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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Jesus or the Antichrist



Who will appear first, Jesus or the Antichrist?

I wonder with all that is happening in the world today if this may be a question in the back of everyone’s mind. Which will happen first, the Antichrist coming on the scene, making the covenant with Israel and kicking off the 7-year Tribulation or Jesus rapturing His followers out of here?



There are a lot of different views on this, even among Bible believers. But from my personal study, I believe when you look at everything the Bible has to say about End Times Prophecy, there is only one answer that precisely fits all of Scripture.


First let’s look at what kicks off the 7-year Tribulation. It’s described in both Revelation 6 and Daniel 9.


Revelation 6:1-2 Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, "Come." [2] I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.


Daniel 9:27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week; but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering.


Both of these passages are talking about the Antichrist making a forced “peace” agreement with Israel for 7 years. During the first half of this period the Jews will be allowed to resume sacrifice and grain offerings which likely means they will also build the 3rd temple on the Temple Mount at that time. We know there has to be a 3rd Temple by the middle of the Tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:4).


The Antichrist’s agreement with Israel is the 1st Seal Judgment. Revelation 6 goes on to describe the next 5 Seal Judgments, each getting progressively worse.


But note that after the 6th Seal Judgment the whole world will know what is happening is the wrath of God:


Revelation 6:16-17 they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"


This is significant because Scripture tells us those who have repented and followed Jesus will not experience God’s wrath. In fact if we do, that would mean there is sin we have committed that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross did not cover.


That wouldn’t make sense because Jesus said, in John 19:30Tetelestai” meaning “It is finished!” He said this indicating that the debt for all of our sins has been paid in full. So there is no wrath left for those who have repented and trusted in Jesus’ sacrifice in their place.


We’re also told that followers of Jesus will not experience God’s wrath or condemnation in several passages of Scripture:


  • 1 Thessalonians 1:10 Jesus rescues us from the wrath to come

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:9 God has not destined us for wrath

  • Romans 5:9 we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him

  • Romans 8:1 there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus


This means at the very least the Rapture has to happen before Revelation 6:15 which goes against the Mid-Tribulation and Post-Tribulation views.


  • The Mid-Tribulation view says the Rapture happens in Revelation 11:15 as the 7th Trumpet Judgment occurs.

  • The Post-Tribulation view says the Rapture happens at the end of the Tribulation right before Jesus returns in Revelation 19.


But if either the Mid-Tribulation or Post-Tribulation view is true, the passages of Scripture which say the followers of Jesus will not go through God's wrath are false.


Scripture does not contradict Scripture. So the only view that can be true is one that fits all of Scripture.


However there is one other view we need to explore before we go on. The 5th Seal Judgment in Revelation 6:9-11 shows the souls of martyrs in heaven who died during the Tribulation who did not deny their faith in Jesus. That means there are followers of Jesus in the first part of the Tribulation. Does that mean followers of Jesus will go through the first 4 Seal Judgments of the Tribulation before the Rapture happens?


  • This is called a pre-wrath view.

  • But to answer the question, "No it does not mean followers of Jesus will go through the first 4 Seal Judgments before the Rapture happens."

  • These 5th Seal martyrs are people who will go into the Tribulation period as unbelievers and then repent and believe in Jesus due to what they see in the Tribulation and/or the testimony of the two witnesses, and/or the testimony of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists. Then after becoming believers during the Tribulation, they get killed because they refuse to deny their faith in Jesus.


But there cannot be followers of Jesus who go into the Tribulation period before the Rapture occurs because that does not match the rest of Scripture.


To match all of Scripture, the Rapture (Jesus' appearing in the sky to remove His followers) has to happen before the Antichrist appears, signs the covenant with Israel, and kicks off the 7-year Tribulation. The followers of Jesus won't see the Antichrist, but Jesus Christ. Now let's check that view against Scripture:


2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. [8] Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth"


The Apostle Paul founded a church in Thessalonica. After he left, that church was told they had missed the rapture and were living in the Tribulation and they panicked. Paul heard about this and wrote 2 Thessalonians to correct that false teaching. He told them the Antichrist can't appear until "he who now restrains the Antichrist is taken out of the way."


  • The only One capable of restraining the Antichrist is God.

  • God can never be taken out of the way.


So what Paul meant by that is that God the Holy Spirit who indwells the followers of Jesus is "taken out of the way" when the followers of Jesus are raptured. We know "the Rapture" is the subject of this passage because we are told it is the subject in the first verse of this chapter:


2 Thessalonians 2:1 "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him.."


Now some people will say the "gathering together to Him" doesn't really mean a physical rapture from this earth. But we can see that it does mean that. Paul described this physical rapture from the earth in his first letter to the Thessalonians:


1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 [16] For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. [17] Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. [18] Therefore comfort one another with these words.


That phrase "caught up" is "harpazo" in the Greek, "rapturo" in Latin.


There are raptures referred to as "caught up" throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament where followers of God were "caught up" physically from where they were and taken up to heaven or placed in some other physical location on this earth. Therefore Paul is talking about a physical rapture here.


So the restrainer (the Holy Spirit) who is now restraining the Antichrist has to be taken out of the way which happens at "the Rapture" when those who have the Holy Spirit within them are caught up from this earth.


After that, the Antichrist will appear, sign the covenant with Israel, and kick off the 7-year Tribulation.


But this isn't the only reason we know this is the correct order of these End Times events. This order also fits other passages of Scripture about the End Times.


