history of Israel — from Moses’ day to the destruction of the Temple and city of Jerusalem under Titus with his Roman legions in 70 A.D. — the Jewish people, throughout some 1,500 years of Jewish history, were, in reality, without a Temple for slightly less than one hundred years.
And though the Glory did not return to the Temple built following the Babylonian captivity, which would have resulted in a restored theocracy, the shadow of regality remained. That’s plain from Jesus’ statement regarding the place that the scribes and Pharisees occupied 2,000 years ago, as seen in Matthew 23:2. The scribes and Pharisees were seen as individuals occupying “Moses’ seat.”
However, things have been quite different in this respect for the past nineteen and one-half centuries. Since 70 A.D., when the Temple was destroyed by the Romans under Titus, the people of Israel have been without a Temple — something completely unprecedented in the 3,500-year history of the nation.
Never in Israel’s history, prior to the destruction of the second Temple, had generations of Jews come and gone without direct contact with either the Tabernacle or the Temple; and until the recent establishment of Israel as a nation in the land once again (on May 14, 1948), the issue of a third Temple could not even be raised.
All of this though began to change with the establishment of the nation in the land once again, and it is about to change even more, in a very real and tangible way. Israel is about to have a third Temple, and then a fourth.
2) A Third Temple — How?
The question is not, “Will a third Temple be built?” The Word of God is clear on this matter. A Temple will exist in the land during the days of Antichrist, and his assumption of power over the earth in the middle of the Tribulation is closely connected with action that he will take concerning this Temple.
As previously seen, Antichrist will, at this time, desecrate the Temple; and he will subsequently destroy the Temple.
The question concerning the building of a third Temple should thus be, “How…?,” or “When…?,” not “Will…?”
There are two major events that have occurred during modern times, with a third yet to occur, which can only be seen as progressively setting the stage for a rebuilding of the Temple:
a) The first was the establishment of the New State of Israel in 1948.
b) The second was the capture of the Old City of Jerusalem (the place of the Temple Mount and thus the Temple site) during the Six-Day War of 1967.
c) The third will be that day when the Temple Mount (a part of the Old City still controlled by the Moslems) will come under Jewish control once again.
During the battles that immediately followed Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14, 1948, the Old City of Jerusalem was lost to the Arabs; and the Jews were subsequently barred from this part of Jerusalem. This situation persisted for twenty years; but during the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel captured certain portions of land previously controlled by the Arabs, and among these portions of land was the coveted Old City of Jerusalem.
And at the very point of conquest, the interest of the captors became focused on one thing in the Old City — the Wailing Wall, also called “the Western Wall.” This wall was the only visible, surviving part of the second Temple; and it was to this place that the captors of the Old City desperately wanted to go.
And in many cases, because of unfamiliarity with the Old City, guides had to be employed to direct the troops to the Wailing Wall. Then, as word began to spread, it was not long before governmental leaders, rabbis, and others began to enter the Old City for the express purpose of going to the Wailing Wall.
They came, stood before the wall, and prayed and wept; and during the days and years since, they have continued to come to stand there, to pray and to weep.
For the Jewish people, there is presently no place on earth like the Wailing Wall. This is the closest they can presently come to their Temple, the central place of a past theocracy and the central place of worship for the people ruling in the theocracy.
And the entire matter dates all the way back to the days of Moses — almost three and one-half millennia. It is then no wonder that they continue to frequent this place day after day after day, standing before this wall, praying and weeping.
But the Wailing Wall is still not enough. The Jewish people want that which the Wailing Wall only portends, calls to mind. They want their Temple once again; for they know that without the Temple there can be no restoration of the kingdom and the accompanying Glory.
Unfortunately though, the Temple site, located just beyond the Wailing Wall, is seemingly occupied at the present time by the Dome of the Rock (a Moslem shrine). And Jewish law prohibits the disturbance of any religious shrine in Israel.
In keeping with this law, after the Israeli troops captured the Old City of Jerusalem in 1967, Jewish authorities turned over responsibility of the Temple Mount to an Islamic charity.
