1And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua. And he took her, and went in unto her. 3And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er. 4And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan. 5And she yet again bare a son, and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him. 6And Judah took a wife for Er his first-born, and her name was Tamar. 7And Er, Judah’s first-born, was wicked in the sight of Jehovah. And Jehovah slew him. 8And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her, and raise up seed to thy brother. 9And Onan knew that the seed would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest he should give seed to his brother. 10And the thing which he did was evil in the sight of Jehovah: and he slew him also. 11Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter-in-law, Remain a widow in thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown up; for he said, Lest he also die, like his brethren. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house (ASV 1901).
Judah, who was aligned with Reuben in steering the other sons of Jacob away from killing Joseph left them and travelled to Adullam. This was a town in the Judean lowlands southwest of Bethlehem. It later in the invasion under general Joshua was made a part of the tribal inheritance of Judah and it was also associated with the life of David (I Samuel 22: 1-2 etc.). Judah must have had a disagreement with his siblings regarding the disposition of Joseph because he chose not to stay with them. This account will span a time frame of approximately twenty-three years.
In Adullam Judah meets and befriends a man named Hirah. Through Hirah he is introduced to Shua who has a marriageable daughter. So he marries this unnamed Canaanite woman and ends up having three children with her. Interestingly, both Abraham and Isaac went to great lengths to prevent their children from marrying Canaanite women. Esau of course violated that and intermarried with the Canaanites and the Ishmaelites. Judah who was of the chosen family line began the intermarriages into the Canaanites. The text simply says that he took her, and went in unto her. He then had three sons by her: Er (עֵר), Onan, and Shelah. Judah named Er and his wife named Onan and Shelah since he was away in the nearby town of Chezib. Hebrew naming shows the parents wish to commemorate some meaningful event through the child’s name. Er means forsaken or lonely. Onan means sorrow and Shelah means deception. This seems to indicate that Judah was quite remorseful over the events that brought Joseph into slavery into Egypt.
When Er was grown he was married to a woman named Tamar. The text further tells us that he was wicked in the sight of Jehovah. The Hebrew word for wicked is ra רַע. It is a designation of a degree of wickedness that merits divine retribution. And in this case his death was the result of Jehovah God taking his life in some undisclosed manner. Jehovah who knows all things was keeping Tamar from this evil man. As a result of his death Judah instructs the second born son Onan to do his duty and “Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her, and raise up seed to thy brother.” This concept is called the law of levirate marriage. It was codified into the Mosaic Law and became a standard practice (Deuteronomy 25: 5-6, Ruth 4: 5-6; Matthew 22: 24). The idea was to keep the name of the individual who died through his son. This would also preserve an in family transfer of land and material wealth. The first-born son would be the heir and would also have an obligation along with the new husband to care for the widow. Widows in ancient Israel would be forced to beg without this law. So in this way the widow was protected from becoming destitute. Finally, the son would keep the family name alive even though the father was not alive to propagate. One clear example of this is the marriage of Ruth to Boaz
Summer (Boaz and Ruth) by Nicholas Poussin cir. 1660-64
Deuteronomy 25: 5-6
5If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her. 6And it shall be, that the first-born that she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother that is dead, that his name be not blotted out of Israel (ASV 1901).
Onan seemed to have no qualms against marrying Tamar Er’s widow. He seemed to accept the easy part of having sexual intercourse with her and accepting his inheritance. Er was first born so he would have gotten Judah’s estate when he passed. Er realized this and complied with Judah’s instructions. However, Onan realized that the children would not be his per se but that of Er’s so during intercourse with Tamar he continually withdrew from her before he deposited his semen into her. Thus, she was not allowed to become pregnant. Some mistakenly teach through this example here that God prohibits contraception. The sin here was, Onan did not want to obey his father and honor his brother by taking up the responsibility that was given to him. Because his sin was in the same category of wickedness of his brother Er the Lord executed His divine will and caused him to die too. Tamar was now a widow again and Judah instructed her to “Remain a widow in thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown up; for he said, Lest he also die, like his brethren.” Judah was certainly considering Tamar to have some major issue that both her husbands received divine executions. So he told her that when his third son Shelah was of age she could have him in levirate because he feared that Jehovah would take him too. Judah had no intention of letting Tamar marry Shelah because of the curse he thought she had. She trusted Judah and went to her father’s home to live and wait for Shelah to come of age and marry her.
