Things That Suddenly Shake Us
There are some words and phrases in all languages that grab attention like no others. In English, one of them is sudden or suddenly, especially when combined with (suddenly) appeared.
A bolt of lightning that instantly splits a tree in front of us; a clap of thunder that deafeningly ruptures the air around us; a massive explosion or earthquake that rocks the ground beneath us; a malevolent monster that seizes an innocent victim in a scary movie; or a beautiful rainbow that radiantly appears from nowhere. We are both terrified and calmed by things that suddenly shake our senses.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the adjective sudden as: “happening or coming unexpectedly … marked by or manifesting abruptness or haste … made or brought about in a short time … prompt.”
In noun form, sudden is: “an unexpected occurrence: Emergency—all of a sudden: sooner than was expected; at once.” Suddenly is the more intense adverb form which almost always modifies an action verb, e.g. appeared.
In Bible Dictionaries and Lexicons such as the King James Dictionary, the Greek and Hebrew words translated sudden or suddenly mean, “in an unexpected manner, without preparation, instantly, swiftly, unforeseen, unaware, surprisingly, or a very short space of time.”
Some people like surprises. Others do not. Many tolerate the unexpected as long as it doesn’t jolt them out of their comfort zone too quickly or at all. Most people, like me, prefer not to be startled.
Surprises are okay, as long as they are not too surprising … like someone sneaking up behind me and saying, “Boo!” There are a few who love to be shocked; they like that rush of adrenaline that moves them out of the routine of every-day life.
Soon to come is a sudden earth-shaking, senses-shattering, life-changing, (eternal) destiny-altering event never before experienced in the annals of human history. Though foretold 2,000 years ago by Scripture, and foreseen by both believers and unbelievers (who are half way interested in such things) alike, it will still in “a very short space of time” stun everyone on planet Earth.
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
As detailed in the Eye of Prophecy article, How the Rapture? (Posted 8-24-13), this phenomenal sequence of events will take several minutes, beginning with the (Lord’s) shout heard around the world, and culminating with the final blast of several trumpets.
“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It (the actual transformation, not the preliminary events described in I Thessalonians 4) will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown … those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed” (I Corinthians 15:51-52, parenthesis mine).
However, that’s just the beginning of things that will be so very sudden. Soon, if not immediately, after the Rapture, another event will suddenly arrest the attention, seize the senses, and attract the allegiance of billions left behind when Messiah Jesus takes believers from this earth.
Wrote John in Revelation: “…There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, and blasphemies against God were written all over it” (Revelation 17:3).
Later, the angel explained what John had just witnessed:
“Why are you so amazed? … I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon (abruptly, suddenly) come up out of the bottomless pit … And the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8, parenthesis mine)
A Dramatic Disclosure
The remarkable discernment given to me by the Lord in November, 2008 began with the above passage in Revelation 17, which led to my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? 666, published in February, 2011. And, yes, it was a sudden illumination from this passage (indeed the entire book of Revelation), which I had read numerous times without making the compelling correlation that: The Antichrist (beast) had already lived and died BEFORE John was given a vision of the beast.
This stunningly sudden reappearance of Antichrist from the Abyss will mesmerize virtually the entire world after the Rapture to the point of worship for one reason: His return from the grave (actually the Abyss).
“I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal would was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle (return from the dead after two thousand years) and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshipped the dragon (Satan) for giving the beast such power, and they also worshipped the beast. ‘Who is as great as the beast?’ they exclaimed. ‘Who is able to fight against him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4, parenthesis mine).
If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to get a copy of Out of the Abyss (Amazon or Barnes and Noble or WestBow Press), which contains definitive documentation of all Bible passages on the Antichrist coupled with 1st century history to support what I believe is unmistakable evidence: The Roman Emperor Nero is the Antichrist of I John 3; the little horn/king of Daniel 7; the ruler whose armies would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple as found in Daniel 9; the king of the north in Daniel 11; the evil shepherd of Zachariah 11; the man of lawlessness in II Thessalonians 2; and the beast/king of Revelation 13 and 17.
In the category of Antichrist, several Eye of Prophecy articles have been written to further elaborate on this crucial last day’s clarification (correction if you will) concerning the origin of Antichrist, including his very identity … which was meant to be known! Otherwise, why would the angel through John challenge believers to ascertain the identity of the beast, not once but twice, as clearly presented in Revelation 13:18 and 17:9?
