SEVEN MAJOR EVENTS OF THE END TIMES
PART 2 – THE COUNTDOWN CONTINUES
In part one I mentioned that no amount of effort can stop the clock of history. That no mortal, no matter how influential, wealthy, or well-known can break the tyranny of time. Every day that passes, every minute and every hour bring us closer to the dramatic events predicted in the Bible.
What’s ahead? How much can we know about the end times? Well, not everything, certainly. But the Bible does give us much information. In the pages of this posting, I will identify and explain the seven major events of the end times. There are other events occurring and in a previous posting I did discuss and identify another end time event – the Gog and Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39. God purposely lures Russia and her allies into battle with Israel to supernaturally destroy her. There also will be other events that I will cover in future postings but today I wanted to focus on these seven major events.
Christ is the center of God’s plan for the end times – key to the future.
Here is the countdown:
- Return in the air (the Rapture): Christ comes back for His own. (His body of believers – The Church)
- Rise of the Antichrist: Christ is challenged. (Start of the Tribulation period)
- Unparalleled trouble: Christ troubles the nations and Israel. (Great Tribulation)
- Return to the earth: Christ comes to rescue and judge Israel and the nations.
- 1000-year reign: Christ rules the world from an earthly throne.
- Final judgment: Christ defeats His enemies and judges’ unbelievers.
- New World: God creates a new heaven and a new earth.
In Part One I covered the first three of seven major events of the end times and today I will finish it off with the last four of seven major events. The countdown continues….
- CHRIST WILL RETURN TO THE EARTH – BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON: As the Tribulation draws to a close the earth will be in turmoil. The Antichrist’s hatred of God will focus on the Jews as the seven years reach their conclusion. The Antichrist will march his armies into Israel in preparation for a vast military showdown. The Antichrist will draw the nations together for a final battle on the plains of Megiddo (Rev. 16:12-16). “For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem (Zech. 14:2).” The Jewish nation will be surrounded by the Antichrist’s army and will be fighting for its very own existence. The fighting will reach Jerusalem, and the Jews living there will suffer horribly (Zech. 14:1-21). A sense of despair will sweep over the Jewish nation.
Suddenly, when all seems hopeless, the scene will change. Jesus Christ will appear in all His glory and descend to the Mount of Olives. When His feet touch it, the mountain will split in half, forming a vast new valley stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea (Zech. 14:3-9). The Antichrist will rally the armies of earth to attack Him, but they will be crushed in defeat. Israel will be rescued. The armed hordes of earth will be slain. The Antichrist and his cohort (False Prophet) will be thrown into the lake of fire. Satan himself will be bound and the victorious Christ will prepare to ascend His throne in Jerusalem to rule in peace for 1000 years.
Jesus Christ will hold two special judgments at the close of the Tribulation. The first will be for the unbelieving and believing Jews who survived those terrible days (Ezekiel 20:34-44). A similar judgment will be held for the Gentiles who live through the Tribulation. Again, a shepherd metaphor is used to describe Christ. He is pictured as separating the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:31-46). Believers in Christ (the sheep) will be allowed to enter the Millennial Kingdom; unbelievers (the goats) will die and await the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15).
- CHRIST WILL RULE THE EARTH FOR 1000 YEARS – THE MILLENNIUM : Did you know that there is coming a day when the garden of Eden will be restored? After the Battle of Armageddon, rather than returning to His Father in heaven, Jesus Christ will erect His throne in Jerusalem. He will establish it as His capital city, reinstate the Jews as His people, and rule over the earth in a 1000-year reign of peace, prosperity and righteousness, which Scripture calls the Millennium (Rev. 20:4-6).
Here is what the Bible tells us:
- Christ will be King. Christ Jesus will be glorified.
- We as believers will reign with Christ (Rev. 20:4, 6).
- David’s throne will be re-established in Jerusalem (Luke 1:32).
- Climate will be ideal (Isaiah 30:23-26).
- Wild animals will be tame (Isaiah 11:6-9).
- People will have good health (Isaiah 35:5-6).
- Life will be lengthened (Isaiah 65:29-20, 22).
- Trees will provide food and medicine (Ezekiel 47:12).
- The rebuilt Temple at Jerusalem will be the center of worship (Ezekiel 40-48).
- Representatives from all nations will come to Jerusalem (Zech. 14:16).
The reason for the Millennium is that God is going to use it to fulfil promises which He has made to His Son. God has promised Jesus that He will be glorified in history to compensate in part for His humiliation in history. The Bible says point blank that Jesus will return to manifest His glory (Isaiah 24:23; 66:18-19; 2 Thess.1:7-10). God also has promised that He will give Jesus dominion over all the world and that He will reign over the nations from Mount Zion in Jerusalem (Dan.7:13-4; Isaiah 2:2-4; Zach.14:1-9).