Then, to further complicate matters, the Dome of the Rock is not just any religious shrine. It dates all the way back to 691 A.D. and is the third most sacred site in the world for the followers of Islam (after Mecca and Medina).
The Dome of the Rock stands over the site from which Moslems believe Mohammed ascended (leaped) to heaven. And to even further complicate matters beyond the preceding, the El Aksa Mosque, built after the Dome of the Rock, is also on the Temple Mount.
Thus, even though the Jewish people control the Old City of Jerusalem, they do not control the Temple Mount; and, under Jewish law, they are prohibited from disturbing Moslem structures on this site.
Not only is this the case, but for Israel to disturb these structures under present conditions, especially the Dome of the Rock, would inflame the entire Moslem world.
Officials in Israel today, viewing this situation, state, “Anything seen as a threat to the Dome of the Rock would be highly provocative to Moslems.” And the head of the Supreme Moslem Counsel in Jerusalem echoed the attitude of the followers of Islam toward this place some years back when he stated, “The Moslems are prepared to die for this place [a statement actually referring to the Temple Mount, which would include land upon which both the Dome of the Rock and the El Aksa Mosque are built]”; and there are over one-half billion adherents to Islam worldwide today.
What then will transpire to allow Israel access to this site? If an answer can be provided, it would have to be within the framework of the covenant yet to be made between the man of sin and Israel.
As previously seen, the man of sin will break his covenant with Israel by stopping the Jewish sacrifices, entering into the Holy of Holies, and declaring himself to be God (cf. Daniel 9:26, 27; 11:30-32; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4; Revelation 11:1, 2).
In view of this, the ratifying of the covenant will somehow evidently involve or allow a restoration of the Mosaic Economy, with its Temple and sacrificial system.
Accordingly, this man will evidently be the one to bring about a solution to the present dilemma in which the Jewish people find themselves. We know from Daniel 11:39 and Joel 3:2 that he will be instrumental in dividing the land (establishing borders) in the Middle East; and the Temple site, located on the Temple Mount, the most important piece of real estate, not only in the land of Israel, but on earth, could only form the major part of the territory in view.
To move beyond the preceding thoughts though is to move beyond information that Scripture provides. But, things that we can know for certain are these:
a) A seemingly intractable situation presently exists, denying the Jews access to their Temple site.
b) The seemingly intractable situation will one day be resolved, giving the Jews access to this site (and this is one reason, among others, that Antichrist undoubtedly fits into the picture, bringing about a resolution to the problem in that coming day).
c) The Jews will rebuild their Temple, and, seemingly, it will have to be built where the Dome of the Rock now stands (ref. Rabbi Shlomo Goren’s calculations in the next section, p. 63). It must be built, as the two previous Temples, in the “place that the Lord shall choose” (Deuteronomy 12:10-14).
In 1903, Great Britain offered the Jewish people land for Zionistic purposes in British East Africa. The Jewish people though would not even consider such an offer. They were interested in one tract of land alone — the land in the Abrahamic covenant.
In like manner, the Jewish people would never consider building their Temple on any site other than where it had stood on two previous occasions.
The Jews have an affinity for a particular land insofar as the nation is concerned, and they have the same affinity for a particular place in that land insofar as the Temple is concerned.
3) The Third Temple — When?
Note the words of General Shlomo Goren, chief rabbi of the Israeli armed forces, as he stood at the Wailing Wall on June 7, 1967 following the capture of the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War (June 5-10):
“We took an oath today, while capturing the city. On our blood we took an oath that we will never give it up, we will never leave this place. The Wailing Wall belongs to us. The holy place was our place first, our place and our God’s place. From here we do not move. Never! Never!”
After the Old City of Jerusalem had fallen to the Israeli troops during the Six Day War in June 1967, the commander of these troops stood at the Wailing Wall and announced:
“None of us alive has ever seen or done anything so great as he has done today.”
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan stood at the Wailing Wall that day and vowed:
“We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to depart from it again.”
