By using Daniel 7.9-27 we wish to present two affirmations or propositions:
Some will be startled by these suggestions for many believe the Great Tribulation to be against the world itself. They equate the tribulation with the destruction of Babylon the Great and Armageddon. Others believe the Parousia, or the Return of Christ, comes before the tribulation. We would here consider what we feel are the roots to both the Parousia and the Great Tribulation in the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel the prophet.
Centuries before Christ, the prophet Daniel experienced several visions which outlined history in advance in a prophecy regarding the march of world powers. We wish to consider these in brief. [For more details see the publication Nazarene Apocalypse -- a verse by verse commentary on the Book of Revelation with 1,000 footnotes.]
Daniel 7:1-14 (New World Translation) ---
Daniel 7:1 -- "In the first year of Belshazzar the king of Babylon, Daniel himself beheld a dream and visions of his head upon his bed. At that time he wrote down the dream itself. The complete account of the matters he told. Daniel 7:2 -- Daniel was speaking up and saying: "I happened to be beholding in my visions during the night, and, see there! the four winds of the heavens were stirring up the vast sea. Daniel 7:3 -- And four huge beasts were coming up out of the sea, each one being different from the others."
Daniel 7:4 -- "The first one was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I kept on beholding until its wings were plucked out, and it was lifted up from the earth and was made to stand up on two feet just like a man, and there was given to it the heart of a man."
Daniel 7:5 -- "And, see there! another beast, a second one, it being like a bear. And on one side it was raised up, and there were three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and this is what they were saying to it, 'Get up, eat much flesh.'"
Daniel 7:6 -- "After this I kept on beholding, and, see there! another [beast], one like a leopard, but it had four wings of a flying creature on its back. And the beast had four heads, and there was given to it rulership indeed.
Daniel 7:7 -- "After this I kept on beholding in the visions of the night, and, see there! a fourth beast, fearsome and terrible and unusually strong. And it had teeth of iron, big ones. It was devouring and crushing, and what was left it was treading down with its feet. And it was something different from all the [other] beasts that were prior to it, and it had ten horns."
Daniel 7:8 -- I kept on considering the (ten) horns, and, look! another (eleventh) horn, a small one, came up in among them, and there were three of the first (ten) horns that were plucked up from before it. And, look! there were eyes like the eyes of a man in this horn, and there was a mouth speaking grandiose things."
Daniel 7:9 -- "I kept on beholding until there were thrones placed and the Ancient of Days sat down. His clothing was white just like snow, and the hair of his head was like clean wool. His throne was flames of fire; its wheels were a burning fire. Daniel 7:10 -- There was a stream of fire flowing and going out from before him. There were a thousand thousands that kept ministering to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand that kept standing right before him. The Court took its seat, and there were books that were opened."
At some point in the history of the Fourth Kingdom, Rome, something brings about the judgment of an entire world power. The Second Psalm has the key: "Why have the nations been in tumult and the national groups themselves kept muttering an empty thing? The kings of earth take their stand. And high officials themselves have massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one, [Saying:] "Let us tear their bands apart and cast their cords away from us!" (Psalm 2:1-3 NW) These verses are quoted by Peter within a Christian prayer group in Acts 4:24-28. The "nations" and "kings" are shown to be primarily the Roman representative and his Jewish vassals. It is Rome who is responsible for this attack against the Messiah. This precipitates a time of judgment.
Psalm 2:4, 5, 9-11 indicates what really takes place in the celestial realms: "The very One sitting in the heavens will laugh; Jehovah himself will hold them in derision. At that time he will speak to them [Rome] in his anger and in his hot displeasure he will disturb them, ‘(My king) will break them [Rome] with an iron scepter, as though a potter's vessel you will dash them [Rome] to pieces.’ And now, O kings, exercise insight; let yourselves be corrected, O judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah with fear and be joyful with trembling. Kiss the Son, that He may not become incensed and you may not perish [from] the way, for his anger flares up easily. Happy are all those taking refuge in him." (NW) This may well correspond with Daniel 7:9, 10 and the judgment of Rome.