The Strange Case of Tamar and Judah
Judah and Tamar by Arent de Gelder Cir 1667
Genesis 38: 12-26
12And in process of time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheep-shearers to Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold, thy father-in-law goeth up to Timnah to shear his sheep. 14And she put off from her the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gate of Enaim, which is by the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she was not given unto him to wife. 15When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot; for she had covered her face. 16And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Come, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee: for he knew not that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me? 17And he said, I will send thee a kid of the goats from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? 18And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet and thy cord, and thy staff that is in thy hand. And he gave them to her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him. 19And she arose, and went away, and put off her veil from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20And Judah sent the kid of the goats by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not. 21Then he asked the men of her place, saying, Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the wayside? And they said, There hath been no prostitute here. 22And he returned to Judah, and said, I have not found her; and also the men of the place said, There hath been no prostitute here. 23And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be put to shame: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her. 24And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter-in-law hath played the harlot; and moreover, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. 25When she was brought forth, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff. 26And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She is more righteous than I; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more. (ASV 1901)
So time passed and Judah was making no effort to arrange another levirate marriage between Shelah and Tamar who desired children and not wanting to make a career of widowhood. She was still a young woman. Judah’s wife died and he went through a period of ritual mourning as the text says that and Judah was comforted. Later he and his friend Hirah went up to the sheep-shearers. This was a festive time for them and Judah now done with mourning was going to join in the party atmosphere.
Tamar became aware of Judah’s travel to the party with the sheep shearers with Hirah and she devised a plan to force him into a role of a levir for her. In her contrivance she planned to entrap him. She changed out of her widow’s clothes and made herself appear as an adherent of Astarte, which was a sacred prostitute. She then put on a veil, which had several connotations of that day. Brides principally wore them on their wedding night and so did prostitutes wanting to appear as a wholesome bride. So a veiled woman in public gave off the message that she was a prostitute available for sexual intercourse. She had essentially dressed herself as a cult prostitute and waited for Judah to appear at the city gate of Enaim. Her actions while retaliatory for not getting Shelah put her into a doubly sinful situation. She was legally betrothed to Shelah regardless of what Judah was preventing and she was planning on an incestuous relationship with Judah.
When Judah saw her he was enticed by her. She played the role of seductress and lured him into a sexual union. It was Judah who suggested the sex when he said to her, ”Come, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee: for he knew not that she was his daughter-in-law.” He was coming off a period of mourning and was exceptionally vulnerable to temptation of this sort and didn’t realize that this was his daughter-in-law in disguise. Tamar who played the role of a prostitute asked for payment for gratifying his sexual desires. This was a normal request from a prostitute. She says, “What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?” He promised her a kid of the goats of the flock at a later time for sexual favors now, but she did not trust him and wanted something of more significance as a promissory to pay. She was actually looking for something to provide as evidence proving him to be the father of the child who would come from the union. So Judah asks, “What pledge shall I give thee? She being very savvy says to him in response, “Thy signet and thy cord, and thy staff that is in thy hand.” These three items had identifying significance for her to later prove who the father’s child was. The signet was used to seal documents, the cord was a necklace that the ring was kept on, and the staff in his hand established his profession. So she received them and she had sex with him, after which she became pregnant. She then left, removed the veil and put back on the widow’s clothes.
Judah then tried to make good on the promise to give her a goat kid. He sent Hirah to her with the payment. He of course wanted his personal items back, which she was holding as a deposit. When Hirah was unable to find her he begins asking the men of her place, saying,” Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the wayside?” they just said, “There hath been no prostitute here.” Hirah tried to honor Judah’s commitment to pay her and when that failed he returned to Judah with the kid. Judah decided to forget the entire incident.
Now comes the revelation to Judah of what actually happened. After three months when Tamar is just entering her second trimester a report was given to Judah that Tamar had become a harlot and she is pregnant as a result of her prostitute activities. So Judah still not knowing that he impregnated her says in response to learning what she did, “Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.” He was the patriarch of the clan and had a right to do this since she was guilty of prostitution. During the trial she pleaded, “By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff.” Judah then had to confess when he was exposed and simply admitted his guilt by saying, “She is more righteous than I; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.”
