“It Was The Best Of Times”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” and so opens “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens with the setting taking place during the French Revolution.  Likewise, today we might say the same thing.

On one hand we live in a world that is filled with technological marvels that make life much easier and more convenient than anytime in history.  The modern conveniences are too many to fully enumerate but we no longer have to walk or even ride an animal to our destination; we travel by automobile, airplane and sometimes by train, if we feel nostalgic or gas prices interfere with our plans.  There is even discussion about space travel by the everyday man with much fanfare concerning the X Prize.  We hardly cook from scratch anymore; we eat out, we have ready-made meals or we heat it up in the microwave.  Most of us don’t spend time hanging out the laundry; we have clothes dryers that produce dry, fluffy clothes at our command and on our schedule.  Very seldom do we even exercise our minds by using pencil and paper when it comes to math problems; we have calculators to give us the answer.  And the invention of the silicon chip and the computer revolutionized our world by dramatically enhancing our organization, flexibility and productivity, .  Civilization has flourished and man has erected structures, explored depths, achieved medical milestones and increased knowledge beyond anything that we could previously dream.  Truly, it must be the best of times.

On the other hand, we have unrelenting war around the world.  Conflict rages not only in the Middle East but in many other parts of the world that merit little attention to the media.  Terrorist attacks continue unabated despite the efforts of the greatest fighting force on the face of the earth.  Disease and illness arise once again with new pathogens now spreading and threatening human life on an unimaginable scale.  Natural disasters seem to never end with earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis and hurricanes swarming around the globe.  Pestilence and famine never seem to cease despite our ever-increasing abilities to feed the multitude and eradicate agricultural pests.  Moral values have been thrown out the window and the struggle to keep God in society has divided our land.  Human life has been devalued to the point that we no longer blanch at the idea of throwing new life out with today’s garbage.  Hatred flourishes with people calling for the destruction of their perceived enemies.  Ignorance cannot be overcome.  Truly, it must be the worst of times.

A day is coming when, without a doubt, it will be the worst of times.  I believe that following the pre-Tribulation rapture of the church, there will arise a person of such power, authority and persuasion that the entire world will stand in awe of him.  He will be able to instantly command the attention and adoration of the masses and will convince them that he is the answer to all of the world’s problems.  In fact, his diplomatic abilities will enable him to broker a peace accord between Israel and her enemies ensuring Israel’s survival for a period of seven years.  Eventually he will be indwelt by Satan.  That period is known as the “Tribulation Period.”  This person of undeniable power is known as the “antichrist.”

The antichrist has been mentioned in the Bible and is specifically identified not just as a personage but also as a spirit.  Contrary to what many may believe, the antichrist, at least in spirit, has presented himself throughout the ages.  With this presentation, it is prophesied that we are living during the last hours of history.


1 John 2:18

**New International Version

King James Version

18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.


18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.



In fact, it has been surmised that since Satan is not omniscient, he must prepare an antichrist for each generation.  This may explain why certain individuals have been recognized as forerunners of the antichrist, i.e. Nero, Hitler, etc., and who could, in fact, been the antichrist if the time had been right.

While the personage of the antichrist has not yet been presented for the end times conflict, the spirit of the antichrist is alive and well.  The spirit of the antichrist manifests itself by failing to confess that Jesus Christ is of God.  The Bible recognizes that the spirit of the antichrist is in the world and has been since the New Testament was penned.


1 John 4:3

** New International Version

King James Version

3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.


3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.


The spirit of the antichrist is not limited to just one person and that spirit acts to deceive.  Rather than coming out in direct opposition to the cause of Christ, the antichrist attempts to copy the personage of Jesus.  The antichrist knows that people are looking for someone to lead them, to inspire them and to save them from the perils of this world.  Therefore, they will be drawn to someone who falsely embodies the savior that they anticipate; that person, in these last days, will be the antichrist and not Jesus Christ of the Bible.


2 John 1:7

**New International Version

King James Version

7 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.


7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.


Quite to the contrary as shown above, the deceivers, chief of whom is the antichrist, will deny that Jesus Christ is coming again.  Denial of the prophesied Second Coming of Christ stands in direct contravention of scripture and as such, seeks to replace the King of Kings with the prince of the power of the air (Satan).


The Book of Revelation commences with John addressing the seven churches in Asia starting with the church at Ephesus and ending with the church at Laodicea.  Commencing in Chapter 6 of the book, the prophecy foresees the advent of the antichrist with him coming on a white horse holding only a bow and no arrows, wearing a crown and bent on conquest.  Many believe that this prophecy (the first of the seven seal judgments) foretells the conquest of the world by the antichrist using his powers of diplomacy.  Thereafter, the remaining six seal judgments take place being war, famine, pestilence, death of the martyrs, a great earthquake coupled with signs in the heavens (the wrath of the Lamb) and finally, a judgment so great that there is silence in heaven when the seventh seal is opened.