Rabbi Shlomo Goren, along with the preceding quote, stood at the Wailing Wall on that day and cried out:
“We have taken the city of God. We are entering the Messianic Era for the Jewish people…”
Why did the chief rabbi of the Israeli armed forces, the troop commander, and the defense minister view the Wailing Wall after this fashion? Why did the chief rabbi of the Israeli armed forces further associate Jewish possession of the Wailing Wall with the nearness of the Messianic Era? The answer is singular and very simple: This site not only reflects on a past Temple and theocracy but it also portends a future Temple and theocracy.
General Shlomo Goren, from 1967 to 1994 (the time of his death), became a leading authority on the Temple Mount. A few years before he passed away, he called attention to a well-worn personal map of this Mount, dated June 21, 1967 (two weeks after the Israeli army captured the Old City). His calculations and recalculations of the area during about two decades led him to only one conclusion: A third Temple would have to be positioned in the same place where the Dome of the Rock is presently located.
When asked about how this could be brought to pass, his reply was simply, “It’s a big problem.”
The Prince of the Covenant
The “big problem” concerning a particular piece of real estate on the Temple Mount though will one day be resolved. And it will seemingly be resolved through the covenant that the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6:1, 2 will make with Israel.
Scripture clearly reveals what the nation of Israel is about to do concerning a third Temple, along with that which will then occur. The Jewish people will shortly build a third Temple, and it will be built during the opening months of the Tribulation.
Note how Daniel 8:13, 14 reads in a somewhat round-about way of revealing when this Temple will be built:
Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled under foot?”
And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” [220 days (7 months, 10 days) short of the full 2,520 days (7 years)].
According to these verses, there will be “two thousand and three hundred days” from the point when sacrifices begin in the rebuilt Temple to the end of the Tribulation. This would place the beginning of sacrifices in this Temple in the eighth month of the first year of the Tribulation.
Thus, Daniel 8:13, 14 places the building of the Temple during the first seven or eight months of the Tribulation. This fact fits perfectly with the covenant to be made between Antichrist and Israel at the beginning of the Tribulation, as well as the fact that the Jewish people will be offering sacrifices in a rebuilt Temple three and one-half years later when this man breaks his covenant with Israel.
As seen in the previous chapter of this book (Chapter 5), and evident through things seen in this chapter, this covenant with Israel, to be made by a man about to appear on the scene, is the event that will mark the beginning of the Tribulation. This is the event that will mark time resuming in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, with time then continuing until the remaining seven years in the prophecy have been fulfilled.
God has placed Israel in the midst of the nations (Ezekiel 5:5); and God looks upon and deals with the nations, not just in the Middle East but worldwide, through Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8-10; Zechariah 2:8; cf. Genesis 12:1-3). Thus, the place that Israel occupies in the Middle East — whether at “peace,” or at “war” — has direct ramifications affecting all of the Gentile nations, beginning in the Middle East and extending from there worldwide.
And it is evident from things stated in Daniel’s prophecy that the covenant that “the prince who is to come” will make with “many” in Israel will have to do, at least in part — either directly or indirectly — with a restoration of the Mosaic Economy, evidently somehow guaranteed by this man. Israel will, through some means, be allowed to rebuild her Temple on the Temple Mount and re-institute the Old Testament priesthood and sacrifices (evident from things seen in Daniel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation).
For the Jewish people to attempt something of this nature today, under present conditions and circumstances, would, as previously stated, present insurmountable problems. If they tried to do this today, the Moslem world surrounding Israel on three sides would undoubtedly erupt, for a Moslem shrine (reputed to be the third most holy place in the world for Moslems) presently occupies the spot on the Temple Mount where many believe that the Temple will have to be erected. And even if the Jews sought to build a Temple any other place on the Temple Mount today, similar insurmountable problems would exist.
But in that coming day things will somehow be quite different. They will have to be different. And this man will apparently possess the ability to bring about the necessary changes to make possible that which man would find impossible today.
In Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Sevens, where this man and the covenant are first introduced, as previously stated, things related to both his making and then breaking the covenant occupy center-stage. In reality, things surrounding the two together (his making and then breaking the covenant) comprise all that is revealed about this man in the prophecy of the Seventy Sevens.