Paul quotes Psalm 2:7 before a synagogue and applies the verse to the resurrection and ascension of Christ to heaven: [Saying:] "I, even I, have installed my king upon Zion, my holy mountain." Let me refer to the decree of Jehovah; he has said to me: "You are my son; I, today, I have become your father." (Psalms 2:6, 7 NW) Paul’s application would also interpret the Psalm to have been fulfilled in the year 33 A. D. In other words, Paul’s inspired explanation corresponds to that of Daniel: Messiah is to begin his rule during this period of the Fourth Kingdom’s [Rome] existence and thereafter this beast is judged and finally slain.
In the year 33 A. D. Rome was still rising in its world domination. By the spring of the year 73 Rome would smash the last resistance of Jewish zealots at Masada. This would occur with the Pax Romana which was to last 200 years. After this period of peace, because of the iron rule of Rome, the barbarians would be at the gates and the slow fragmentation would begin to evolve over the next five centuries.
Daniel explains what has held his interest in the previous prophetic flow of history. Daniel 7:11a may not be a precisely chronological event but rather one of the major points of interest in what had been foretold previously. [11a, "I kept on beholding at that time because of the sound of the grandiose words that the horn was speaking."]
Daniel 7:11b -- "I kept on beholding until the beast was killed and its body was destroyed and it was given to the burning fire." This process regarding Rome would historically cover almost eight centuries until the Pope crowned Charlemagne.
Daniel 7:12 -- "But as for the rest of the beasts, their [world] rulerships were taken away, and there was a lengthening in life given to them for a time and a season." In contrast to Rome the other three former world powers were not to be destroyed and assigned to historical fires. Babylon (later Iraq), Persia (later Iran), and Greece were to have "a lengthening in life" right down to the present time, while Rome is no longer a political power.
Still in the context of this period of judgment on Rome in the First Century, the following dramatic scene unfolds. It is a unique and monumental event: someone resembling a human being ascends to heaven to receive celestial sovereignty. Nothing like this had ever occurred in the prophetic histories of the previous world powers. Remember, Daniel is in a heavenly perspective when he see what follows. (Daniel 7:10, 15)
Consider what Daniel saw from his celestial position: "I kept on beholding in the visions of the night, and, see there! with the clouds of the heavens someone like a son of man happened to be coming [Greek: Alexandrian: ercheto; Theodotion: erchomenos = arriving]; and to the Ancient of Days he gained access [Greek: paren = present, presence], and (the angels) brought him up close even before that One. And to [the Son of Man] there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him. His rulership is an indefinitely lasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not be brought to ruin." (Daniel 7:13, 14 NW)
Jesus the Nazarene was to make several allusions to Daniel 7:13, generally in connection with Psalm 110:1. Consider some of these. John 6:62 --- "What, therefore, if you should behold the Son of Man ascending [Daniel 7:13] to where he was before?" (NWT) Is it fair to conclude that here Jesus alludes to that vision Daniel saw: " ... someone like a son of man (a human being) was coming"? Often the problem has been this word "coming" for it seems to mean to some to come in their direction. The words in both the Aramaic of Daniel (attah) and the Greek of the Jewish translations (ALEX: ercheto, THEO: erchomenos) may mean come or go, return or come back or an arrival.
