The Things which shall be Hereafter (Rev 1:19)  – The Great Tribulation

The Great Tribulation

This is the next in our series of ‘The Things which shall be Hereafter (Rev 1:19)’. It is a subject which is spoken of extensively in scripture but is often misunderstood. Two important points:

It is future
It relates to Israel – the church has no part in it.
The notes here are largely from ‘The Scroll of Time’ by John Ashton Savage

The Great Tribulation

This is the next in our series of ‘The Things which shall be Hereafter (Rev 1:19)’.  It is a subject which is spoken of extensively in scripture but is often misunderstood.  Two important points:

  1. It is future
  2. It relates to Israel – the church has no part in it.

The notes here are largely from ‘The Scroll of Time’ by John Ashton Savage (Originally A.S. Rouse, 1893. Available from Chapter Two UK or Bible Truth USA) and various papers from J N Darby.

Plenty has been written, and there have been best seller works dramatising these happenings (e.g Hal Lindsey – this Late Great Planet Earth (Zondervan, 1970) – Amazon.  Here are just a few notes.

Thank God you and I will not be there!


Here are a few scriptures:


King James Version Darby Version
Daniel 12:1  
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be     a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even  to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of distress, such as never was since there was a nation until that time. And at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that is found written in the book.


Jeremiah 30:7  
Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.
Matthew 24:21  
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. For then shall there be great tribulation, such as has not been from [the] beginning of [the] world until now, nor ever shall be;


Popular Misconceptions

 Some argue that the tribulation is past.  It occurred when the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed by the Romans in AD70.  Others would say that the Old Testament references were fulfilled in BC175 when Artitarchus Epiphanes set up an altar to Jupiter in the temple.  These were serious happenings, and many Jews were slain at those time.

There have been arguments that Daniel’s prophecy referred to 70 weeks (of years) i.e.490 years which would point to the crucifixion of Jesus, and He saying that this generation would not pass till these things had been accomplished.

This overlooks two things though:

  1. There is a lot more detail of the time in scripture (see later), and Satan is involved directly. Moreover in Revelation it is included in ‘the things which shall be hereafter’.
  2. The time we are in – the church period – forms no part of biblical prophecy. As I have said below, a brother in our meeting used to say often, ‘The prophetic clock has stopped’. The church will have been raptured (see 1 Thess 4:16), and we will be in heaven – NOT on the earth where these things take place.


Some features of the Tribulation

  1. Its duration is defined – 3½ years (or 42 months or 1260 days) – normally thought of as the last half-week of Daniel’s 70 week prophecy (Dan 9:27).
  2. The Roman Empire will have been re-established. True, the EU could well be a vehicle, but a true political unity will be established.  Brexit will have to be undone!
  3. The ‘lot 10 tribes’ of Israel will have to have been recovered for there to be a remnant of Israel – the 144,000.
  4. There will be political groupings:
  • King of North (Iran, Russia (Rosh), Togarmah (Armenia), Tubal (Tbilisi), Gomer (W Europe)
  • King of South (Egypt, Arabia)
  • The East (200,000,000 strong army – India, Pakistan, China etc)
  1. All restraint will have gone – ‘He who restrains – i.e. the Holy Spirit – see 2 Thess 2:7
  2. Satan, and in particular the false prophet will delude, even if it were possible, the elect (Mark 13:12)

Signs of the Times

Many things which happen now might be regarded as signs that the tribulation is imminent.  Examples:

  1. Israel established but insecure
  2. Religious systems supporting Palestine rather than Israel
  3. Establishment of a world religion
  4. Decline of Christianity in the West, but its increase in Africa and Asia.
  5. ‘Wars and rumours of wars’

However, we should not rely too much on these.  The future is in God’s hands and what is to come will not happen until the church has been raptured


The Personages

Three personages will dominate the world – the trinity of evil, forcing obedience.  Their subjects will have the mark of the beast.