The Bible paints a composite picture of Antichrist that matches the historical Nero—what he was and did during his ascent to and time as Caesar—and also his return to complete what he started, but on a truly global scale. In today’s article, we will concentrate on just one feature of the painting to demonstrate that all the other Bible passages prove Nero is the Antichrist, by disproving that the Antichrist will be a modern-day man.
(Bust of Nero)
Our focus: His SUDDEN reappearance from banishment to the Abyss 2,000 years ago, as opposed to the mainstream prophetic view that the Antichrist will be a modern-day man; indeed, one who many believe is now among us. Later in today’s article, we’ll see that this sudden return also explains why he is so “different” than the ten kings (national leaders) who will give him their kingdoms (nations) to rule and reign over.
“Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 7: 24-25, italics for emphasis).
For sheer interest and intrigue, let’s first look at some memorial events in Scripture that happened, suddenly! In so doing, I believe we’ll have a significantly better grasp of the “sudden appearance” of Antichrist to show that he is not a modern-day man.
The New Living Translation (which I quote from in my articles, unless noted otherwise, such as the New American Standard Bible) employs the adjective/noun sudden or the often used adverb suddenly … no less than 122 times in the Old and New Testaments. Although this number exceeds other translations, the NLT translators (scholars) have simply chosen the word suddenly more than other English synonyms that could be used to accurately translate the Hebrew and Greek words that mean the same thing. It’s apparently a matter of preference; but also, I believe, an enhanced emphasis to effectively express the Hebrew and Greek text.
There are several Hebrew and Greek words that convey (are synonyms of) the word or concept of sudden, unexpected, unforeseen, abrupt, surprisingly, swiftly (without warning), etc.
Examples/Events in Scripture
As contained in Scripture and as human experience bears testimony, sudden life-changing events can be horrendously horrifying or heartwarmingly happy or sometimes both.
There are dozens of Bible passages that use the term, sudden or suddenly. We’ll examine only eight of these significant episodes, three of which are joyful, four of which are terrifying, and one that is both good and bad. I’m guessing that most of you will immediately recognize or at least be familiar with each spectacular occurrence. Except, perhaps the last passage which will return our attention to how the ominous return of Antichrist takes place and why he (Nero) is so different than the ten kings of the ten kingdoms that will constitute his formidable coalition during the Tribulation.
Each passage contains the word suddenly (which will be italicized) and each passage will reflect one of the meanings of sudden or suddenly that best applies to the event, as noted by the captioned heading of that passage. Certainly, the synonyms could be interchangeable; in fact, you may prefer to match them up differently than I have. No problem with that, as the main purpose is to emphasize how the sudden appearance of someone or something in these passages is strikingly similar and perfectly parallel to the last passage examined … that of the Antichrist’s appearance.
Beginning with one of the joyful events, we will then alternate between the bad (for those involved) and the good incidents, followed by one that is both negative and positive; then conclude with the fourth portentous (bad) event that is the main subject of today’s article.
*Note: In the passages where suddenly modifies the verb appeared or something similar (like came), appeared will also be italicized.
“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them … the angel reassured them, ‘Don’t be afraid … I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:8-11).
This is undoubtedly the most “suddenly” recognized passage/event of all time, known by millions upon millions of believers and unbelievers alike down through the ages. Although prophesied long before he came, Messiah Jesus’ post-birth was first announced by a completely unforeseen appearance of angels to, of all people, lowly shepherds … not to kings or nobles.
“So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. As Pharaoh and all of his officials watched, Aaron raised his staff and struck the water of the Nile. Suddenly, the whole river turned to blood! The fish in the river died, and the water became so foul that the Egyptians couldn’t drink it. There was blood everywhere throughout the land of Egypt” (Exodus 7:20-21).
When Aaron struck the Nile, it instantly turned to blood. This was the first of ten mighty miracles (plagues) that God inflicted on Egypt.
“As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus” (Matthew 17:2-3).
Obviously, Peter, James, and John did not realize what was about to happen to their Lord when he was transfigured into the splendor that he possessed before entering the world as a man—the same glorious essence he would bear upon his return to heaven in his Resurrected body. However, this was the first time that Jesus had taken only these three disciples with him, and I’m sure they anticipated something different or unique would happen. But they would never have expected Moses and Elijah to appear in bodily form.