Since the context of Daniel 7:13, 14 has this "Son of Man" coming to the heavenly Ancient of Days, or Most High, this has to be an arriving into the Presence of God; that is, an ascension and not a descension. (Ephesians 4:10; Hebrews 4:14) In other words Daniel sees this "quasi hominis" (Jerome’s Vulgate) coming toward him as he watches from his celestial prophetic perch along with the multitude of angels. (Daniel 7:10, 16)
The Nazarene told his disciples they would not finish their preaching activity before the Son of Man arrived in heaven to become king: "Truly I say to you, you will by no means complete the circuit of the cities of Israel until the Son of man arrives [Daniel 7:13]." (Matthew 10:23 NWT)
Again, on another occasion, the Nazarene assures some of his disciples would still be alive when the Son of Man comes into his Kingdom power: "Truly I say to you that there are some of those standing here that will not taste death at all until first they see the Son of man coming [Daniel 7:13] in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:28 NW)
Finally, Jesus even tells those high priests condemning him will live to see the fulfillment of Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1: "So the high priest said to him: "By the living God I put you under oath to tell us whether you are the Christ [Psalms 2:1] the Son of God [Psalms 2:7]!" Jesus said to him: "You yourself said [it]. Yet I say to you men, From henceforth you will see the Son of man [Daniel 7:13] sitting at the right hand of power [Psalms 110:1] and coming on the clouds of heaven [Daniel 7:13]." (Matthew 26:63, 64) Here the word "coming" (erchomenon) is the same as that of Daniel 7:13. It would mean "arriving" before the Presence of the Most High, not "coming" to the earth. (Compare Acts 1:9-11)
That these priests actually lived long enough to become aware of the fulfillment of Jesus’ words note who was present when Stephen had his near-death vision. These priests heard Stephen say: "Look! I behold the heavens opened up and the Son of man [Daniel 7:13] standing at God's right hand [Psalm 110:1]." (Acts 7:54-56 NW) Note from Acts 4:5, 6; 5:21, 27; 6:15; 7:1 who were present at this moment.
Now Daniel is in considerable anguish and he approaches the celestials for more information on this subject, but now keying in on the fourth beast and the Little Horn. "As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within on account of it, and the very visions of my head began to frighten me. I went up close to one of those (angels) who were standing, that I might request from him reliable information on all this. And he said to me, as he went on to make known to me the very interpretation of the matters, As for these huge beasts, because they are four, there are four kings that will stand up from the earth. ... This is what he said, 'As for the fourth beast, there is a fourth kingdom that will come to be on the earth, that will be different from all the [other] kingdoms; and it will devour all the earth and will trample it down and crush it." (Daniel 7:15-17, 23 NW) We have added verse 23 here as it is additional information learned a bit later.
From Daniel’s historical perspective there are to be only four more kingdoms to come upon earth, though the fourth one goes through a long evolving political process. Ultimately, the Kingdom will become the possession of the Saints of the Most High. (Matthew 5:3; Luke 12:32; 1 Corinthians 15:50) How this happens is developed below. Daniel 7:18 "But the Saints of the Supreme One will receive the kingdom , and they will take possession of the kingdom for time indefinite, even for time indefinite upon times indefinite." (NW)
Daniel 7:7 -- "After this I kept on beholding in the visions of the night, and, see there! a fourth beast, fearsome and terrible and unusually strong. And it had teeth of iron, big ones. It was devouring and crushing, and what was left it was treading down with its feet. And it was something different from all the [other three] beasts that were prior to it, and it had ten horns. Daniel 7:8 -- I kept on considering the (ten) horns, and, look! another horn, a small one, came up in among them, and there were three of the first (ten) horns that were plucked up from before it. And, look! there were eyes like the eyes of a man in this horn, and there was a mouth speaking [Revelation 13:5, 6] grandiose things. ... Daniel 7:20 -- ... and concerning the ten horns that were on its (Roman) head."
Rome fragments first into East and West and then, because of the northern barbarians, decays into the former provinces which finally became the Papal States of Europe. This covered a period of over six centuries.
Daniel 7:8 -- "I kept on considering the (ten) horns, and, look! another horn, a small one, came up in among them, and there were three of the first (ten) horns that were plucked up from before it. And, look! there were eyes like the eyes of a man in this horn, and there was a mouth speaking grandiose things [Revelation 13:5, 6]. ... Daniel 7:20 -- and the other [horn] that came up and before which three fell, even that horn that had eyes and a mouth speaking grandiose things [Revelation 13:5, 6] and the appearance of which was bigger than that of its (ten) fellows."