Tamar Presents her proof Artist Unknown
Twins are Born to Judah and Tamar
Genesis 38: 27-30
28And it came to pass, when she travailed, that one put out a hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first. 29And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, Wherefore hast thou made a breach for thyself? Therefore his name was called Perez. 30And afterward came out his brother that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zerah. (ASV 1901)
This section of Scripture regarding the story of Judah and Tamar ends with the birth of twin sons. When they were about to be born one put his hand out of the womb and the midwife tied a scarlet thread on his hand to indicate he was the first born. However he drew his hand back in and returned into the womb. So the second one was born first. This caused the midwife to say, “Wherefore hast thou made a breach for thyself?” This is a Hebrew play on words, which means you breached a breach or you forged through. This is the meaning of the name Perez who was the first-born. He became a seed son of the Messianic line (Ruth 4: 12, 18-22; Matthew 1:3; Luke 3:33). The second son then came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand and he was named Zerah meaning the shining one probably due to the scarlet thread. This account while seemingly out of place in the story of Joseph traces the Messianic line. It also shows that they were intermarrying into the Canaanites. This is one of the reasons God took Judah and the rest of the family into Egypt. Finally there is a strong contrast illustrated here between Judah and Joseph. One brother was resisting temptation and the other caving in to it.
The Millennium (also called the Theocratic Kingdom, or the Messianic Kingdom) does not start right away at the close of the Great Tribulation. Scripture tells us that the duration of the first half of the Great Tribulation is 1,260 days (3 ½ years). This is the length of the time between two significant events. They are the signing of the covenant with Israel by the Antichrist, initiating the Great Tribulation, and the Abomination of Desolation being set up in the Temple, which is the mid point event. Scripture also tells us that the last half of the Tribulation will be 1,260 days counting from the Abomination of Desolation to the demise of the Antichrist. These two sets of 3 ½ years each equal a total of seven years. When comparing several Scripture passages, that reference the Great Tribulation’s duration, another specific time interval is noted. This is a seventy-five day interval at the end of the Great Tribulation and prior to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. The interval is described in Daniel, and the differences in numbers are intentional, they are not scribal error:
“11And from the time that the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand and two hundred and ninety days .12Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days .” (KJV, brackets added)
The Daniel passage gives us two additional figures. The first is 1,290 days, or an additional thirty days, during which time the Abomination of Desolation will remain in the Temple before it is removed. The second figure is 1,335 days, which is another 45 days beyond the 1,290 and 75 days beyond the 1,260 days. A special blessing is pronounced upon those who survive to the 1,335th day. The blessing is, for those who survive, to be able to enter into the Messianic Kingdom. Many will not make it that far, even though they made it to the end of the Tribulation. The events and the time intervals are illustrated on the following chart:
75 Day Interval Chart by Daniel Woodhead
There are nine events that occur during this 75-day period are:
The removal of the Abomination of Desolation from the Temple.
The final destination of the Antichrist.
The final destination of the False Prophet.
The binding of Satan.
The judgment of the Gentiles.
The resurrection of the Old Testament Saints.
The resurrection of the Tribulation Saints.
The Marriage Feast of the Lamb (this is the formal start of the Millennium)
1. The Removal of the Abomination of Desolation
The pivotal event, which signals the mid-point of the Great Tribulation, is the Antichrist’s takeover of the Jewish Temple. He breaks his covenant with the Jews, and declares himself “The Almighty God” (II Thessalonians 2:4). He also begins a serious persecution of the Jews, which will last for 1,260 days. The False Prophet sets up an inanimate image of the Antichrist in the Temple and Satan, through the False Prophet, causes it to become alive. The Antichrist is in control of the world for those 1,260 days and then he will be killed. The image stays in the Temple for additional thirty days.
“11And from the time that the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand and two hundred and ninety days.” (KJV)
The desecration of the Jewish Temple continues an additional thirty days beyond the end of the Great Tribulation. It will then be destroyed, which brings the Abomination of Desolation to an end. It is not clear why God allows the Abomination of Desolation to remain in the Temple for 30 days after the Great Tribulation ends.