*See Eye of Prophecy articles, The Two Witnesses, I, II, & III (posted 6-7, 6-14, & 6-21-14) that explain why and how these two mighty prophets appeared to Jesus in their earthly bodies and will do so again during the Tribulation before Christ returns.
“And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own. If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the Lord.’
“He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers … So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel” (Numbers 16:28-33).
Although the majority of the Israelites often doubted or distrusted the Lord to take care of them in the post-Exodus journey through the wilderness, this was one instance in which a few of them actually rebelled against Moses, thereby showing contempt for the Lord. As a result, Moses told them (prophesied) what was about to happen to prove that the Lord had appointed Moses as his go-between leader of the people. As soon as Moses declared what the Lord would do, the judgment swiftly took place when the ground suddenly split open devouring the rebels.
“That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them” (Luke 24:13-15).
The text of the entire passage is clear: the two men were deeply saddened by Yeshua’s death, and also perplexed over the incredible news they had heard—Jesus might have risen from the grave. While they were trying to process “everything that had happened,” Jesus suddenly came (appeared) out of nowhere … like he would later appear to his disciples in the closed, locked room. They were totally unaware that it was Jesus who was walking and talking with them!
The account continues: “By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, ‘Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.’ So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!” (Luke 24:28-31).
Wow! They were utterly unaware that the man was Jesus until he had been with them for several hours. They were equally unprepared and startled that he would disappear in front of their eyes as quickly as he had appeared with them on the road. To disappear (vanish) is the same as suddenly appearing.
Surprise (Shockingly So)
“Many years later King Belshazzar gave a great feast for 1,000 of his nobles, and he drank wine with them” (Daniel 5:1).
“Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him” (Daniel 5:5-6).
As indicated, for these Bible passages in which something suddenly happens, I’ve chosen what I think is the most appropriate synonym for each incident. The surprise experienced by King Belshazzar and his “honored” guests gives an expanded meaning to the word. It was more like shock. In fact, the word surprise is derived from the words surpris and suprendre, which mean: “an attack made without warning; to capture by unexpected attack; to strike with wonder or amazement” (Webster’s Dictionary).
We all know what a “surprise attack” is. And many are familiar with the term “sudden death,” whether it’s someone actually dying or a sporting event.
This is such a well-known account in Scripture that, to this very day, nearly everyone has heard or used the phrase, “The writing on the wall.” The sudden image of a hand writing on the king’s wall terrified him and his guests. It gives a whole new meaning to being “caught off guard.” They were totally surprised (shocked) at not only the writing on the wall but also the immediate fulfillment of its prophecy that Belshazzar would be killed, and Babylon would be destroyed by the Persians … that very night.
The next passage reflects a combination of terror and joy. It is one that contains bad news and good news.
Brought About In A Short Space of Time (Sooner Than Expected), Then Immediately Stopped
“Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’
“Jesus responded, ‘Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!’ Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed, ‘Who is this man?’ they asked. ‘Even the winds and waves obey him!’” (Matthew 8:23-27).
It was bad news for the disciples who, despite several miracles that Jesus had already performed, had little or no faith in the very fact that Jesus was with them. Though they were terrified, they soon realized more than ever before who Jesus was and what incomparable power and authority he possessed.
Bad news: The storms of life all too frequently and suddenly appear and strike heavy blows.
Good news: So what? If you know Messiah Jesus as personal Savior, he is with you. He will either get you through the storm or command it to stop. Some of our Lord’s last words on earth were, “…And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
(One other “suddenly appeared” passage of note is II Kings 2, in which the prophet Elijah is taken to heaven by a chariot of fire that suddenly … appeared).
The Sudden Appearance of the Little Horn of Daniel (Antichrist … Nero)
Now that we have a handle on the idea of sudden or suddenly in the context of Biblical history, let’s look at another prophecy that, when correlated and compared with other Scriptural evidence, will demonstrate that Nero is the Antichrist beast who will return to the amazement of those left behind at the Rapture. It is the optimum passage to validate that it is not a modern-day man who will take on the role of Antichrist.
Read with me Daniel’s dramatic description of the man who would appear directly from the fourth world empire, Rome. We know this to be true because John in Revelation later wrote that this same man had already lived and died, as one of the five kings—Roman Emperors—who had fallen … died before John saw the Antichrist beast. (Revelation 17:10 … see Out of the Abyss for a detailed analysis).