Evolving out of the political upheaval and fragmentation of Rome into the Papal States of Europe, another power is to appear on the scene: an eleventh horn, a Little Horn, or Small Power. This political entity could not make its appearance until after the ten horns developed. Many have been the attempts to associate this Little Horn with various Popes, Muslim Crusaders, Kings and Emperors of Europe including Napoleon, as well as the British Empire.
The British Empire has been viewed by some Bible students as the eleventh horn which "plucked up" or "fell" the European powers of the Netherlands, Spain and France. Others would move this horn even further forward into history. Not England, one of the former Roman provinces) but the English colonies of America. Colonial America was obviously a small power, which "plucked up" or "fell" the three powers that had divided up America: the British to the East, the French in the middle, and Spain in the west.
This Little Horn, or Small Power, is identified with the wild Sea Beast’s seventh head in Revelation chapters thirteen and seventeen. (Revelation 13:5-7; Daniel 7:21-25) In Revelation the wild Sea Beast (or, the Little Horn of Daniel) is characterized by: a) a military power with whom none can battle; b) global economic control; c) global communication; and, d) fire from the skies. (Revelation chapter 13) If this be true, and should America be the Little Horn, it is from this source that a great persecution breaks out. In Revelation the Seventh Head is to be slain and then revived into an Eighth Power. It is likely the Little Horn is this Eighth Power. If this be the case America is to be "slain" and then revived in a new and ugly form which then attacks the Saints.
These points have been discussed without being dogmatic purely to demonstrate a considerable time must pass between the King’s enthronement in 33 A. D. and his Parousia or Return. That Jesus taught his own disciples would not experience the Parousia in their life time’s is shown in Luke 17:22: "Then (Jesus) said to the disciples: ‘Days will come when you (disciples) will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man [the Parousia] but you (disciples) will not see [it].’" (NWT)
Shortly after this the question on whether the Kingdom would be revealed right away was answered by the Nazarene. We provide this answer, including a line from a similar parable in Matthew: "While they were listening to these things he spoke in addition an illustration, because he was near Jerusalem and they were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly. Therefore he said: ‘A certain man of noble birth traveled to a distant land to secure kingly power for himself and [after a long time] [Matthew 25:19 NWT] to return.’" (Luke 19:11, 12 NWT) This would prove Jesus ascends to heaven and becomes King, then "after a long time," returns to judge his household. (Matthew 24:45-25:46) How long this "long time" would be is indicated in this prophecy of Daniel chapters 2 and 7 and to some extent in Revelation chapter 17. But, what would happen just before the "return" of the King in his foretold Parousia?
Daniel 7:21 -- "I kept on beholding when that very horn made war upon the Saints [Revelation 13:5, 7], and it was prevailing against them [Revelation 11:7]. ... Daniel 7:25 -- And the Little Horn will speak even words against the Most High [Revelation 13:5, 6], and he will harass [Aramaic: oppress] continually the Saints themselves of the Supreme One. And he will intend to change times and law, and they will be given into his hand for a time, and times and half a time [Daniel 12:7; Revelation 11:2; 12:6, 14; 13:5]." The Aramaic word here rendered "harass" is also understood to mean "oppress." Both Daniel and the Nazarene go on to foretell a "great oppression" -- not a tribulation against the world, like an Armageddon -- but against the Saints of the Most High. In both these cases it seems fair to conclude the oppression comes before the Parousia.
Consider first Daniel 11:44-12:1: "But there will be reports that will disturb [the King of the North], out of the sunrising and out of the north, and he will certainly go forth in a great rage in order to annihilate and to devote many to destruction. And he will plant his palatial tents between [the] grand [Mediterranean] sea and the holy mountain of Decoration [Jerusalem]; and he will have to come all the way to his end, and there will be no helper for him. And during that time Michael [1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 12:7] will stand up [JPS: appear], the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of your people. And there will certainly occur a time of distress [LXX: oppression] such as has not been made to occur since [Matthew 24:21; Mark 13:19; Revelation 7:14] there came to be a nation [JPS: nation of the Israel] until that time. And during that time your people will escape [rescued, delivered], every one who is found written down in the book." No doubt this also has an application to the Roman attack on Jerusalem in the years 66-70 AD. However, our interest here is in the sequence of events involving something similar yet in our future.