Then, following the reference to “the prince who is to come” (Daniel 9:26), he is seen as “the prince of the covenant” (11:22). And Scripture again refers to this covenant several times during things that are revealed concerning his reign (11:28, 30-32). And the things that are revealed about this man and the covenant in these subsequent verses have to do with exactly the same things that are introduced in Daniel 9:27, when he breaks the covenant.
The transition of the rider appearing on a white horse to the rider appearing on a red horse after three and one-half years is not something that will occur gradually during the first three and one-half years but something that will, as it were, occur overnight. Events associated with the rider on the red horse will occur suddenly, with little to no warning.
Though it is evident from Daniel 11:28-32 that this man will have moved in this direction for some time (though only with those of like mind with him regarding the covenant [v. 30]), his overt actions in this respect will be sudden and without warning, particularly where Israel is concerned. And when this man does break his covenant, after three and one-half years, in the middle of the Tribulation, things will begin to change rapidly.
As previously seen, he will break this covenant by and through causing “an end to sacrifice and offering” and entering into and desecrating the Holy of Holies of the rebuilt Temple (the dwelling place of God in the Old Testament theocracy). And doing these things, he will sit “as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (Daniel 9:27; 11:30; 12:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:4).
Once this man turns upon the Jewish people by stopping the sacrifices and desecrating the Holy of Holies, events will then occur so rapidly that the Jewish people are told to not even take time to gather any of their belongings but to flee for their lives with only the clothes that they will have on their backs at that time. They are told to flee into the mountainous or desolate part of the land, where God will have prepared a place for their protection (Matthew 24:15, 16; Luke 21:20, 21; Revelation 12:6, 14-16).
And the Jewish people are further told to pray that this day does not occur in the wintertime (leaving them at the mercy of the elements) or on the Sabbath (the nation will be keeping the Sabbath, with travel restrictions and certain forms of activity prohibited on this day [Matthew 24:17-20; cf. Exodus 16:29]).
The reason given for such haste is then succinctly explained:
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.
And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:21, 22)
(Note that a full 1,260 days must transpire to complete the last half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week. Nothing short of this will suffice.
Thus, God’s intervention, shortening those days, cannot be a shortening of the number of days. And two possibilities would enter into the picture pertaining to exactly how God may bring about a shortening of the days.
First, there could be an actual shortening of the days themselves. Amos 8:9, for example, reveals the sun going down at noon during this time [though this could very well be God’s way of stating something in a non-literal respect].
God may actually shorten the days and nights in a very literal sense. And this, of course, could be accomplished by simply changing the speed at which the earth moves — not only the rotation of the earth but the time required for the earth to orbit the sun.
God, in the beginning, set everything in motion and established the physical laws governing this motion; and He can make changes if He so desires.
Then there is one other possibility. Time is relative, not a constant; and God can change time if he so desires, which may sound somewhat similar to the preceding, though would not be the same at all.
At any rate, let’s simply believe the Word, knowing that God will work matters of this nature out in His way and time.)
At this time, as well, this man with his armed forces (those who will be affiliated with him against the Jewish people and the covenant [Daniel 11:30, 31]) will destroy both the Temple and the city of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:26). The Jewish people who do not escape to the place that God will have prepared for them, or to some other place in the land, or out among the nations, will then “be led away captive into all nations” (Luke 21:24a). And the nation of Israel, as we know it today — a recognized nation in the Middle East — will cease to exist.
The cry that began in the early days of the existence of the nation — a cry for the utter destruction of Israel, echoed by Nasser and others down through the years — will seemingly have been realized (cf. Psalm 83:4). A destroyed Jerusalem will then “be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24b; Revelation 11:2).
(Note that “Jerusalem” is often used in Scripture as a reference to the Jewish people, the people of the city, rather than to the actual city [Lamentations 1:7-9; Matthew 23:37-39; Luke 13:33-35; 19:41-44; Revelation 17:18]. Thus, Luke 21:24b and Revelation 11:2 could be viewed in a larger sense as a reference to not only Israel’s capital city but to the Jewish people themselves, scattered among the nations.)