(*Note: The Late Great Roman Empire is long gone. I have said this before: There will not be a “Revived Roman Empire” as so many have postulated. Just look at what’s happening in Europe. The European Union is unraveling at the seams. There is a rising populism and nationalistic movement (as opposed to international globalism) across the world. But as I stated in Out of the Abyss and prior Eye of Prophecy articles, there will be a Revived Roman Emperor (Nero). He will take full advantage of the global allegiance given to him as a result of his “supernatural” return from the grave, by consolidating ten powerful nations to do his bidding. See Eye of Prophecy article, “One Ring to Rule Them All…” published 11-21-15.)
“As I was looking at the horns (the ten horns who are the ten kings that will give their kingdoms to Antichrist during the Great Tribulation), suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly” (Daniel 7:8, parenthesis mine).
Once again, I’ve highlighted appeared. This is to stress that Nero’s introduction to our post-modern world soon after the Rapture will be exactly what this verse says it will be … a very sudden appearance. Actually, a reappearance, which Revelation 17:8 denotes.
This is of vital significance to comprehend. In fact, the implication is staggering once you get a handle on it. Here’s why.
Restating an observation: It’s only natural to assume that the Antichrist will be a man born in the last days who will rise to global power before and especially after the Rapture takes place. That is, under normal circumstances, the obvious way that all past tyrants achieved their pinnacle of power … in varying degrees, a gradual ascension to a position of wide-spread authority.
And, I get that.
With, however, a reminder: Beginning with the stupendous world-shaking event of the Rapture and continuing with miracle after miracle during the Great Tribulation, the last seven years of the earth as we know it will consist of ongoing supernatural happenings.
Notwithstanding the apocalyptic replacement of the natural with the supernatural during the last days, we also have a plethora of exceptional miracles that God and his Son have performed throughout the ages. Thus, why would it be such an incredible conclusion that Nero was revived soon after Christ struck him down (see II Thessalonians 2:8); then banished to the Abyss in his restored earthly body with the same wounds that killed him (see Zechariah 11 & Revelation 13); then given permission to return to this earth by rising from the Abyss (Revelation 17:8) which is beneath a literal sea—most probably the Mediterranean (Revelation 13:1).
To wit: If God could suddenly take Elijah to heaven (without dying) in a chariot of fire; if the Lord could instantly, without warning, snatch Enoch from this earth to spare him the Great Flood; if he could surprisingly split the Red Sea over a short space of time allowing his people to cross on dry land then swiftly return the waters to drown their pursuers; if God could unexpectantly provide food from heaven (manna), then make this food appear (new) every morning to feed his people for forty years in the wilderness … well you get the picture?
If the Lord can do all these things, not to mention create the entire universe and raise people from the dead; then is anything too hard for the Lord, or too inconceivable to consider, or too natural for God to set aside the laws of nature, as he has done time and time again. Thus, the sequence of events involving Nero, as described above, would be extraordinarily easy for God to do.
How he does what he does is beyond out finite comprehension. For that matter, so is gravity. We know it exists, but have no clue as to “how” it really works.
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). Go ahead, if you like: Think of something that’s too hard for God. But remember: whatever he does, whenever he speaks and acts, he does so with (his) perfect timing … when he’s ready and the time is right to accomplish his majestic plan for the human race.
The prevailing view (which is sensible and historically the way of such things) is that the Antichrist will be or currently is in a position of prominence somewhere in the world when the Rapture will take place (any day now). A Prime Minister or President? From the United Nations or European Union? The United States?
That is not, however, the picture prophetically painted by the prophet Daniel. The sudden appearance (abrupt rise to prominence and power) of the little horn (Antichrist) is anything but gradual.
Here is an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss, to reinforce what Daniel predicted, and to best illustrate the means by which the Antichrist will dramatically step onto the global stage to the amazement of an unsuspecting, unprepared, unaware, surprisingly shocked left-behind population. In italics:
We also have information in Daniel that is absolutely stunning. It begins with the phrase, “suddenly … appeared” (Daniel 7:8). Did you catch that? Of course you did. I repeat for emphasis: suddenly appeared. In the NAS, we read: “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them…” Though “came up” is less demonstrative that “suddenly appeared” as found in the New Living Translation, the NAS verse begins Daniel’s observation with the word “behold.” The meaning is unmistakable: The little horn (Antichrist) sprang up abruptly. An equivalent modern-day phrase would be, “He came out of nowhere.”