Note the "oppression" comes first, beginning in verse 40, and at its height "Michael stands up." The Hebrew for "stand up" may also be rendered "appear" as the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh has it. This word would parallel the Greek Parousia found later in Matthew chapter 24. Thus, the sequence is: the oppression then the Parousia.
The Nazarene predicts this same scenario in Matthew 24:21, 22, 29, 30: "For then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world's beginning until now, no, nor will occur again [Daniel 12:1]. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days those days will be cut short. ... Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken [Isaiah 13:10, 13]. And then the sign [Isaiah 11:12] of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (NW) The Nazarene also has the Parousia after the Great Oppression.
Paul makes a similar connection: "This takes into account that it is righteous on God's part to repay tribulation to those who make tribulation for you, but, to you who suffer tribulation, relief along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus. These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength, at the time he comes to be glorified in connection with his Saints and to be regarded in that day with wonder in connection with all those who exercised faith, because the witness we gave met with faith among you." (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 NWT)
Daniel 7:22 -- " ... until the Ancient of Days came [Aramaic: attah Greek: elthen = become present] and judgment itself was given in favor [Revelation 20:4] of the Saints of the Supreme One, and the definite time arrived that the Saints took possession of the kingdom itself [1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:50-52]. Daniel 7:27 -- "'And the kingdom and the rulership and the grandeur of the kingdoms under all the heavens were given to the people who are the Saints of the Supreme One. Their kingdom is an indefinitely lasting kingdom, and all the rulerships will serve and obey even them." The word "came" here is the same "coming" at verse 13. Both are the Aramaic attah which may mean coming, arrival, presence.
Here in verse 22 it is the Ancient of Days who arrives to rescue the Saints. Likely, this is in the representation of the Son of Man. Note in Revelation 1:7, 8, 12-16 similar imagery is applied to the Son of Man: "Look! He [the Son of Man] is coming with the clouds [Daniel 7:13], and every eye will see him [Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11], and those who pierced him [Zechariah 12:10]; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him [Matthew 24:30]. Yes, Amen. "I am the Al'pha and the O·me'ga," says Jehovah God, "the One who is and who was and who is coming [Greek: erchomenos], the Almighty." ... And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me, and, having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands someone like a son of man [Daniel 7:13], clothed with a garment that reached down to the feet, and girded at the breasts with a golden girdle. Moreover, his head and his hair were white as white wool, as snow [Daniel 7:9, 10], and his eyes as a fiery flame; and his feet were like fine copper when glowing in a furnace; and his voice was as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth a sharp, long two-edged sword was protruding, and his countenance was as the sun when it shines in its power [Matthew 13:43; 17:2]. And when I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet." (NWT)
These verses show two persons "coming" --- God Almighty (the Ancient of Days; the Most High) and the Son of Man. The Son is the image of the Father (Colossians 1:15, 16) and is His Logos or Spokesman, thus he resembles his own Father.
When Daniel 7:22 says the Ancient of Days "came" in the Jewish Greek Bible this is elthen. This is the same word group (erchomenon, elthe, erchetai) used in the Christian Bible to refer to the Parousia. (Matthew 24:30, 42, 43, 44, 46, 48; 25:13, 19, 27, 31; Mark 13:26, 35, 36; Luke 11:2; 12:36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 43, 45; 17:20, 22; 21:27;1 Corinthians 4:5; 11:26; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Revelation 1:7, 8) The word erchomai may also mean "appear." (Compare JPS Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:30)
These words from the Gospels, Paul, and John -- ercheto, erchomenos, elthein, elthen -- all appear in the Jewish Greek Septuagint in both the Alexandrine and Theodotion manuscripts. Thus, the evidence, all things considered, point to the Parousia following the Great Oppression.
