This is the second item in the sequence of future events mentioned in the Bible. The disappearance of so many people (the Rapture – the first event) will undoubtedly bewilder everyone else. It will take a huge amount of effort to untangle the mess of accidents, lost records, and so on. Let us see what are the prominent features of the seventieth week.
The rise of the Antichrist:
The Bible says that a world leader will arise. He is referred to in scripture as the prince, the beast, etc. Students of the Bible have coined the term "Antichrist" to refer to him. The Bible supplies the following details regarding him:-
- In Daniel we're told that the "people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary" (Daniel 9:26). We know that this was fulfilled in AD 70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem (the city) and the Temple (the sanctuary). So the Antichrist should be of Roman descent.
- He will make a covenant with Israel (Daniel 9:27). This signals the start of the seventieth week. He will be able to broker that elusive peace deal between the Israelis and the Arabs. However, Israel's readiness to make this covenant with the Antichrist is a big mistake – God strongly disapproves of it, as we can infer from Isaiah 28:15-18
- After 3.5 years, he'll break the covenant. He will stop the Jewish sacrifices and desecrate the temple (Daniel 9:27). He will want worship as god (2 Thessalonians 2:4). He blasphemes God (Revelation 13:5,6)
- He will be accompanied by a false prophet, "another beast" (Revelation 13:11) who arises "out of the earth", a reference to Israel (how?). Thus, this will be an Israeli leader who supports the Antichrist. This person has been described as an irresponsible shepherd (Zechariah 11:16,17).
- This false prophet will perform signs and wonders (Revelation 13:13) and urges people, especially his Israeli countrymen to make and worship the image of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:14,15). Religious Israelis of course, will have nothing to do with idolatry, and they will meet with terrible persecution – "a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time:" (Daniel 12:1). These future phenomena are amplifications of two trends that already exist today: international hatred and bias against Israel, and the treachery of Israeli leftist elites who typically take the side of the enemies of the Jews.
- The false prophet and Antichrist will make it compulsory for everyone to receive a mark on their right hand or forehead without which no financial transaction will be possible (Revelation 13:16,17).
God will pour out judgments on the earth in the form of seals, trumpets and vials (See Revelation 6:1 to Revelation 12:1)
- Seal 1 (Revelation 6:1): A white horse that conquers
- Seal 2 (Revelation 6:3): A red horse that takes away peace from earth
- Seal 3 (Revelation 6:5): A black horse messes up the price of barley and wheat.
- Seal 4 (Revelation 6:7): A pale horse accompanied by death and hell (hades) wrecks havoc on earth
- Seal 5 (Revelation 6:9): John sees the martyrs. The words "killed as they were" suggest that these are martyrs of the seventieth week.
- Seal 6 (Revelation 6:12): Sun became black, moon as blood, stars (perhaps meteors) fall down. Verse 14 (as also Isaiah 24:20) suggests that the earth's orbit may change.
- Seal 7: Silence, 7 trumpets seen.
- Trumpet 1 (Revelation 8:7): Hail, fire and blood burn a third of all the trees and grass
- Trumpet 2 (Revelation 8:8): A fiery mountain falls into the sea killing a third of all marine life.
- Trumpet 3 (Revelation 8:10): Wormwood falls on the rivers and pollutes the water.
- Trumpet 4 (Revelation 8:12): A third part of the sun, moon and stars darkened.
- Trumpet 5 [Woe 1] (Revelation 9:1): Locusts unleashed from the bottomless pit.
- Trumpet 6 [Woe 2] (Revelation 9:13): Four angels loosed from Euphrates. An army of 200 million horsemen kills a third of all men.
- Trumpet 7 [Woe 3] (Revelation 11:15): Worship in heaven; seven last vials with plagues.
- Vial 1 (Revelation 16:2): Grievous sore on those tho worshiped the beast
- Vial 2 (Revelation 16:3): Sea becomes blood. Marine life dies.
- Vial 3 (Revelation 16:4): Rivers and fountains become blood.
- Vial 4 (Revelation 16:8): Sun scorches men
- Vial 5 (Revelation 16:10): Darkness on the beast's kingdom
- Vial 6 (Revelation 16:12): Euphrates dried up to make way for the kings of the East.
- Vial 7 (Revelation 16:17): Earthquake, lightning, thunder, hail, cities fall, geologic upheavals.
The two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-12):-
- They prophesy for 1260 days.
- They defend themselves with fire coming out of their mouths.
- They have the power to smite the earth with plagues, stop rain and so on.
- They will be killed by "the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit" to the great thrill of their audience and the whole world. However, after three and a half days they will be resurrected and they'll ascend to heaven.
- Too bad we're not told their names! There's been endless speculation regarding the prospect of Moses, Elijah or Enoch being the witnesses.
The Israeli servants of God:
There will also be a group of 144,000 Israelis (Revelation 7), 12000 from each tribe (so much for the lost tribes!). We're not explicitly told what their role will be, but at all other times, the servants of God have been involved in telling others about Him, so this is probably what they will do. Their ministry will be very effective – there is "a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues...who came out of the great tribulation" (Revelation 7:9,14) that apparently believe on God during the seventieth week due to the ministry of these Israeli servants of God. It is interesting to note that the tribe of Dan is absent from this list. The ancient Danites were skilled with metal work (see Exodus 31:6 and 2 Chronicles 2:14 for example) but they seem to have perverted this into idolatry (see Judges 17:1 onwards) - perhaps this has something to do with their absence in this list.
The Great Whore and the Great Commercial Centre
In Revelation 17, we see a harlot riding the beast. A harlot is a counterfeit bride, and the true bride is the church (Ephesians 5:32). Therefore, the harlot must represent counterfeit Christianity, of which the Roman Catholic Church is the dominant element. Details. In Revelation 18, there is a city – evidently the headquarters of commerce in the kingdom of the beast. Zechariah 5:5-11 suggests that this great commercial center will be in Shinar (Iraq). God destroys this evil city. More details
The demand of the beast (Antichrist) for worship and his desecration of the Jewish temple will lead to opposition from the Jews. Many of them will realize that Evolution Theory and atheism (the current dominating beliefs in Israel) are false, and that there is a God, and that they are His people. This will prompt the Antichrist to unleash a persecution against Israel much worse than the Nazi holocaust. These developments are described in Daniel 11, Revelation 16, etc. There is a build up to a climax which is: