A City Set On a Hill
Surviving the Seventieth Week by Reforming Fundamentalism and Establishing Cities of Refuge
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Glossary of Terms
About the Author
Copyright 2010 by Raul E. Lopez, MD, MDiv

According to many Christians, the Bible predicts that the Christian era will culminate with a seven year period of progressively worsening chaos and judgment during which a majority of mankind will lose their life. Daniel was one of the first prophets to speak about this period. His prophecy covered a period of four hundred and ninety years. This period was divided into seventy shorter periods of seven years each. Since the Hebrew word used for each of these shorter units means both 'seven' and 'week' (since a week is a 'seven' of days) the prophecy is commonly known as Daniel's seventy weeks. A gap of time seems to divide the first sixty nine weeks, which have already been fulfilled, from the seventieth week, which is believed to conclude the Christian era and, consequently, has not yet been fulfilled.. Therefore, the seven year period which concludes the Christian era is often called the seventieth week. The most common term used to refer to this seventieth week is The Tribulation, which is a reference to the judgments and persecutions which occur during this time. Even though used commonly, the term is perhaps somewhat misleading, as we will discuss later.

The seventieth week begins with the establishment of a one-world government and with the ratification of a peace treaty between the world government and Israel. It is possible that this follows a war which the Bible, in the book of Ezekiel, calls the invasion of Gog and Magog. This could possibly be World War III. The war consists of an invasion of Israel by Russia, Iran, Germany, and their allies. Israel apparently wins this war and a world leader rises which uses this war as an opportunity to unite the world under a world government. It is possible that the world government is promoted as a way to ensure peace and eliminate for ever the chance of another devastating world war.

However, world government fails to eliminate ethnic strife, civil war, and their attendant devastations. Consequently, it has to resort to progressively more draconian measures in order to maintain peace. This results in economic collapse and the death of one third of the population from starvation, disease and violence. Half way through the seventieth week a restructuring seems to occur. It is possible that an internal coup attempt takes place which results in the imposition of universal martial law. This may transform what was at first a world republic into a world empire.

At any rate, the Bible predicts that at this point in the seventieth week the world leader, who may have come close to death or even died and then recovered, declares himself to be the messiah or savior of the world and sets up a world religion based on emperor worship. He will then set up an image of himself in the rebuilt Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and demand to be worshiped as divine. It is possible that this image is an extremely sophisticated cybernetic (robotic) artificial life form which is connected remotely to the brain of the world leader.

It is because of this false claim to be the christ or messiah that the Bible calls him the Antichrist. Some Jews, some gentile believers, and, possibly, the Roman Catholic Church will then refuse to submit to this universal religion so the Antichrist destroys Rome and persecutes the remaining Jews and Believers, especially the Roman Catholics. This tragic period of intense persecution, called the great tribulation, then comes to an end with a near extinction-level asteroidal impact which destroys more than a quarter of the remaining population on Earth. At that point Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, returns to battle the antichrist in a war of epic proportions popularly called Armageddon. After His sure victory he establishes His rule over those who survive these events and sets up the millennial kingdom, His one thousand year reign over the earth.

This theological hypothesis for end time events, or theological system, is called Pre-millennialism. With some variations, this view is accepted by many, if not a majority of conservative Bible believing Christians, both Evangelical and Fundamentalist. It teaches that the Jesus comes to set up His Earthly thousand year kingdom after the trials of this seventieth week. One would expect such horrible predictions to have some kind of an impact upon the lives of those who hold such views. The normal response to warnings of disaster is preparation. As a teenager in Miami I remember helping my father board up the windows of our house on two separate occasions in response to the threat of hurricanes. Unfortunately, denial is often a more common response than preparation.

Two other beliefs are often attached to the Pre-millennial system of theology which takes away most of its impact. The first of these two views is the belief that Jesus Christ will return from heaven to miraculously remove all true Christians from the earth before the beginning of the seventieth week. This view holds that Christians will spend the seventieth week feasting in heaven while the rest of mankind is nearly annihilated on Earth. It is of note that among those who will die on Earth will be included many who never heard because those feasting Christians never bothered to go tell them (probably because they were doing too much feasting on Earth before the rapture). This theological theory, or subsystem, is called the Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Church and the time of feasting is given the name the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

The second assumption often associated with pretibulational premillennialism is somewhat less well defined, but is found in many popular description of events of the seventieth weeks. It seems that many Christians believe that most of the horrors of this period will take place primarily in Europe and the Middle East and that the United States will be somehow less affected. In fact, some seem to think that God will use the United States to protect the Jews and the Christians during this time and will serve as a moderating force which will keep things from getting too far out of hand. Therefore, unsaved friends and relatives of American Christians might perhaps get a second chance and be spared some of the horrors of this period.

The purpose of this book is to show that these two secondary assumptions are likely false. The Bible seems to teach that Christians will not be miraculously removed before the seventieth week but will, indeed, go through most of the seventieth week and that the AntiChrist will likely arise from the United States. We hope to lay out before the reader an alternative model for the rapture which the author believes fits the data of scripture more closely than the one held by most Christians and described in the previous paragraph. It is never possible to prove anything beyond a shadow of a doubt, but we hope that the reasonableness of our interpretation and the leading of the Holy Spirit will convince some readers of the validity of what we say.

The timing of the rapture is important because the Bible teaches that it is possible to survive the judgments of the seventieth week. A small faithful segment of the church is granted a special promise of protection because they were prepared. They understood and heeded the words of the Lord to the church found in the book of Revelation and other passages of Biblical prophecy. However, this protection is based on several conditions, all of which involve preparation. A Christian who holds to a pre-seventieth week rapture is not going to be prepared because he believes that no preparation is necessary. Indeed, it seems that most Christians will enter the seventieth week in a state of unpreparedness. Sadly, once the events of the seventieth week begin, preparation will be difficult.

The author urges the reader to ask himself if he is prepared to go through the events of the seventieth week. We need to do three things in order to be prepared. Part of the preparation must take place at an individual level. We, first of all, need to inform ourselves. We urge the reader to read this book in its entirety. If the seventieth week starts during your life time, the information in this book could make a difference between life and death, between blessing and suffering. Have you ever sat down and examined the evidences for the rapture for yourself or are you trusting simply in what your Sunday School teacher or Pastor says? Challenge your Sunday School teacher or Pastor to read the book and answer your questions about the rapture and the tribulation.

Part of the preparation needs to be done collectively. We need better churches. We need to convince church members and even pastors to start living and running their churches according to the Biblical pattern. Finally, it is the conviction of this author that it is possible and advisable to form a network of independent city states through out the world whose laws are based on the principles laid out in the Old Testament. These cities would serve as cities of refuge to protect Christians from the worst part of the judgements of the seventieth week. I call the first step reforming Christian fundamentalism and the second step establishing cities of refuge. Even though these goals seem hard to achieve they are primarily based on education. Churches already exist and cities already exist. We just need to teach people the Biblical model for church and government and then convince people to follow this model.

When Jesus told John to write the book of Revelation He addressed it to seven churches in ancient Turkey which were meant to represent all churches of all time. Some were in a greater or lesser state of preparation for the end times. The Lord tells the church of Sardis, probably the least prepared church, "if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you" (Revelation 3:3). On the other hand, he tells the church at Philadelphia "because you have kept the word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth" (Revelation 3:10, author's translation). We hope you will join us in this task of preparing for the seventieth week.

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