The Book of Revelation also gives this chronology: the great oppression followed by the Parousia.
Revelation chapter 11:1-3, 7, 11, 12 -- "Get up and measure the temple [sanctuary] of God and the altar and those worshipping in it. But as for the courtyard that is outside the temple [sanctuary], cast it clear out and do not measure it, because it has been given to the nations, [The Great Oppression =] and they will trample the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. And I will cause my two witnesses to prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days dressed in sackcloth." ... And when they have finished their witnessing, the wild beast that ascends out of the abyss will make war with them and conquer them and kill them. ... And after the three and a half days spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon those beholding them. And they heard a loud voice out of heaven say to them: "Come on up here." [The Rapture =] And they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies beheld them. [The Parousia =] And the seventh angel blew his trumpet. And loud voices occurred in heaven, saying: "The kingdom of the world did become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever." (NW)
Revelation 12:7-9, 12-14 --- [pre-tribulation =] "And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. ... On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time. [three and a half years]
[The Great Oppression = ] "Now when the dragon saw that it was hurled down to the earth, it persecuted the woman that gave birth to the male child. But the two wings of the great eagle were given the woman, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place; there is where she is fed for a time and times and half a time away from the face of the serpent. And the serpent disgorged water like a river from its mouth after the woman, to cause her to be drowned by the river. But the earth came to the woman's help, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon disgorged from its mouth. And the dragon grew wrathful at the woman, and went off to wage war [Daniel 7:21] with the remaining ones of her seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.
[The Parousia = ] "And I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God! And they conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their witnessing, and they did not love their souls even in the face of death.’" (NW)
Revelation 13:3-7, 10; 14.1 --- [The Great Oppression = ] "And I saw one of its heads as though slaughtered to death, but its death-stroke got healed, and all the earth followed the wild beast with admiration. And they worshipped the dragon because it gave the authority to the wild beast, and they worshipped the wild beast with the words: "Who is like the wild beast, and who can do battle with it?" And a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies was given it, and authority to act forty-two months [Daniel 7:25] was given it. And it opened its mouth [Daniel 7:25] in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name and his residence, even those residing in heaven. And there was granted it to wage war with the Saints [Daniel 7:21] and conquer them, and authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation. ... Here is where it means the endurance and faith of the Saints. ... [The Parousia = ] And I saw, and, look! the Lamb standing upon the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads." (NW)
Daniel 7:26 -- "And the Court itself proceeded to sit, and [the Little Horn’s] own rulership they finally took away, in order to annihilate [him] and to destroy [him] totally." (NW; see also Daniel 11:44) Like Rome before it, the Little Horn, or the wild Sea Beast, is completely destroyed in that battle often called Armageddon. (Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-21)
With the earth cleared of these Satanic forces, it is time for the Messiah and his Kingdom of the Saints of the Most High to hold sway over all the earth: Daniel 7:27 -- "And the kingdom and the rulership and the grandeur of the kingdoms under all the heavens [earthwide; global] were given to the people who are the Saints of the Supreme One. Their kingdom is an indefinitely lasting kingdom, and all the rulerships will serve and obey even them." Revelation 20:4, 6 describes this same event: "And I saw thrones, and there were those who sat down on them, and power of judging was given them. [Daniel 7:22] Yes, I saw the souls of those executed with the ax for the witness they bore to Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had worshiped neither the wild beast nor its image and who had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a thousand years. ... This is the first resurrection. Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years." (NWT)
We feel strongly that the Parousia (Presence) follows the Great Tribulation (Great Oppression). This oppression is a global attack against the Saints and will last three and a half years. Near the end of this period the outlook looks bleak indeed for the Saints. However, at the height of the danger the Lord, Jesus the Nazarene, returns in glory. The dead Saints of the ages are resurrected and the living Saints raptured, or caught away, delivered and rescued into the Presence of their Lord. With such a hope in view what can keep us from crying out: "Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20) –
Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller
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