From The Cross in the End-Times
The seven-year tribulation period is traditionally understood by many Christians to begin with the “covenant” that the Antichrist makes with the nation of Israel described in Daniel 9:24-27. For purposes of this book I am assuming a seven-year tribulation period, recognizing that many past and present Christians have suggested a three and one-half year tribulation, and that there is disagreement as to what to do with the second half of the 70th week of Daniel after the messiah is “cut off” and the sacrifice caused to “cease.” Every Christian knows from the gospels of Matthew and Luke, and the book of Revelation, that there will be an end-times great tribulation. The question of how long the tribulation will last, and when the rapture would occur, is still open.
The scenario of world events that would lead to the nation of Israel signing such a peace agreement with the involvement of the Antichrist is currently not known. The idea that the chaos following a worldwide rapture would precipitate the series of events that would facilitate the rise of the Antichrist, is speculative conjecture based upon one plausible scenario among many other possible alternatives. No human being has all of this completely figured out at this time. We currently do not know what would be the magnitude of the impact that a worldwide disappearance of hundreds of millions of Christians and underage children, through the rapture, would have upon the psyche of the world’s current 7-billion population.
The only real expert here is the Holy Spirit. It is not an article of faith to accept the viewpoint that the rapture is required to set up the conditions for the rise of the Antichrist. This particular viewpoint does not have to be taken as gospel. There are a number of possible events that could create the environment conducive for the rise of the Antichrist, some of which may be revealed already in Matthew 24:4-7 depending upon the order, magnitude, and timing of their particular occurrence. The ancient hatred of the Arab countries for the nation of Israel alone has enough explosive political energy within it to propel a deceptive, smooth-talking, outwardly charismatic peacemaker into world prominence and power.
Christians, at this time, do not have to commit to anyone’s particular end-times interpretation, including my own viewpoint as expressed in this book. Nowhere in the Bible, that I can find, does it say that we must have all of the last days events completely figured out one-hundred percent ahead of time. It is allowable, even divinely purposed (Joel 2:28-29), to hold some questions in suspension for a while until actual events begin to unfold. The teaching that because the Bible is one-third prophecy that this automatically infers that we can put all of the jigsaw puzzle pieces of the end-of-time biblical prophecies together completely ahead of time, sounds commendably logical on its surface according to horizontally conventional thinking, but this viewpoint is not biblically correct (the subject of chapter five).
The parable of the fig tree (Matthew 24:32-35) suggests that Christians must watch for the sprouting of the leaves (end-times events) to know when the end is near. Joel 2:28-32 tells us that in the last days our sons and daughters will prophesy, young men will see visions, and old men shall dream dreams. This implies that there is additional, fill-in-the-gaps, Holy Spirit breathed and validated prophetic information to be revealed at the appropriate future time when this information begins to become applicable. This divinely promised, definitive revelation will be a timely and welcome improvement over the varied opinions and interpretations that have been commendably and honestly debated over the past several centuries.