That is the setting for and the why of that which will occur when the second seal on the seven-sealed scroll has been broken. Peace (though a pseudo peace), effected by and through the rider on the white horse, will be taken from not only the land of Israel but the earth itself.
(In both the Hebrew and Greek texts, a single word is used for either “land” or “earth”; and the word, in both languages, must be understood and translated contextually. Many times though this has not been done, often resulting in confusion.
The broken covenant would have to do with Israel, and peace being removed through the breaking of this covenant would, first of all, have to do with the land of Israel. But because of the position that Israel occupies in relation to the nations [God’s eye-gate, as He views the nations], peace removed from the land of Israel at this time could only be seen as an absence of peace extending far beyond Israel’s borders.
Thus, peace taken from the land of Israel by and through this man’s act will, as well, be peace taken from the earth. And the “great sword” which he will then wield would have to be seen covering the same realm.)
The man who rode out with only “a bow” in his hand (Revelation 6:2), effecting peace through his eloquence and his intrigues, which allowed him to make a covenant with Israel, is now seen in his true colors. He is now seen as one having “a great sword” in his hand (Revelation 6:4).
He now rides forth in a different manner entirely. Note how Daniel describes the man in those days:
Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.
He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all.
But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses [having to do with ‘strength,’ ‘power’]; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things.
Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land [the land of Israel] for gain. (Daniel 11:36-39)
With this man’s treatment of the Jewish people (seeking to slay or enslave them), along with his bringing about the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and a division of the land (which God calls “my land” and warns against anyone dividing this land [Joel 3:2]), is it any wonder that peace is taken from the earth at this time?
Again, Israel has been set in the midst of the nations (Ezekiel 5:5), and God views the surrounding Gentile nations through Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8-10; Zechariah 2:8). And the ill treatment that this man will accord the Jewish people, along with the destruction of that belonging to the Jewish people, can only reflect negatively upon the welfare of the surrounding nations under his control and sway.
Positive and negative ramifications surrounding the treatment of the descendants of Abraham through Isaac, Jacob, and his twelve sons are given in Genesis 12:3 and they remain just as true today as ever. Individuals and nations that befriend Israel realize blessings from God. And the converse of that is equally true.
A nation today, seeking the destruction of Israel, is doing little more than seeking its own destruction. Such a nation is doing little more than committing national suicide.
The preceding relates “why” when this man accords Israel the type of ill-treatment that he will accord this nation in the middle of the Tribulation he will be according the same ill-treatment to himself. And since he will be the world ruler at that time, with all the Gentile nations under him, with God viewing these nations through Israel, this man will be doing little more than committing national suicide on behalf of the nations of the earth — a sentence that will be carried out at the end of the Tribulation, when Christ returns (Isaiah 63:1-6; Daniel 2:34, 35, 40-45; Revelation 19:17-21).
(To illustrate this point, note the Third Reich in Germany, from Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 to its utter destruction in 1945. The Third Reich was to last for 1,000 years, but lasted for only twelve years.
Germany lost World War II before the nation ever entered the war. Why? Anti-Semitism! Hitler began turning his hand against the Jewish people only weeks following his rise to power [reaching a peak during the fall of 1938, resulting in that which ultimately occurred — the death camps and the death of 6,000,000 Jews].
Thus, the unchangeable destiny of the Third Reich was set during its early years, and Germany lay in ruins at the end of World War II.
So will it be with the rider on the white and red horses. Once this man turns against the Jewish people, his unchangeable destiny will be set, and his world will lie in ruins three and one-half years later.)
Why, when breaking his covenant with Israel, will the first recorded act of the Antichrist be a desecration of the Holy of Holies in the rebuilt Temple? The answer is obvious if one understands the connection of the Temple with the theocracy and Israel’s status as God’s firstborn son. The Temple was the dwelling place of God as He dwelled in the midst of His people and ruled through His people in the theocracy (which is exactly as it will one day exist again when the theocracy has been restored to Israel).