2. The Judgment of the Gentiles
The Olivet Discourse of Jesus to His inner circle of Peter, James, John, and Andrew comes to an end with the Judgment of the Gentiles. Even though a significant number of Gentiles will be killed during the Great Tribulation (and their armies will be slaughtered in the Campaign of Armageddon) some will make it through alive. They will be gathered together for the purpose of a special judgment.
There are two passages of Scripture that give the insight into the Judgment of the Gentiles:
“31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations:33and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth [his] sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed [thee]? or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me. 41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (KJV)
This passage confirms the timing of the judgment, which will be after the Second Coming of the Messiah, when the Throne of David will be set up as described in verse 31 above.
The place of the judgment is not given in this passage, but the prophet Joel does discuss it:
“1For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring back the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, 2I will gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will execute judgment upon them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations: 3and they have parted my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have given a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they may drink.” (KJV, underlining added)
This judgment that will take place just outside the City of Jerusalem, in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which lies between the city and the Mount of Olives.
Ancient City of Jerusalem and Valley of Jehosaphat.
Joel also confirms that this judgment is to occur near the time of the restoration of the Nation Israel, which is at the end of the Great Tribulation. All the Gentiles surviving after the war will be gathered into the Valley of Jehoshaphat for the judgment. This is the same place on the east of the Temple Mount next to the Mount of Olives where the final battle took place. The term “Gentiles” is the same as “all nations”. This judgment will be for the purpose of determining their individual final destination of eternal life or eternal hell. Therefore, it is a very serious event. The basis for the judgment will be how they treated the Jews during the Tribulation. The sins cited by Joel include: scattering the Jews in the middle of the Great Tribulation, parting the land during the Campaign of Armageddon, and selling the Jews into slavery (Zechariah 14:1-2).
Each Gentile will be judged on the basis his or her participation in, or refusal to participate in, these actions. The Lord Jesus gave us the results of the judgment during the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 25:31-46). He identifies the judge, the judgment, and those who are judged in Matthew’s gospel:
“31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: 33and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth [his] sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” (KJV)
Jesus (“Son of man”) is the judge who will sit on a throne in the all His glory in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
The subjects of the judgment are individuals, and not a judgment of nations (verses 32-33). The Greek word for “nations” is ethnos, which is Strong’s #1484, and it means “all those who are not Jews”. In other words it means the Gentiles. The word “nations” is the common term for Gentiles used in the Bible. All the Gentiles who survive the Tribulation, and the Campaign of Armageddon, will be gathered into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and will then be separated by the Messiah. There are three specific groups mentioned in this passage: the “sheep” Gentiles, the “goat” Gentiles, and the “brethren”. Some Gentiles are brought to His right-hand side and are called “sheep”, and those Gentiles brought to His left-hand side are called “goats”. Note the positional aspect of the decision, being put to the right or left side of Jesus the Judge. The pro-Jewish Gentiles are known as the “sheep” camp and the anti-Jewish Gentiles are known as the “goat” camp. Matthew also discusses the pro-Jewish sheep camp:
“34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed [thee]? or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.” (KJV)
“The Sheep” - Gentiles Helping The Jews
Jesus describes those who helped His “brethren”, the Jews, during the Great Tribulation as “sheep”. Remember, the church had not yet been formed when Christ’s Olivet Discourse was given. Therefore, His usage of the term “brethren” in this context refers to the Jews. These Gentiles will be putting themselves in mortal danger, just as it was during World War II when the Nazis were hunting the Jews and killing those non-Jews who hid or aided them. The Jews will flee into the wilderness without provisions. The pro-Jewish “sheep” will provide them with food, clothing and shelter. They will visit them in prison, and in general show kindness toward them. The result of their judgment is being given permission to enter into the Messianic Kingdom. It is the “sheep” Gentiles who will be involved in the destruction of Babylon (Isaiah 13:1-5). They will be the “resistance fighters” who are instrumental in overthrowing the one-world government that will be headquartered at Babylon.