  1. Satan – ‘the great red dragon’ – the first beast
  2. The Antichrist – the second beast
  3. The false prophet


Happenings on Earth

First part

  1. Great wars Rev 6:1-4
  2. Economic instability favouring the rich and harming the poor Rev 6:5-6
  3. Persecution of the Jewish faithful – more martyrs Rev 6:9-11
  4. Natural disasters Rev 6:12-17

Second part

  1. Tyranny – the beasts and kings, and the mark of the beast Rev 13
  2. Satan cast out into the earth Rev 12:9
  3. The Romish church in control over the secular power (the woman riding the beast Rev 17:3) – then this is reversed (the woman hated and the kingdom given to the beast  Rev 17:16)
  4. The army from the East released Rev 9:14-16 – Armageddon
  5. The King of the North will attack Jerusalem and then proceed through to defeat the King of the South – Dan 11

In Matt 24:22 it says, ‘Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved’ – one can deduce that nuclear bombs will be used – see Rev 16:8, 9:18, Zech 14:12)


God’s Testimony on Earth

In spite of everything going on, God will have His testimony on earth

  • The 144,000 faithful Rev 7:4
  • The martyrs Rev 6:11
  • The two witnesses Rev 11:3
  • The ‘man Child’ (Christ formed in the saints on the earth) Rev 12:5
  • The everlasting gospel Rev 14:6

There is no evidence, rather the contrary, that any hearts are turned to God by this testimony


God’s Judgment

At the point when all forces will be united against God and the holy city, God will send His angel, and Satan will be bound for 1000 years.  (Rev 20:2)


And Afterwards

We have the millennium.  Contrary to popular belief, we shall not be with Christ on the earth.  We are a heavenly family – we reign OVER the earth – Rev 5:10

This is our prospect – and our hope.  Is it yours?


Yours in Christ


May 2017




John Nelson Darby’s Prophetic Map

In 1828 or 1829 Darby drew his ‘Prophetic Map’ (see JND Notes & Comments Vol 2 – page 192).

This article looks aback over what Darby wrote in the light of various things that have happened in the world since then.

JohnNelsonDarbyIn 1828 or 1829 J N Darby drew his ‘Prophetic Map’ (see JND Notes & Comments Vol 2 – page 192).  Of course he was well versed in Daniel 11

This article looks back over what Darby wrote in the light of various things that have happened in the world since then.  For example:

  • The break-up of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of many independent states in the Middle East
  • The first and second World Wars
  • The Treaty of Rome and the European Union
  • NATO and allies
  • The United Nations and other treaty organisations
  • The rise and fall of the Russian (Soviet) Empire and its resurgent ambitions
  • Former Warsaw Pact nations aligning themselves with the West, joining NATO and the European Union
  • Colonial independence from Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands etc
  • Post WW2 political and later economic migration
  • Formation of the State of Israel and territorial disputes
  • The growing significance of Islam, and the hostility between the Sunni and Shi’ite divisions
  • Islamic jihad terrorist organisations such as ‘Islamic State’, al Qaeda and  Boko Haram
  • The wealth of the Arabs etc. due to oil
  • Increased material wealth and generally reduced poverty
  • The dominance of the United States
  • Improvements in health care
  • Legalisation and even promotion of unorthodox/immoral lifestyles
  • Modern communications, radio, TV and the internet
  • The green movement
  • The large migration of Eastern people to Europe, America and elsewhere, bringing the influence of religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism.


I will treat the various areas of the world, citing Darby’s analysis and opinion and possible deductions in describing his Prophetic Map.  I have also noted a couple of things I do not understand.  Doubtless this could be a topic for discussion.

I might add that this does not involve the church.  However we Christians should be intelligent as to events in the world, and also know what will happen here after the rapture of the church .  Of course we will not be here!


JN Darby's Prophetic MapEurope, the ‘Western World’ and the Antichrist

Europeans are primarily descendants of Japheth,  Gomer (hence Germany also known as Cimmerians – from which Cimbri – Celts), and Magog (Scythians/Russians), and Madai (Medes), and Javan (Greece) , and Tubal (Tiblisi? i.e. the Caucuses), and Meshech Moschi – Armenians), and Tiras (probably Goths/Scandinavians) see Genesis 10:2-3 (and Elicott’s Ethnological Table.  However, with so much migration over the millennia, clear demarcations are impossible.

Darby believed that France, not the USA, would become the dominant Western power.  At the time France was in turmoil:  Napoleon, whose objective had been European integration, had been defeated, and there was continued unrest up to the establishment of the Second Republic in 1848.  France would not have been considered a potential leader of Europe at ay time during JND’s adult life, it being in trouble again in the 1870’s after the Franco-Prussian war.

In drawing up his Prophetic Map, Darby foresaw European unity – at least as nation states working together, and that is what we have.  At the time of writing Britain had just elected to withdraw from the European Union.  Nevertheless, it will remain in the larger political/military grouping of NATO and probably the European Economic Area.  However, it will not be in a position to lead Europe.  Indeed, in Darby’s paper England is described as a minor irritant – this must have been perceptive considering the world dominant position of the British Empire in the 1800’s.

Germany, whilst the largest economy, has never led, still being held back by the WW2 legacy.  Hitler, another prefigurement of the Antichrist had thankfully been defeated.   Darby referred to Austria.  Of course this country’s influence has become minor since the fall of the Hapsburgs, and even more so since Hitler (an Austrian) annexed the country to Germany.  It would remain part of the West European nations.  He was also critical of Poland and to date the role of this populous nation has been limited to its part in the downfall of the Soviet system, and to providing the Pope in office at the time.

Roman Catholicism will be the dominant religion, especially as so-called Protestant churches veer towards Rome.  Elsewhere Darby made it clear that this would be increasingly so despite the strength of atheistic secularism.  The large influx of Muslims, and those of Eastern religions will in time make way for the unified false Babylon religion.  Already, in the UK, Muslims represent about 10% of the religiously active population, with Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists making 5%.  There is even a trend to pre-Christian paganism.

Biblically the sphere of operations is the area covered by the Roman Empire and some extensions in Europe, Asia and Africa.  Outgoings of Europe in the rest of the world – USA, Canada, Australia, Latin America etc., are not part of the sphere or provide leadership, but can be regarded as part of the expanded Roman Empire in Revelation.

Did Darby foresee the modern advances in technology and its impact?  He saw the improvement in communications and was not ignorant of scientific thought.  What is clear from his writings is that he relates a lot to the influence of the East, embraced by the West.

So it is not impossible that France will be the dominant Western force, supporting Darby’s prediction that the Antichrist would come from that country, despite all that has happened in the last 200 years.  Who knows?


Russia and the King of the North

Darby was quite specific as to this area, drawing on Ezekiel and Daniel in particular.

On the European side we have Russia, referred to in prophecy as Rosh and Meshech (Moscow?) and Tubal.  He thought that Russia would come to dominate Turkey-in-Asia, but I believe that if it does, it will control the whole country.  Istanbul is as much Turkey as Ankara.  This is not impossible.  Whilst Turkey has been a member of NATO for decades, and would like to join the European Union, there are areas of tension with NATO and strong resistance to its joining the EU.   Like Russia it does not really have democratic government.  Having lost the Eastern European countries to the EU after the fall of communism, there is little doubt that Russia would like to extend its sphere of influence.  Russia’s influence and control would then extend from the Arctic to the Mediterranean.

The other area that Darby thought that Russia would dominate (though not control) is that of Persia (Iran) and Media the Japhetic children of Medai .  [Darby said that that Persia was a subservient Hamitic people, but their language does not bear this out.  Probably he was referring to what we now know as the Iraqis who speak Arabic, but would have been, like the Canaanites, descended from Ham – Sosthenes].   Darby’s map shows this area extending eastwards as far as the Indus River, and therefore embracing a lot of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and  south to include Syria and Lebanon.  Although those countries are mostly Sunni, Iran would like to control all the Muslim regions in that part of the world.

