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"Then they will hand you over to be tortured and put to death; and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name." ---Matthew 24:9
"Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened,
the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will fall from the sky
and the powers of heaven will be shaken."
Bewildered by the unsettling visions which had preoccupied him during those fateful months at the Euphrates, Daniel must have welcomed with great relief the word from God which informed him that all the terrible things he had seen were for another time -- for an age far beyond his own at the conclusion of history.
"This explanation of the vision of the mornings and the evenings is true", the voice told him, "but you must keep the vision secret, for there are still many days to go." (Dn.8:26). "...you, Daniel, must keep...the book sealed until the time of the End. Many will wander this way and that, and wickedness will go on increasing." (Dn.12:4).
Sealed for 2500 years by the command of God, Daniel's visions have remained an unfathomable enigma until our own time.
They are being unveiled now at the conclusion of the age so that a detailed chronicle might portray in advance the final days of the earth's history; the final proof that God has instructed His messengers in divine truth.
Daniel's words speak to us about the world's final dictator -- the man of sinister evil whom Ezekiel calls 'Gog' -- and how he will bring the civilization of the entire world to ultimate ruin.
Just before the end, after all his forays and battles have run their course, Daniel predicts that this man of perdition -- this 'Gog' -- will ignore all pleas for peace. (Dn.11:40). Instead, he will gather the armies of the east for a third massive campaign against the armies of the kingdom of the South.
This will ignite on earth the ultimate wrath of all.
Berserk with power, convinced that he is God and no longer fearing the power of the west, the beast will throw all reticence to the wind.
Declaring all out war on everything that lies outside his own dominion, the Rebel's assault will cover the earth, but focus most intently on the country of Israel, a land his enemies have sworn to defend at all costs.
"With chariots, cavalry, and a large fleet", the Bible says, (Dn.11:40), the beast will successfully attack and conquer many lands including much of Palestine. There he will set up his final camp somewhere between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean Sea. (Dn. 11:45).
At this point (just before Armageddon) confronted and blocked in Palestine by the southern forces, and in response to threats rising up in the east and the north, suddenly "...with great fury the Rebel will set out to bring ruin and complete destruction to many." (Dn.11:44).
Like Saddam Hussein who tried to destroy Kuwait and the Persian Gulf with fire and oil when he was forced to retreat, the beast, at the very end will apparently decide to destroy the whole world simply out of spite.
Daniel tells us that he will launch a furious, apparently planet-wide, attack. International in scope, it will leave vast numbers of people throughout the world dead or dying and the world itself in global flames.
"I have brought fire out of you to consume you. I have made you ashes on the ground before the eyes of all who saw you." (Ez.28:18).
By scripture's descriptions, this can be nothing less than the terrible military apocalypse that so many have been fearing. Scripture's predictions bespeak a type of civilization-ending World War III event -- an unrestrained nuclear holocaust that will quickly incinerate all that is left of Babylon. (Micah 1; Zeph.1).
"See how the Lord lays the earth waste, makes it a desert, buckles its surface, scatters its inhabitants, priest and people alike, master and slave, mistress and maid, seller and buyer, lenderer and borrower, creditor and debtor. Ravaged, ravaged the earth, despoiled, despoiled, as God has said. " (Is.24:1-3).
"For they have transgressed the law, violated the precept, broken the everlasting covenant. So a curse consumes the earth and its inhabitants suffer the penalty, that is why the inhabitants of the earth are burnt up and few men are left." (Is.24:5-6).
"The time will come when the ten horns and the beast will turn against the prostitute, and strip off her clothes and leave her naked; then they will eat her flesh and burn the remains in the fire." (Rv.17:16). The statement is direct and unmistakeable. Following ruinous warfare, the ten horns and the Beast will take actions that set ablaze virtually every city on earth, torching most of them in a single volley.
America will not escape the fire. "I will send fire ...on those living undisturbed on islands..." (Ez.39:6). As the arrows of that catastrophe begin to make their strikes on American soil, the United States will launch its own missles in retaliation, returning a fire that will incinerate Magog. (Ez.39:6).