Some have tried to interpret the term “brethren” as referring to saints in general, but this makes the passage meaningless. If the “brethren” are saints in general, then who are the “sheep” since they too have eternal life? It would be very confusing to make both the “sheep” and the “brethren” as saints of the same order. From this context alone, it should be very evident that the “brethren” must refer to Jewish people because the saints are the “sheep” and the unsaved are the “goats”. Furthermore, the parallel passage of Joel 3:1-3 makes it certain that these “brethren” are the Jewish people of the Great Tribulation. The term “brethren” here is used in the sense of “brethren in the flesh.” The fact that only Matthew records this segment of the Olivet Discourse also teaches the same truth. Matthew’s gospel was directed at a Jewish audience, and since his is the most “Jewish” of the Gospels, his primary concern has been how the Messiah’s coming will affect the Jewish people.
The “sheep”, which are pro-Jewish, are clearly stated to be the “righteous” ones. Will they be saved because they are pro-Jewish? This cannot be true because that would make their salvation be based on their works, and not the work of God. This passage is an example of James 2:14-26, that distinguishes between perfecting one’s faith through our works, as compared to one who is basing their salvation only on faith without any works. Because these Gentiles are already believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, they will refuse to do the commands of the Antichrist to destroy the Jews. So, while Jews will undergo a great persecution, these believing Gentiles will do what they can to help the Jews under these conditions. A believer will follow Christ’s commandments, and will not follow the Antichrist. Their works toward the Messiah’s “brethren” will prove their faith. They will be allowed to enter into the Messianic Kingdom because they are saved Gentiles, and they will be the ones to populate the Gentile nations during the Messianic Kingdom (vv.34-40).
The “Goats” - Gentiles Who Harmed The Jews
On the other hand, the “goats” will be the anti-Jewish Gentiles who, because of their unbelief in Jesus, will join the ranks of the persecutors under the Antichrist’s authority. They will show their lack of faith by their works. They are the ones who will not be “watching”, “ready” or “laboring”, in violation of the five parables. For this reason they will be left out of the Messianic Kingdom:
41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me.” (KJV)
They will be killed and sent directly to Hell. This judgment is not judging them on works, but whether or not they believed in the Messiah, and sends those who harmed the Jews to Hell.
3. The Antichrist’s Final destination
Revelation 19:20 makes is quite clear the Antichrist will meet his final demise:
“20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (KJV)
The text states that the Antichrist will be “cast alive” into the Lake of Fire. The Antichrist is killed at the end of the Great Tribulation and while his body will not be buried, his soul will be in Hell (Habakkuk 3:13b; II Thessalonians 2:8; Isaiah14:3-11; 16-21). As armed forces of the Antichrist flee Christ’s slaughter, his body will be trampled under their feet (Isaiah 14:19-21). So if the text states that he will be “cast alive into a lake of fire”, he must come back to life in order for that to occur. There is the Second Resurrection and it only applies to the resurrection of the damned (those who did not accept Christ when they had the opportunity), which like the First Resurrection also comes in stages. Jesus, the second person of the Holy Trinity, is the “first fruits” of the First Resurrection. Interestingly, the Antichrist will be the “first fruits” of the Second Resurrection. The result of his resurrection will end with his eternal destiny in the Lake of Fire.
3a. The Lake of Fire
The “lake of fire burning with brimstone” is that which Christ referred as Gehenna, and is also called the Lake of Fire (Matthew 5:22, 29-30, 10:28, 18:9, 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5). The Greek work for the Lake of Fire is Gehenna, and is named for the Valley of Hinnom just south of Jerusalem. It was at this site that the Jews offered their children to god Molech (II Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31; 19:2-6). In later times it served as a continually burning garbage dump, and therefore provided the imagery that the Bible uses to describe the place of everlasting punishment. The Lake of Fire is where all those who do not believe in Christ will reside forever. The Lake of Fire is where the contents of Hell will be deposited. Hell is a place of a spiritual punishment. The Lake of Fire will be a place of punishment for the resurrected bodies of the unbelievers and their spirits. Being thrown into the Lake of Fire is the Second Death, and is the final destination of the wicked.
3b. The False Prophet
According to Revelation 19:20 the False Prophet will have a counterfeit gift of performing miracles for the sole purpose of deceiving the world so that they worship the Antichrist (beast) and take his mark of 666.