Significantly Darby hardly mentions Islam – just four passing references to the religion or to Mohammed.   Any review must take account of the increased profile of this religion, its divisions and the violent actions in its name.  He never referred to the two opposing Sunni and Shi’ite divisions of that religion.  The Shi’ite religion, with its observance of shrines and icons is probably more compatible with Orthodox Christendom, so there is a natural fit here.  The Assyrians are referred to a lot – basically the same people.

Finally, in this group are the descendants of Nimrod, the hunter.  These Hamites led to the Huns and the Magyars, now occupying Hungary and much of the Balkans.  Russia would have to wrest these countries from the EU and stop Serbia and the Ukraine from joining.


Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the King of the South

The area ‘between the two rivers’ (i.e. the Euphrates and the Nile) is occupied by descendants of Shem and Ham.  Ishmael (Arabs) and Hamites – from Cush, Phut and Mizraim (Egypt and North Africa) are generally stricter, puritanical Sunni Muslims rivalling the Shi’ites to the north.  Doubtless due to financial relationships with the West, Darby’s words could be fulfilled, ‘Eastern descendants of Ham, just as the western or southern descendants of Ham will be at the steps of Antichrist or the mature apostate body, for they will be judged as Antichrist, Gog and Magog, for coming against the Jews.’ (See original paper).

J. N. Darby. – Notes and Comments Vol. 2. page 192

Available from Kingston Bible Trust (Lancing Sussex), Bibles etc. (Wheaton IL)  and elsewhere


The Prophetic Map: What does all this mean?

All this is very interesting, but has no direct bearing on the church.  But as Darby says, ‘There is not a more important chapter in Scripture as to the providence of God than Genesis 10.  The Noahic and Abrahamic earth under Providence leaves the will of man to act.  All the powers of the world will be brought together as they have acted within the limits of God’s known providence, and formed the subject of Scriptural statement as to kingdoms, i.e., powers in the world previous to the interposition and restoration of the four great kingdoms with the power of Ezekiel [especially ch. 38], acting as described in Joel [chs. 2 and 3]; and of other types. The Gog and Magog of Revelation includes all and runs over the whole extent of the inhabited earth, not the powers of the earth as in the formative system, for then the system is formed and it is re-action, in God’s wisdom and permission, of judgment on those not truly of it, as I am led to believe.’



July 2016


J N Darby – Letter No 154 – The Antchrist – Translation Issues

Montpéllier – 20th December 1848
To Mr B R
I make some remarks as they present themselves. There are other interpretations which, while not being yours, do not encounter the difficulties which you suppose.
In the first place, I do not doubt that the Assyrian, or at least a power which is not the Antichrist, is the desolator (Dan 9: 27). I think that it is the “king of the north”, but this does not imply your explanation of this verse, even though it will be the Antichrist who confirms
the covenant. But there is quite simply: “because of the protection of abominations, a desolator”, that is to say, “there will be a desolator”. The Antichrist having led them into idolatry, the desolator will be released against them (cf Isa 28: 14-18).

In the second place, I do not at all assert on Hebrew grammar, but regularly speaking, [chapter] 11: 31 would be: “the armies or forces will stand, will rise up from him, and they will profane … and they will remove, etc”. I would not know that there is an example where the verb accords regularly with the masculine plural already expressed, for which ‘one’ could be substituted.

Then you have confounded the idea of the one who re-establishes the sacrifice with the one who is the object of it, or rather to whom it is presented, the function which he attaches to it.