In the wake of these mammoth firestorms, black clouds will encircle the earth, enveloping the planet in an acidic shroud of choking darkness. Human suffering -- the aftermath of this holocaust -- will be unimaginable in vast areas of the planet as the burned, broken and radiated survivors grope about in the blackness searching for scraps of food and water in the fires and ashes of what once had been world civilization.
All of this because the people gave up on God and chose sin instead.
"There is going to be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence." (Dn.12:1). Jesus confirmed this period of calamity and said it would be so grave, that had it not been shortened, no one on earth would survive it. (Matt.24:21-22).
This terrible phenomenon will occur apart from the gathering of the nations at Armageddon, isolating those who have assembled there by cremating the countries the soldiers came from.
With so many of their homelands burning furiously, the clouds of smoke encircling the earth will envelop the battlefield of Armageddon as well, plunging the forces amassing there into the same black noon enshrouding all the other areas of the planet.
"When I extinguish you I will cover the skies, and darken the stars. I will cover the sun with clouds and the moon will not give its light. I will dim every luminary in heaven for you, and cover your country in darkness -- it is the Lord God who speaks." (Ez.32:7-8).
Concerning this momentous attack, God prophesied through Ezekiel: "On the day that Gog attacks Israel, I shall grow angry. In my anger, my jealousy and the heat of my fury I say it: I swear that on that day there will be a fearful quaking in the land of Israel." (Ez.38:18-19).
Zechariah said of this earthquake that it will be so strong it will split the Mount of Olives into two parts. The fracturing of this mountain will give physical evidence on earth that the Lord has indeed said, 'Enough!' (Is.24:16).
For "Then God will take the field; he will fight against these nations as he fights on the day of battle. On that day, his feet will rest on the Mount of Olives,which faces Jerusalem from the east. " (Zech.14:3).
"The Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, forming a huge gorge; half the Mount will recede northwards, the other half southwards. And the Valley of Hinnom will be filled up from Goah to Jasol; it will be blocked as it was by the earthquake in the days of Uzziah." (Zech.14:4-5).
God's own feet, Zechariah said, will touch the Mount of Olives, splitting it into two gigantic parts. The signal will be unmistakeable. Man's reign on the planet will be over. Amassing the limitless forces of heaven to His bidding, the Bible says that God will instantly direct them all in a staggering celestial assault against the beast and sin.
Having just overrun a part of Jerusalem, the Rebel and his forces will be quite close to that city when the Mount of Olive's thunderous split occurs. He will perish in one of the events related to this moment -- or perhaps in an event that comes just before it.
"I will punish him with plague and bloodshed and send torrential rain, hailstones, fire and brimstone against him and his hordes and against the many nations with him...you shall be killed on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes, and the nations with you." (Ez.38:22-23, 39:4).
At this point the universe will join natural law and bring the wrath to its final conclusion. The shock wave from this event will dissolve all the walls and barriers still left in the city (Ez.38:21) and it will bring many of the people inside that city to their knees in preparation for the Lord's visitation.
"...all these things are going to happen when he who crushes the power of the holy people meets his end." (Dn.12:7).
In the world-shattering and cataclysmic events that follow Gog's demise, all anarchy on earth will abruptly cease. The massive violence of the second war will culminate in the complete annihilation of everything that is evil.
"From the moment that the perpetual sacrifice is abolished and the disastrous abomination erected: one thousand two hundred and ninety days." (Dan.12:11). "Blessed is he who stands firm and attains a thousand three hundred and thirty five days." (Dan.12:12).
For forty-five days, then, the earth will shake and shudder in the smouldering ruins of catastrophe, bombarded from the heavens by the hailstones of cosmic retaliation for sin -- forty-five days unlike any the world has ever known before.
Then the call will be made. The End will come and the Judgment will begin.
"All this is going to happen, all this is going to take place -- it is the Lord God who speaks. This is the day I predicted." (Ez.39:8).
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