For example, if the Antichrist were going to appear before Jesus raptures the church, we would expect to see the apostles and Jesus warning people to prepare for the Antichrist. But notice that’s not what we see. That’s not who we are to be looking for.


Notice Paul instructed Titus to be looking for Jesus:


Titus 2:13 “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus”


That’s also why Jesus prepared His followers for the time when He would leave and return using the analogy of the ancient Galilean wedding tradition in which the groom (Jesus), goes away to build a wedding chamber and then will come back for His bride (His followers).


He doesn’t say while I'm gone building the wedding chamber, before I come back, you will go through my wrath which I covered for you on the cross. That would make absolutely no sense, would it?


He does say we will go through persecution from those who do not believe in Jesus. But that’s not the same thing as the 7-year Tribulation consisting of the 7 Seal Judgments, 7 Trumpet Judgments, and 7 Bowl Judgments which Jesus, Himself, is kicking off.


Again it would make no sense for the followers of Jesus to go through the wrath which Jesus took upon Himself in our place on the cross. So here’s how Jesus prepared His disciples for this time between his leaving and the Rapture:

John 14:1-3 Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. [2] In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. [3] If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.


After Jesus raptures His followers, we will be in the wedding chamber with Him while the 7-year Tribulation is happening on this earth. In the ancient Galilean wedding tradition, the bride and groom were in the wedding chamber for 7 days.


Lastly, the reason we can know for sure that as followers of Jesus we will not go through even the first part of the 7-year Tribulation is because of what the angel, Gabriel, told the prophet, Daniel, the purpose of the Tribulation is:


Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks (70) have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.


This passage goes on to say that 69 of these 70 weeks have already been fulfilled. There is just one week (one 7-year period) left, the 70th week, to finish the transgression, to make an end to sin, to make atonement for iniquity, etc.


The purpose of the Tribulation is for the Jews to finish the transgression, to make an end to sin, to make atonement for iniquity by repenting and trusting in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, who they rejected when He came the first time. God will also give an opportunity to unbelieving Gentiles to repent during this time and trust in Jesus.


But the Tribulation is about the Jews. That’s why it’s called “the 70th week of Daniel” (Daniel 9:24) and “the Time of Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). This is a time of wrath being released by Jesus Himself giving the Jews and opportunity to recognize their sin of rejecting their Messiah, repent, and finally trust in Him.


Those who have already repented of their sin and believed in Jesus will not go through this time of wrath. Jesus has already taken the wrath upon Himself at the cross in our place.


So "the Rapture" of the followers of Jesus must take place before the 7-year Tribulation begins and the Antichrist is revealed when he signs the peace agreement with Israel.


But one thing I don’t believe Scripture tells us for sure is whether the One World Government will form before the Antichrist comes on the scene or afterwards. According to Daniel, there will be 10 kings over this One World Government who will at some point give all of their authority to the Antichrist.


Right now we see the World Economic Forum and the globalists all over the world coming together to usher in the New World Order, the Great Reset with a target date of 2030. Could this New World Order be the One World Government which the Antichrist will rule over? I would be surprised if it's not. I would also be surprised if they are not ahead of their 2030 schedule due to the pandemic.


That would mean "the Rapture" of the followers of Jesus can’t be very far off. In fact, there is no prophecy remaining which must be fulfilled before "the Rapture" occurs.


That means those of us who have chosen to repent and follow Jesus today have been put here at this time in this place with a purpose:


2 Corinthians 5:17-21 tells us we have been given a mission and a message to be ambassadors sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with those around us who have not yet chosen to repent and believe in Him. We need to be loving people and sharing with them how much Jesus loves them and wants them to come to Him.


So, what about you? Where are you in all of this?


Have you repented of your sins and put your faith in Jesus? If so, you should be looking for Jesus, not the Antichrist. You should be living for Him, praying for those around you, and looking for every opportunity to share the love of Jesus and the message of salvation with those who don’t know Him, while there is still time.


For those of you who have chosen not to repent of your sins and trust in Jesus as the Lord of your life, you should prepare to see the Antichrist. If you are still alive at that time, you will see him sign the covenant with Israel and kick off the 7-year Tribulation. Thankfully though because of God’s love for you, there will still be an opportunity to repent and believe in Jesus even during the Tribulation as long as you don’t accept the mark of the beast and worship the Antichrist.


However, the longer you wait, the harder it will be to repent and trust in Jesus. Even though the signs will be very clear and everyone will know it is the wrath of God and of the Lamb, Scripture says hearts will be hardened just as Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and people still won’t want to repent and trust in Jesus.


If you are reading this and you have not yet repented of sin and trusted in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I pray you do so, even today, so that you don’t have to go through the 7-year Tribulation period or even one more day without the love of Jesus in your heart and the assurance of having His strength, peace and joy now as well as for all eternity.


If you have any questions or would like to talk about this, we would love to hear from you. You can comment below at the bottom of this page under Comments or email us at whileintheword@gmail.com.


However, please don’t accept this article or any other commentaries or videos out there as truth.


Study the Bible for yourself and make sure what we are saying here or what you read or watch elsewhere, matches what God reveals to you in His Word. Because His Word is the truth and the plumb line everything else should be tested against.


May God bless you all as we await the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Sources:

  1. Jan Weihl, Living Word Ministries, 03.02.2022

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2 Comments


whileintheword
Mar 05, 2022

Thanks John. Glad it made sense.

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Unknown member
Mar 03, 2022

Jesus or the Antichrist : Very clear explanation. Thank You !

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