“20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (KJV)
He will be “cast alive” into the Lake of Fire along with the Antichrist. These two members of the “unholy trinity” (the Antichrist masquerading as the counterfeit “son”, and the false prophet masquerading as the counterfeit “holy spirit”) will the only occupants for the first 1,000 years that the Lake of Fire will be operational. What a appropriate destiny for the two men who instituted Hell on earth for seven years!
4a. Satan’s Binding
Satan, who masquerades as the counterfeit father in the “unholy trinity”, will be cast into the abyss.
“1And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” (KJV)
Here we see the binding of Satan, who was cherub and of the highest order of celestial beings in Heaven. The one who does the binding is a common angel, who is the lowest order of celestial beings in Heaven. How fitting for Satan who was the highest of the highest rank of celestial beings to be bound by one from the lowest rank! Satan will be bound for 1,000 years, which is the duration of the Millennial Kingdom on earth. He will no longer be free to be the great deceiver of mankind. He will reside in the Abyss. The binding is done with the promise that Satan will be released for a short time to again test mankind at least one more time.
4b. The Abyss
The New Testament tells us that this is the temporary dwelling place of the imprisoned demons (Revelation 9:1-21). In classical Greek it is the adjective abussos. It refers to an “unfathomable or boundlessly deep place”. Many of the demons that Jesus expelled from the earth were committed to the abyss. They dreaded going there before their appointed time (Luke 8:31). Millions of them will be let loosed during the Great Tribulation in two separate invasions to wreck havoc on the earth. At this time they begin to appear so the human population can see them. Up until this time, when the fifth and sixth trumpets are sounded, the demonic world is unseen to the human eye (Revelation 9).
5. The First Resurrection
The first resurrection involves only believers and it is found in Revelation 20:
5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (KJV)
According to verse five, the resurrection of the Great Tribulation saints completes the First Resurrection. It is separated from the Second Resurrection by one thousand years. The whole point of verse six states that the First Resurrection involves only believers, and that is why it is a “blessed” event for those who participate in it.
It is important for us to realize that the First Resurrection is not a general resurrection of all the dead at one time. The Bible teaches in 1 Corinthians 15: 20-23 that it is an orderly sequence and occurs in the five stages:
1 Corinthians 15:20-23
“20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. 21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.” (KJV)
This shows that all of the Christians shall live again, or be resurrected, and that there is an orderly progression to the stages of this resurrection. After declaring that a resurrection of the righteous will occur in verse 23, Paul states that the righteous will be resurrected each “in his own order”. The word “order” is a military term used to describe the orderly procession of troops marching to battle (in Greek it is tagma). It always refers to an orderly procession such as the movement of troops, or an orderly procession of the priests in the Old Testament. The central point of this passage is that there is an orderly, and sequential process, to the first resurrection, and includes these five stages:
The First Resurrection Stages
6. The Resurrection of Old Testament Saints
We must keep in mind that the Rapture only includes the Church, that is, those who have accepted Jesus of Nazareth and confessed His name before other men on this earth:
“9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (KJV)
This verse, along with many others, further refines and gives explicit instruction in how to actualize our faith. We must tell others what has taken place in our hearts. It is similar to being obedient, and carrying out the commandment to be baptized. Both are outward signs attesting to the transformation that the Lord has brought about within us. So those, who have done this prior to the Great Tribulation, will have already gone up to Heaven to meet the Lord in the air at the time of the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
The following two passages speak about believers from the Old Testament times who loved God, and who were waiting for His coming in the flesh. However, they died prior to Christ appearing on the planet. This is not to say they kept the Law, it means that they believed God and took Him at His Word. The Old Testament saints were the righteous ones waiting for the Lord’s appearing, like Simeon was in Luke 2:25. They will be rewarded for their belief:
“19Thy dead shall live; my dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast forth the dead.” (KJV)
This passage states that the Old Testament saints were guaranteed a resurrection, but it does not say when. Other verses bring the concept into clearer focus for us:
“2And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.” (KJV)
This passage draws a very clear distinction between the righteous and the unrighteous. Within the context of the twelfth chapter of Daniel, this verse is speaking of a particular time at the “end.” It is addressed to the Jews who are identified as “your people” (Daniel 12:1). Only the righteous will be resurrected at this time to partake in the blessing of the Millennial Kingdom. These are also known as “the friends of the bridegroom” spoken of by John the Baptist (John 3:29). Since the context of Daniel chapter twelve is speaking of the events after the Great Tribulation, it is at that time that the Old Testament saints will be resurrected.
