Discerning The End Times' Catastrophes and Cataclisms
It is alarming to see how the catastrophes and cataclysms of the end times are being misunderstood and mischaracterized when one reads articles or watches video publications on this subject. Some are ultimately conclusions of wrong exegesis that build on previous wrong exegesis, and the authors are unaware that Scripture does not give us leeway to imagined scenarios that are not intended. It is one thing to understand passages differently but it is another to go outside that written and actually invent and promote ideas that come from the recesses of our minds and not from the word of God. Let me give you some examples. Take 2 Thess 2:7 where the passage reads in the KJV: for the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, till he be taken out of the way. There are those who say that it is an error to say that he be taken out of the way, when the very words express that in writting, and they do this on the grounds that this "he" which some even deny is the Holy Spirit can not be taken out of the way for he is omnipresent. In the same breath that they deny that the "he" is the HS say these that "he" can not be taken out (for he is the HS). When one reads the traditional historical commentaries on this, one sees how variable are the understandings, how eccletic the comments and how often it is chosen to not even define who the "he" is, preferring not to venture and say that the only one capable of restraining the mystery of iniquity can only be a supernatural agent, God himself.
To be taken out of the way, does not mean that he is removed, but set out or set aside so that the iniquity may have the freedom to proceed, to move or walk forward. Some commentarists call the restraining 'an influence' that prevents iniquity from having free reign. Without defining the "he", still the verse does not say that he is removed as in the taking somewhere away, but that he ceases to be an impediment. Creating a strawman to then burn him up is deceptive to say the least. When one reads the verse literally, it is quite easy to come up with this conclusion that it means to step to the side. And confusion breeds more confusion so that to build on the former is to build on sinking sand. When the restrainer is removed the world will see the unleashing of the demons as never seen before and not one will be safe.
But let us look at the verses that depict the cataclysms and catastrophes to come: The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: (Joel 2:10). The context is an invasion into Israel (Joel 2), and the people are to blow the sound of the alarm with the trumpet sound, an invasion by an army of such power as never seen before, an army of regimented troops that fall upon a sword and not die (a demonic army, see the parallel passage in Rev. 9:13-21). But the result of the earthquake is that the sun and the moon shall be dark, and this darkness is explained to follow in 2:2: A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations (Joel 2:2).The sunlight and moonlight are not seen because the atmosphere is of thick dark clouds that do not allow their light to penetrate. The context of Revelation 9 is that of the 6th trumpet sound, also called the 2nd Woe and it is a woe for it involves the occult and demonic entities addressed above.
And when we look at Joel 3:14,15 that says, Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The context in this chapter is one of a description of the battle of Armageddon (at the valley of decision or of Jehoshaphat, Joel 3:2) and the chapter says why the there be darkness: The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel (Joel 3:16). It again is a result of an earthquake or shaking of the earth, for this produces sufficient dust and debris so as to form the dark clouds that block the lights. But there is here much more!! Note that this is speaking of the very last day of the Tribulation, as we read in its parallel passage in Revelation 16:
16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon (this is the valley of Jehoshaphat)
17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great. Some comment that Jesus Christ comes on the very last day of the tribulation in order to put an end to men killing each other, but they fail to see that it is the Lord himself that brings in the plague of the hail that kill men, for he prophesied this in Job 38:22,23: Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?
This end time war of Armageddon is that which is referred to in Matthew 24:29,30: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Note the following that the day after the battle at Megiddo, after that the greatest earthquake the world had ever seen occurs (Rev. 16:18) and the plague of the hail been completed, AFTER that, there will again be a blackout of the lights and when in such atmospheric darkness, the sign of the Son of man in heaven, his coming in full glory in the clouds be seen, not in a white horse anymore for he has won the victory and the battle is over. Blackouts are not eclipses and eclipses are not blackouts, and we must distinguish one from the other. Now we can go to Revelation 6:12-14: And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. The sun never became sackcloth but as sackcloth; the moon never became blood but as blood, both as the consequence of a great earthquake that caused a blackout. These are not eclipses, dear readers.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. With the heavens scrolled or rolled together as a garment is removed, no light is coming onto the earth, save that of the glory of the Son of God coming in the clouds.
Why is it so critical that we distinguish the description of an eclipse from that of a blackout, you may ask? Great question I would say! And that is because of the confusion of the purveyors of this obfuscation as it relates to Joel 2:30-31. See for yourself:
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. Note that this is a totally different scenario for it happens BEFORE the great and terrible day of the Lord. God says that these are wonders that he will show, and these are the turning of the sun into darkness (a solar eclipse) and the moon into blood (a lunar eclipse), for it does not say as darkness or as blood. And solar and lunar eclipses can not be simultaneous but certainly be sequential, and these speak of eclipses for they are occurrences on these luminaries, and it does not speak of atmospheric darkness that obstruct their lights. Reader, look up for today we have such eclipses in view: have you not read of the lunar tetrad ( 4 lunar eclipses) and the solar eclipses (one total and one partial) now falling on specific feasts days of the Lord, 2014/2015?? Please watch, watch, which is what we are called to do. The Lord has set the dates, not anyone of us, and as a watchman I tell you to look up!
In other topical studies we have covered, with detailed scriptural references that the day of the Lord is a day of God, and a day of God is 1000 years to man (2 Pet 3:8, 12). The day of the Lord starts with the rapture event of the church (the day of Christ, 2 Thess 2:2) and ends at the end of the 1000 year Millennial reign of Christ. The solar and lunar eclipses of Joel 2:30,31 are pre-tribulation events, and that is why it is said that they occur before the day of the Lord, and why it is said that the sign of his coming in Matthew 24:29 are said to be immediately after the tribulation of those days (post-tribulation second coming of Christ). Joel 2:30, 31 are pretribulation eclipses and Matthew 24:29 are blackouts after the ending of the tribulation. If we do not fix the beginning of the day of the Lord correctly and distinguish between eclipses and blackouts accurately, the rest of your conclusions will be nothing but frustration and confusion.
Another logical way to look at this is understanding that eclipses involve the three planetary entities: the sun, the moon and the earth and as such the lights from the stars are not affected at all. In Joel 2:30,31 we read about the eclipses for no mention is made at all about the lights of the stars. In contradistinction every blackout should block not only the sunlight and the moonlight but the starlights and we find that to be the case. Take Isaiah 13:10 about the destruction of Babylon the base of operation of the antichrist by the Medes (today's Kurds) and written of in Jeremiah 50/51. This verse speaks that the constellations will be darkened. Revelation 6:13, 14 also writes about the events in the stars and of the heaven departed as a scroll is when closed, nothing can be seen. And again Revelation 16 account of the 7th vial judgment that is the substrate for Matthew 24:29 and Mark 13:24,25 and are blackouts for they too involve the stars' lights. And we have not finished with Joel 2:10 tell us that the stars shall withdraw their shining as a consequence of v.2, a thick atmospheric blockout. Finally Joel 3:16 repeat the same effect on the starlights due to a blackout and this is as well directly related to the 7th vial of Revelation 16. I hope this is a blessing to you and if so give God all the glory.