14-1 Angels And Christ's Return
The immediate build up to Christ''s return will be a result of much Angelic activity among the nations. We have earlier suggested that the references to "seducing" and "evil" spirits in Scripture may well refer to Angels in some way. The three spirits that gather the nations to Armageddon may well refer to Angels (Rev. 16:14). They are also described there as 'demons', language which some have sought to apply to Angels of evil (1). All this notwithstanding, Is. 13 describes God's "sanctified ones. . . My mighty ones. . . that rejoice in My highness" as being "the Lord of Hosts (of Angels) mustering the host of the battle. They come from a far country, from the end of Heaven, even the Lord" (Is. 13:3-5). Despite the primary reference to the Persians, these verses have so much Angelic language that they must refer to the work of the Angels behind whatever human instruments they use to bring about the gathering to Armageddon. The Angels are again identified so closely with those on earth that they represent- as in the case of Job’s satan. That Is. 13 concerns the last days is shown by the many links here with Joel's prophecy; v. 8,10 with Luke 21; and v. 16 with Dt. 28, to list just a few.
The chronology of events around the second coming of Christ makes a fascinating study. At present there are two broad schools of thought:
One school suggests that the Angels gather the responsible to judgement in Sinai, from where the worthy march with Christ through the wilderness repeating the route of Israel on the Exodus. After defeating some opposition along the way, they reach Jerusalem at a time when Jerusalem is surrounded by armies. The Jews ask "Who is this that cometh from Edom?" (Is. 63:1) and then accept Christ who then destroys all opposition at Armageddon.
The other approach analyses the passages used to prove the 'march of the rainbowed Angel' (Ps. 68; Dt. 33; Hab. 3; Mic. 7:15) and concludes that they are allusions to the Exodus, but do not necessitate an exact repetition of it. John Thomas embarks on his exposition of the march to explain how the 'rainbowed Angel' of Rev. 10:1 attained His position (2). But this passage is concerning an Angel, not Jesus and the saints. Most references to Angels in Revelation can be applied to literal Angels. The evidence for judgement at Sinai is at best tenuous, and seems to contradict a host of passages indicating judgement at Jerusalem (e. g. Matt. 25:31; Ps. 133:3; 87:5; 132:16; Is. 4:3; 25:6-8). Gog's invasion of Ez. 38 is placed after the return of Christ, due to Israel dwelling "in peace and safety", a phrase often about the Kingdom.
The present writer finds problems with both, not least because there does seem to be some indication of Divine activity outside Jerusalem and approaching Jerusalem at the time of the end. It seems hard for there to be a judgement in Jerusalem if there is to be a presence of "saints" in the Bozrah/ Sinai area marching to liberate Jerusalem. The presence of God's people in Jerusalem, either natural or spiritual Israel, looking for deliverance from outside is hinted at several times, not least in the record of the deliverance of Hezekiah and his people from the Assyrian invasion.