" Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 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 worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.." (2Thes 2:1-4)
The lesson on Matthew 24 gave us a time-line, and here we see that time-line expanded to reveal more detail about the EndTime and the eventual return of Christ. We are told here that there must first be "a falling away" and then that the "man of sin" would be revealed and that he would sit in the temple of God setting himself up as God. This falling away from faith has been taking place over the past several years as the world moves more and more into greater and greater materialism. What leaves to happen now is that the "man of sin" be revealed, the Anti-Christ, the son of perdition.
This "son of perdition" will be involved with " obtaining the kingdom by flateries." (Da 11:21) even though his heart is set against the covenant (Da 11:28) he will be obliged (to constrain by physical, moral, or legal force or by the exigencies of circumstance - Webster's) to honour it at first but then, as we have already seen in previous lessons, he will break this covenant half way into it's term by assassinating the two anointed prophets of God, and setting himself up as God and demanding that all worship him.
As we studied in lesson six, the devil will be cast out of the spiritual world (Rev 12:9) and will posess the Anti-Christ at that moment, remove the two witnesses as his first order of business, and go on to attempt to accomplish what was denied him in the beginning when Lucifer was next to God to rule eternity, but rebelled and brought one thirds of the angels with him in his insurrection.
" And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him ." (Rev 12:9) So, after being kicked out of heaven, the devil and his angels arrive on earth in the person of this Anti-Christ and his followers to "wage war on the saints and overcome them ". This period is know as The Great Tribulation.
" Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 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. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.." (Rev 12:12-15)
Here we see again the same time frame being referred to by a vision given to John. Here again we find the "time, and times and half a time" found in other prophetic visions and dreams that we have studied in previous lessons. This is why, Jesus, in Matthew 24 said, " 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 ... flee ...." (Mt 24:15-16) As soon as the "abomination" is set up then the devil will be here in person and his reign of terror will begin immediately by killing the two prophets and subsequently any Christian he can get his hands on, so we are instructed to "flee" into the "wilderness" where, it says, that we have a place prepared for the duration of the 3 1/2 years.
This will no doubt be a very dangerous time for Christians to witness, but we do know that there will be infiltrators right on up to the return of Christ. (Mt 24:40-41) We will be there right on up to the last possible moment, in order to try to bring people the saving grace of the blood of Christ's sacrifice made so long ago just outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem.
***This concludes the seventh lesson on The EndTime. Be sure to review this and the other lessons in this study to properly understand what is coming in the near future. ***