Antichrist, Tribulation and Second-Coming
David Brandt Berg
Welcome to another Bible study of the prophecies of God’s Word regarding the endtime, the last days. We’re going to read Luke 21, beginning with verse 20. Jesus is speaking:
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.”
“For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.” Whose wrath? The wrath of God.
Verse 24: “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” This passage sounds a great deal like Matthew 24.
How long shall Jerusalem be trodden down at this time? You say, “That happened a long time ago when the Romans took over Jerusalem and destroyed it and the Temple, and they cast out the Jews into all nations of the earth, and led them away captive.” He’s saying that that will happen.
But He’s using exactly the same terminology in this passage that He used in the passage in which He describes the invasion of Israel by the Antichrist forces. In this case, instead of saying, “When ye shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet stand in the holy place,” He says, “When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.”
First it has to be compassed with armies and desolated because of its rebellion against the world government of the Antichrist, who then sets up his image, and then follows this time of great trouble such as was not since the world began. Not only for Israel, but for all people of whatever religion worldwide, because the Antichrist will insist that the whole world worship him and his image then.
They shall fall by the edge of the sword, be led away captive, and there’ll be a terrible time of trouble. Here’s a key in these words in the middle of the 24th verse: “And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” In Revelation 13, where this same terminology is used, we are going to see exactly how long the Gentiles are going to tread down Jerusalem until their time be fulfilled.
He’s talking in this 13th chapter about a beast that rises up out of the sea, the sea of humanity, “having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” (Revelation 13:1). We’ve already seen this beast in Daniel 7 in various forms, and here he is a combination beast with all the great world powers depicted in one great beast with seven heads, the seven great world empires that have come and gone upon the stage of history from the days of earliest Egypt to this last one of the Antichrist.
The ten horns are upon the last head. In a following chapter it is made clear that the ten horns are ten kings who cooperate with this beast in his last form, his seventh head, the Antichrist. They are ten great world powers, kingdoms who cooperate with the final great world leader, this devil-man, this Satan in the flesh, the Antichrist. “Upon his horns ten crowns, upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” He’s anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-religion, and demands that the whole world worship him as its God.
Third verse: “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast.” This dragon is that old red Dragon, that same ol’ boy that’s been causing us trouble ever since the Garden of Eden. He was called the serpent then; now he’s called a dragon.
Revelation 12, verse 9: “That old serpent Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.”
In this 12th chapter he was cast out of heaven into the earth, so now he’s come down to earth to create hell on earth. “For he knoweth that his time is short” (Revelation 12:12). He’s only got three and a half years left to do all the damage he can possibly do. So he personally possesses the Antichrist, this world leader, and from then on it’s literally the Devil ruling the earth, and it’s hell on earth.
“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast?” (Revelation 13:4). The world is waiting for a superman, a god-man who can solve their problems, answer their questions, heal their economic ills, unite their politics, end their religious squabbles, stop all the wars, and bring permanent peace and union to all nations.
“Who is like unto the beast?”—this Antichrist. “Who is able to make war with him?” He’s apparently got vast military might by this time. “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies” (v. 5). As far as the religions of the world are concerned, he’s going to be totally blasphemous against their gods and against God Himself and Christ Himself.
How long is this situation going to last? “And power was given unto him to continue forty and two months” (Revelation 13:5).
In the 11th chapter of Revelation, verse 2, John says that he is told to measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. “But the court which is without the Temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles. And the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” Three and a half years. There it is again, exactly what He said back in Luke 21:
“They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (v. 24). They will conquer and capture Jerusalem and Israel. The Antichrist forces will invade and conquer Israel because of its rebellion against the Covenant, and the Antichrist will set up his capital there, and he himself will sit in the temple of God, as God, proclaiming that he is God. For 42 months, or three and a half years.
Verse 25: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.” The peoples of the earth are sometimes likened unto the sea and the waves.
“Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth” (v. 26). You know what is one of the greatest causes of death in the U.S.? Heart failure! And it is often caused by anxiety, tension, pressure, and all these words which are summed up in one little four-letter word: fear.
“For the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (v. 26–27). When is Jesus going to come? After the Antichrist has invaded Israel and taken over Jerusalem and trodden it under foot for three and a half years, 42 months, or 1260 days, according to the Jewish calendar.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads” (v. 28). Don’t be discouraged, don’t look down; don’t get down in the dumps. Don’t do like Peter did: look down at the waves and start to sink. Look up! Don’t look out, because the outlook is very bad. Don’t look down, because that’s even worse! But look up.
“And lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” When all these terrible things begin to happen, start looking up, because Jesus is coming soon! As He said in the 27th verse, “They shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” So when these things begin to come to pass, “then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.”
When you see a fig tree begin to blossom, you know summer’s nigh, so He said when you see all these things begin to happen, you’ll know that His coming is soon. “So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand” (v. 31).
Verse 32: “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” When you begin to see all these things happen, when you hear about the Antichrist making a religious Covenant in Jerusalem, know that the end is near. He will give religious freedom to all religions if they’ll support him, and allow the Jews to rebuild the Temple on Mount Moriah. He will allow the Muslims to preserve the Mosque of Omar, and no doubt even let them erect a Christian church there to symbolize the world’s three greatest religions in their holiest place upon the face of the earth. He said, “When you see these things happen, you’d better start looking up, because I’m coming back very soon.”
Then the Antichrist breaks that Covenant in the midst of the seven years, at the end of the first three and a half years. He gets fed up with religions; he gets fed up with their squabbles and fights and controversies. Even though he’s done everything he can to try to please them with the internationalization, inter-religionisation of Jerusalem, they’re still not happy. They still cause him all kinds of trouble, and he finally decides the best way to solve this problem is to just get rid of them all.
He says, “I’ll set myself up as God. I’ll put my statue there on Mount Moriah in the midst of their temples, and we’ll abolish all other religions. There’ll only be one world religion, just as there’s now one world government under me. They can worship me as their god! That’ll solve all these religious problems.”
But when the Jews and the Christians and the Muslims rebel, he has a lot of trouble. “A time of trouble such as has never been, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). The time of Jacob’s trouble, the time of the Great Tribulation for the last half of his reign, three and a half years. God’s Word says when you see these things happen, look up, because your redemption draws nigh!
When you see all these things come to pass, “know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. This generation shall not pass away until all be fulfilled” (Luke 21:31–32).
“What do you mean the kingdom of God is nigh at hand? I thought the kingdom of God is already here, within us. What does it mean that this generation will not pass away till all be fulfilled? Those apostles and disciples are dead, and it never happened.” He’s not talking about them. Of course they’re dead! They weren’t the generation that saw all these things happen and all these things fulfilled.
It’s the generation that sees these things fulfilled, that generation shall not pass away until all these things shall be fulfilled. And He says when you do see all these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws nigh.
Our complete salvation of spirit, soul, and body will be here when there will be no more death, no more pain, no more fear, no more sorrow nor crying nor sickness, and we’ll have perfect bodies and “spirits of just men made perfect” as our redemption is completed when Jesus comes (Hebrews 12:23). We’ll rise to meet Him in the air, whether out of the grave or from the surface of the earth, and out of this horrible time and this awful world with its hell on earth led by the Devil and his angels.
Copyright © March 1981 by the Family International