You ask who removes the continual sacrifice (Dan 8: 11). One has to look to Keri which gives: “it was removed”. The passage says nothing more or less. It must still be previous letters relate these notebooks to notes for the Lausanne translation project ‘let it have effect’

Keri signifies the marginal note of the Massorites, indicating their idea of how the text should be read. All the oldest and best manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible contain on every page, beside the Text lines of smaller writing, distributed between the upper and lower margins. The word Massorah is from the root masar, to eliver remembered that, in Daniel, Israel is always considered as the people of God , a very important remark for understanding the book which goes to the root of some of your reasonings. God speaks in grace and Jerusalem is treated as Daniel’s holy city. For it seems to me that one will not manage to see in the Prince of princes the prince of the army.

Remember also that this is in the hands of the little horn of chapter 7, that the seasons and Jewish ordinances are given up (chap 7: 25). It is that one who changes them, who blasphemes and exalts himself. As to “cast down the truth to the ground” (chap 8: 12), I really think that it is horn of chapter 8, that is not the Antichrist but the Assyrian or the king of the North. As head of the army, Christ is not seen as accomplishing Hebrews 9 and 10, but as Head of the Jews in the last day. In this character, it is to Him that the sacrifices belong, as – as a matter of privilege – they belong to the Jews. Many of the Psalms speak of the sacrifices of righteousness; these are not the same as the sacrifices for sin; the “Thamid” was a burnt offering; without this the Jews had no altar, no public relationship with God.

The remark that I have made as to the way of envisaging the Jews in Daniel sets aside your interpretation of [chapter] 8: 10; as to [chapter] 8: 11, I have already spoken. You say that the “prince who will come” (chap 9: 26) is the same as the desolator (v 27). Why? “On the top of abomination” (chap 8: 27) does not present any idea to me. The abomination is an idol, a profane thing and defiled in God’s eyes. What would the top of an idol signify?

Your heir of Titus, a desolator who follows the prince that shall come (chap 9: 26-27) is nothing; for me, I do not believe there has been one. The Antichrist will be his heir is a sense, as being flesh, or at least the principle horn of the Beast, although effectively it is another, according to me as well as you, who will act as Titus in attacking the city, although not in the destruction at the same time. Titus “ estroye ” the city (chap 10: 26, the king of the North or the Assyrian “overthrows it” (chap 8: 11).

The Assyrian is not therefore the desolator. On this we are agreed. On the other hand, you have not considered enough that Israel is called (chap 8: 24) the holy people, and if God cannot call His people that, He answers to Daniel’s heart in recognising His prophetic faith,
and calls them “thy people” (as He did to Moses). That is to say, that He takes knowledge of them by the intervention of a mediator. For verses 11 and 12 are relevant to Daniel’s view (speaking, it goes without saying, by the prophetic Spirit).

As to your “Summary”, I accept it, without the difficulties which do not exist for me. It seems to me that it is neither Jesus, nor the Antichrist, who will restore sacrifices in this time.

I think that the Jews will have done it themselves. It is very possible that the king of the North will remove his false worship of the Antichrist (but he takes Jerusalem). But can you something into the han of another, so as to commit it to his trust. The name is given to the small writing referred to, because it contains information necessary to those to whose trust the Sacred Text was committed, so that they might transcribe it, and hand it down correctly. The Text itself had been fixed before the Massorites were put in charge of it. This had been the work of the Sopherim (from saphar, to count, or number). Their work, under Ezra and Nehemiah, was to set the Text in order. This work lasted from Nehemiah to Simon the first, 410-300BC. The Sopherim were the authorised revisers of the Sacred Text; and, their work being completed, the Massorites were the authorised custodians of it. Their work was to preserve it. The Massorah is called “A Fence to the Scriptures,” because it locked all words and letters in their places. It does not contain notes or comments as such, but facts and phenomena. It records the number of times that several letters occur in the various books of the Bible; the number of words, and the middle word; the number of verses, and the middle verse; the number of expressions and combinations of words, &c. All this was, not from a perverted ingenuity, but for the set purpose of safeguarding the Sacred Text, and preventing the loss of misplacement of a single letter or word.

A footnote to this verse in JND’s English Bible says that it might be rendered: ‘and the abomination (idols) of the desolator shall be on the pinnacle (ie of the temple)’