The word suddenly in Daniel 7 dramatically modifies, enhances, and further clarifies the appearing or reappearing of Antichrist as found in the New Testament. And the impact of this is crucial in realizing that the beast suddenly appears from the Abyss, as opposed to a modern-day man already in an influential political or administrative or even a military position. The contemporary view of the Antichrist is that, after the Rapture takes place, he will rise in prominence by asserting his positional influence, be that in or from the United Nations, European Union, or some other notable location.
Do you know of any past tyrant, dictator, or prestigious leader that tersely and unexpectantly arrived on the scene? All of the good and bad historical leaders were fairly well known by the time they came to ultimate power. That’s why the Antichrist depicted in Scripture does not fit the contemporary view. A modern-day leader would not abruptly appear on the scene. He would at least be known and recognized at some mid-level or already high-level political, social, or military position.
But the Antichrist is different. He arrives on the scene suddenly and surprisingly.
In fact, the New American Standard Bible states that this other king arises “after” the ten kings. Not before, not at the same time, but after. According to the view of those who hold to a modern-day Antichrist, he will be a chronological contemporary (born and raised in the same generation) of the ten kings with a simultaneous or near parallel ascent with those kings. This view is not supported by the language in Daniel (Out of the Abyss, pages 183-184).
There’s Different, and Then There’s Different!
In the verse quoted earlier in today’s article from that same passage in Daniel, we read: “…Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them” (Daniel 7:24, italics for emphasis).
Just how different is he? Well, we can start with the obvious: He is Nero Caesar, the ancient Roman Emperor who ruled the Roman Empire for fourteen years and persecuted Christians like no one before or after him. He will resume this onslaught against the Tribulation saints and also the Jews.
(Christians Used as Burning Torches to Light Nero’s Palace Garden)
Once again, please allow me to defer to an excerpt from Out of the Abyss.
The expression different is both intriguing and forceful. Why or how is the Antichrist different than the ten kings who yield their allegiance? Especially as utilized in the context, the word itself is too strong to suggest an intrinsic variation, such as being a more polished, captivating, charismatic, or powerful leader…
Different denotes different, in all that word means and implies. I think this is important enough to refer to Webster’s Dictionary. Different is: “partly or totally unlike in nature, form, or quality.” It is: “dissimilar (could hardly be more).” It is: not the same as.” In addition to dissimilar, other synonyms are: “distinct, unusual, special, diverse, divergent, and disparate.” It is: ‘unlike in kind or character.” The synonym diverse “implies marked contrast…”
The one thing that makes Antichrist (Nero) different from the other kings is that he is a living miracle, and they are not.
He has risen from the underworld, and they have not. The ten kings have a birth certificate, but the Antichrist does not. Nor will anyone, including crime scene forensic investigators be able to prove that he had died a short time before he arose, as there will be no autopsy, or death certificate; nor any fingerprint records, or dental records, nor any evidence of a crime scene, nor a coroner’s report, not a coffin or a grave.
We must remember the shocking fact announced by the angelic messenger: Antichrist died before John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Therefore, his initial sudden appearance to a post-Rapture world will be from the dead, which makes him dramatically different than the ten kings. There’s no way the beast can or will be born during the generation that experiences the Day of the Lord. (Pages 185-186).
Things to Ponder
Do you see the amazing connection between the Biblical examples provided in today’s article (seven of several dozen) and the Antichrist passage in Daniel that employs the term and concept of suddenly, especially with regard to a sudden appearance? This correlation is just one of many to support what I firmly believe is a correct re-fit of the prophetic puzzle regarding Antichrist … who he really is and how he will reappear from the Abyss.
Knowing the identity of the Antichrist will reduce and even eliminate the amazement of so many both now and after the Rapture, that will cause them to believe the lie that this despicable tyrant (Nero) is Messiah. Instead, some will realize that the Bible had predicted this long ago.
There is only one who has truly risen from the dead; the true Messiah, the One who is the only way, truth, and life.
“But very early on Sunday morning, the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes …
“Then the men asked,
Messiah Jesus has risen, indeed!