7. The Resurrection of Tribulation Saints
There will also be a resurrection of those saints who became believers and were killed during the Great Tribulation. Revelation 20:4 tells us the facts surrounding this event:
“4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (KJV)
Here the apostle John sees two groups of people co-reigning with the Lord Jesus. The first group is those who already had received their judgment for their works from Christ. The judgment, called the Bema Seat Judgment, is referenced in Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:10. This will be the Church age saints who are resurrected at the Rapture of the Church. They receive the judgment of their works, and their rewards, right after they enter Heaven from Christ (1 Corinthians 3).
The second group is identified as those souls who have been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus. They were beheaded because they would not worship the Antichrist, nor would they consent to receive the mark of the Beast (666). These are the Tribulation saints. They go into the Millennial Kingdom with Christ.
8. The Marriage Feast of the Lamb
In the ancient Jewish wedding, the wedding feast was the last of four stages. The four stages of the ancient Jewish wedding are reflected in the events planned long ago by God the Father:
The Father of the Groom made the arrangement for the Bride and paid the bride price. In this case the price was the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 5:25-29).
The fetching of the Bride is when she is ready and waiting to be escorted by her Bridegroom to the home of his father. This is comparable to the Rapture of the Church (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
The marriage ceremony of the Bride to the Groom, or when the Church weds the Messiah happens immediately after arriving at his father’s house (Church age saints are now in Heaven with Christ) (Revelation 19:6-8).
The wedding, or marriage feast, is the last event of the sequence and lasts for seven days. The Marriage Feast of the Lamb is the event that begins the Messianic Kingdom.
The Church is the bride and is married to Christ in Heaven after the Rapture. The First Resurrection brings the Old Testament saints, who are the friends of the bridegroom, and the Great Tribulation saints, who are also invitees, to complete the invited “guest list” to the wedding, and now the wedding feast can take place. The invitation has already been issued:
“9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” (KJV)
The result of this invitation is the First Resurrection to be followed by the wedding feast, which will last for seven days. Christ spoke of this during the Last Supper as He raised His glass of wine with His apostles:
“27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” (KJV)
This event concludes the seventy-five day interval and inaugurates the Millennium. The wedding feast parable told by The Messiah is connected with the Kingdom:
“1And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”(KJV)
The main point of this parable is that those who were originally invited to the wedding feast, the Pharisees and the Jewish generation of Jesus’ day, will not partake of the feast or enter into the Messianic Kingdom. This is because they committed the unpardonable sin of attributing the works of God to Satan (“made light of it”). This is also known as “blaspheming the Holy Spirit” (Mark 3:29) The Jews of the Tribulation period will be at the supper and enter into the Kingdom. All unbelievers will be cast “into outer darkness” and will be excluded from entering the Messianic Kingdom:
“1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”(KJV)
The contrast that Christ speaks of here is not between two types of believers, but between believers and unbelievers. The “wise” virgins are the believers and they have oil, which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, while the “foolish” virgins have no oil at all. They had not been prepared through belief. Some think there is plenty of time before they have to commit their lives to Christ, or they just do not want to believe that there is a God. We never know the day or the hour when He will come. The “foolish” ones were excluded from the wedding feast and from ever going in to the Messianic Kingdom. That is why they are “foolish”:
“1The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity…” (KJV)
Isaiah also connects a feast with the Kingdom and a resurrection of the dead:
“6And in this mountain will Jehovah of hosts make unto all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. 7And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering that covereth all peoples, and the veil that is spread over all nations. 8He hath swallowed up death for ever; and the Lord Jehovah will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the reproach of his people will he take away from off all the earth: for Jehovah hath spoken it” (KJV)
So the Great Tribulation has ended, and the final events have been accomplished during the seventy-five day interval. This concludes with the Marriage feast of the Lamb Jesus who welcomes all believers into His Kingdom.
Daniel E. Woodhead
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