Next follows the seven trumpet judgments starting with a deluge of fire mixed with blood falling from heaven which incinerates one-third of the earth, trees and grass.  The next trumpet judgments follow with a mountain (presumably an asteroid or very large meteorite) being thrown into the sea destroying one third of life in the sea along with one third of the ships and turning the water into blood; another celestial body falling to earth turning one third of the fresh water supply bitter; the natural light coming from the sun, moon and starts being diminished by one third; the release of locust-like being from the abyss sent specifically to torment the unbelievers who do not have the sign of God on their foreheads; the release of the four beings previously bound at the Euphrates River resulting in the death of one third of mankind; and, a terrible earthquake destroying one-tenth of Jerusalem and killing 7,000 of its inhabitants followed thereafter by the last trumpet judgment sounding the commencement of the bowl judgments.

After the trumpet judgments have been let upon the earth and commencing in Chapter 16 of the Book of Revelation, the wrath of God is then to be poured out in the form of the bowl judgments.  These judgments take the form of ugly and painful sores afflicting those who have taken the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image; the turning of the seas into blood killing every living thing contained therein; the turning of the remaining fresh water supply into blood; the sun scorching people with intense heat; the plunging of the kingdom of the antichrist into darkness accompanied by intense pain; the drying up of the Euphrates River making way for the kings of the east; and, the grand finale with a great earthquake splitting Jerusalem into thirds, collapsing the cities of the earth, destroying all islands and mountain ranges and the heavens raining down hailstones weighing about 100 pounds each.

With all of this, we still have not discussed the final battle between Jesus Christ and the powers of darkness commonly known as “Armageddon” which is believed will take place in the Valley of Megiddo.

There are times that we become despondent from the state of the world and the events that seem to be beyond our control.  We witness disaster after disaster and we see people suffering; yet, what we have witnessed is nothing in comparison to what is to come.

There are people known as “survivalists” who plan for the ultimate destruction of mankind by taking every precaution.  They store up supplies and munitions; they prepare places of refuge; they prepare to flee; they make elaborate plans hoping to be prepared when disaster strikes and anarchy reigns.  Yet, it is written that :

Revelation 6:15-17

** New International Version

King James Version

. 15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"


15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?


When that fateful day finally comes, there will be no safe place, no island of refuge, no ability to flee from the wrath of Almighty God.

In fact, the problems will be so immense and the challenges and suffering so great that men will yearn for death as a release.  They will actively seek it but it will elude them.  Pain will take on a whole new meaning and there will be no way to avoid it.

Revelation 9:6

** New International Version

King James Version

6 During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.


6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.


There are those who will say (or think) that this is all a scare tactic designed to force those who do not believe into making a decision for Christ; however, that is not the case at all.  I stand firm in my belief that all of the things that have been prophesied concerning the end times and the judgments set forth in the Book of Revelation will take place.  Why?  The reason is because all of the other Biblical prophesies have taken place.  The mathematical probabilities just pertaining to the birth of Jesus are staggering and there are many more that have been fulfilled throughout history. 

Can I prove beyond a “shadow of a doubt” that these things mentioned above will transpire?  No, I cannot.  However, I believe that if I were to make my case in a court of law using any burden of proof under the law, i.e. beyond a reasonable doubt, clear and convincing evidence or a mere preponderance of the evidence, I would be able to make my case based upon the reliability of the Biblical text and the historical proofs thereof.  If that is the case, then what I have stated is not a scare tactic designed to coerce people into professing a conviction that they really do not feel, but instead is a warning of what is to come.  I believe that it is a factual statement of God’s design for the future and it is a design predicated upon love, not upon hate.  God, even during the course of the Tribulation Period, will desire that people turn to Him and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  He simply will have reached the point where everything else has been tried and in one last attempt, He will try to convince man of the folly of his ways.

God’s most sincere wish is for reconciliation with His people and the establishment of a relationship with all.  He loves His creation, including the sinner, but He is torn because of Who He is.  He is holy, just and perfect.  His righteousness exceeds any standard established by mortal man.  No matter the degree of the love, He cannot and will not tolerate sin in His presence.  Faced with this dilemma, God did what only He could do.  He stepped out of eternity to beseech mankind to accept His offer of love and acceptance.  That is why:

John 3:16

** New International Version

King James Version

. 16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


“Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friend.”  (John 15:13).  Thank you, God, for being my friend.


** A modern language quote is provided for readability, but every effort should be made to understand the accompanying KJV version believed by many to be a more accurate representation of the original scripture.

Comments or questions may be directed to the author at info@rapturenext.com.