And the only people whom God has ever placed or ever will place on this earth in such a position are the Jewish people. Israel alone is God’s firstborn among the nations, and the Temple is God’s dwelling place among His people as they exercise the rights belonging to the firstborn.
Who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises. (Romans 9:4)
The Temple figures prominently in Antichrist’s actions in the book of Daniel (8:11; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11), in Matthew’s and Mark’s accounts of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14 [note that Luke, in his account, records the destruction of Jerusalem at this same time rather than the desecration of the Temple]), in the mention of Antichrist in the Pauline epistles (2 Thessalonians 2:4), and in the book of Revelation (11:1, 2). The significant feature in all these passages, save the account in the book of Revelation, is Antichrist desecrating “the holy place” (desecrating and destroying it are both seen in Daniel).
This is the event given in Scripture to mark the breaking of his covenant with Israel and the beginning of the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation. This man is going to enter into the Holy of Holies of the rebuilt Temple and announce that “he is God” (into the place where God dwelt during Moses’ day in the Tabernacle and later during Solomon’s day in the Temple, during the Old Testament theocracy).
The covenant will then be null and void, and the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation will begin.
(In this respect, the ratifying of this covenant [part and parcel with the Christ breaking the first seal of the scroll in Revelation 6:1, revealing the rider on the white horse] will begin the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation, and the breaking of this covenant [part and parcel with the Christ breaking the second seal of the scroll in Revelation 6:3, revealing the rider on the red horse] will begin the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation.
Thus, as can be seen, in a very real sense and respect, this covenant lies at the center of all things occurring throughout the seven-year Tribulation in numerous different associations and ways.)
Note what this man will, in actuality, be doing by this act. He will be striking at the very heart of the theocracy and the very position that Israel occupies as firstborn (even though the theocracy will not then be in existence, allowing Israel to exercise the rights of the firstborn).
This man will be the world ruler under Satan, and he will seek to destroy the only rule that could ever interfere with his by four inseparably related acts:
1) By destroying the central place for this rule (the Temple, on the Temple Mount).
2) By destroying the city from which this rule would emanate (Jerusalem).
3) By destroying the people who, directly under God, would administer this rule (the Jewish people).
4) By destroying the very land of Israel itself through divisions and treading it underfoot (i.e., Gentile control and dominion).
This is the reason that the Jews are told to “flee” for their lives when they see this man “standing in the holy place” (Matthew 24:16ff). He is going to desecrate the Temple (Daniel 9:27), destroy both the Temple and the city of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:26; Luke 21:20-24), seek to eliminate the Jewish people from the face of the earth (cf. Matthew 24:16-22; Revelation 12:13-17), and then set about to divide, tread under foot, and destroy the very land of Israel itself (Joel 3:2; Revelation 11:2).
And the only thing that will stand in his way, apart from God’s providential protection of His people, is “time” — three and one half years of time, which itself, for Israel’s sake, as previously seen, will be cut short (Matthew 24:21, 22).
Israel’s destiny insofar as the Temple, the theocracy, and the nation’s position with respect to the Gentile nations is concerned was set when God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees. And, actually, it had been pre-set nine generations earlier in God’s dealings with Shem through Noah (Genesis 9:24-27).
God’s promise to Abraham, a descendant of Shem, pertaining to the land and blessings (Genesis 12:1-3), anticipated God’s statement to Moses pertaining to Israel’s firstborn status (Exodus 4:22, 23; cf. Exodus 19:5, 6). And the entire matter anticipates that day, in the coming age, when Israel will occupy the position for which the nation was called out of Egypt under Moses.
Israel though must first pass through “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” Israel must first see a third Temple stand in the land, one which will house no Glory, with there, accordingly, being no theocracy. Israel must first experience the full end of the “desolation” in Daniel 9:27 and Matthew 23:38, which includes the Jewish people, the Temple, the city of Jerusalem, and the land of Israel.
Only then will Messiah return, build the Temple Himself, and restore the nation within a theocracy. Only then will Israel realize her position as firstborn among the nations.