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At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

-Daniel 12:1-2, ESV

Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him…Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time…Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.

-Revelation 12:6-9, 12; 13:2, NKJV

The Daniel passage above shows that when Michael the Archangel, the angelic prince of Israel, “arises” at the time of the end, the Great Tribulation begins. The passage in Revelation above expands on this, showing that Michael will cast the Devil out of heaven once and for all, and that when he does, the Devil’s wrath against humanity will be great, because he knows that his end is only a short way off. This is a kind of desperation, what one might call a mad panic: the Devil knows that he will only have three and a half years to roam the earth after he is cast down by Michael, and then Christ will appear.

Michael and the angels who have charge over nations act as restraining force against evil in the present age. Governments are instituted by God to prevent the worst excesses of man: they are a force for order, and are used to suppress lawlessness. This is true both domestically and in foreign relations. A domestic law imposing the death penalty for murder acts as a deterrent and also as retributive justice. A nation going to war against the evil government of another nation is an instrument to bring peace and justice to the world: the righteous fight of the Allies against the Axis powers in World War 2 is an example of this.

As we get closer to the end, however, the forces of restraint are weakening. 2 Thessalonians 2 tells us that when the restrain ends, the “apostasy” will begin and the Man of Sin will be revealed. Apostasy means rebellion (stasis means civil war and civil unrest). This may be rebellion in general or people leaving true Christianity or both.

The signs of chaos in our own time should give us pause to consider whether the restraint exercised by Michael and human government is coming to an end. For that short space, the reign of the Beast, there will be unparalleled evil on the earth before the return of Christ. Consider this hard language from the Scriptures:

And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time.

-Daniel 12:1, ESV

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved.

-Matthew 24:21-22, ESV

…since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels…

-2 Thessalonians 1:6-7

We are seeing chaos at the present time in the form of wars, but also intellectually. Great swathes of society have been taken away by, as it were, a flood of demonic deception: relativism, nihilism, existentialism, materialism, political correctness. The laws of our lands have become instruments of evil.

Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, have fellowship with You?

-Psalm 94, NKJV

Israel is back in the land, and hatred is rising against her from the House of Islam and the political Left. Now is a time to consider whether 2 Thessalonians 2 is far off.