Psalms 2 says that God sits in the heavens and laughs and scoffs at them (rebellious world) because He has appointed a day of reckoning when He will “terrify them in His fury (v.2).” That will be the day when He installs Jesus as “King upon Zion (v.6).”
Currently Jesus is serving as our High Priest before the throne of God (Heb. 8:1). He is waiting for His Father’s command to return to earth and claim all the kingdoms of this world (Heb. 2:5-9; Rev.19:11-16). This is when the unbelieving world will see His Glory displayed to everyone. The Savior who was humiliated, taunted, and put to death in a public display of humanity’s hatred of God will return as conquering Lord in view of the entire world (Luke 21:25-27). The Second Coming of Jesus is the apex of human history, where every eye will see Him.
The Millennium is also essential for the fulfilment of all the promises that God has made to the Jews, to the Church, to the nations, and to creation. Let me briefly explain: In the beginning, when God created man, the devil sought to dwarf the Divine plan for the human race. Because of man’s disobedience, he surrendered the scepter to Satan, who is now the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4). But Jesus Christ, “the last Adam,” through His death and resurrection has regained for man the dominion over the world, and will, in the Millennium, dethrone Satan and rule as King supreme. The redeemed of the earth will be associated with Him in His reign (Rev. 5:9, 10; 20:4-6). So, it would appear that the very honor of the Lord is at stake in all of this. The scene of Christ’s humiliation, suffering, and crucifixion will one day witness His exultation and glory.
When Christ rules in the Millennial Kingdom, His love, justice, mercy, righteousness, and peace will be found throughout the earth. Since people reflect their ruler, the people of the kingdom will reflect the characteristics of their King (Christ Jesus). During this golden age, the earth will be what God intended it to be.
- CHRIST WILL ABOLISH REBELLION AND JUDGE UNBELIEVERS: It all began some time in eternity past when Lucifer (Satan) looked with a jealous eye at the throne of God. This was the first sin created in the universe. In pride he led a rebellion of angels against God and was cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-15). From the time of his deception in the Garden of Eden until he was bound by Christ after the Battle of Armageddon, he has brought immeasurable suffering to all mankind. Now, after 1000 years of confinement, his hatred of God has intensified. He will be released from confinement and will immediately make one last, desperate attempt to dethrone the Lord (Gog and Magog rebellion). This will be Satan’s final act of rebellion.
After Satan’s last rebellion is smashed, it will be time for the final judgment. A new heaven and a new earth will soon be appearing, and the last details of earth business will be taken care of. This judgment will occur at the Great White Throne of God (Rev. 20:11-15).
We are told that “the dead, small and great (v. 12)” will stand before the throne. Unbelievers of Old Testament days, the Church Age, the Tribulation, and the Millennium will be there as the books are opened. Those who rejected God’s offer of salvation in Christ will have sealed their own fate. Their names will not be found in the Lamb’s Book of Life. They will be cast into the lake of fire, which is already inhabited by Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet. This is the second death – eternal death (spiritual death or eternal separation from God).
Genesis 2:7 tells us that the “breath of life” (God’s Spirit) was breathed into the physical man, and he became a living soul, distinct from any other creature of the animal kingdom. At man’s physical death, Ecclesiastics 12:7 says, “Then the dust will return to the earth and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” Let me explain: When we die our physical body returns to the dust of the earth (decomposed and reduced to dust) while our spirit, which God gave us, returns to God. A believer will be with God and have an intimate relationship with Him for all eternity. In the case of a nonbeliever, they will be separated from God for all eternity in a place reserved for Satan and his fallen angels (lake of fire).
This shows that the soul is immortal and does not die with the body, nor sleeps in the grave with it; but is immediately with God upon one’s death. You see man is more than dust or physical substance. Man, also has a spirit component raising us above the level of the animal kingdom. So, God has connected Himself to mankind in the most intimate way possible. Man is related to God and has the same breath as God, the breath of life (Spirit). When God created us, He created us perfectly; the real us (the living soul or spirit) was created to live for eternity – to be with Him or to be separated from Him for all eternity.
Facing God’s judgement is not a pleasant thought. God tells us in Revelation 20:10: “And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” We don’t like the idea of eternal suffering. The idea of flames and anguish appalls us. But remember, these are people who intentionally and willfully chose not to trust in Christ. They turned their backs on God’s grace, deciding to leave Him out of their lives. It was their own choice. God is a perfect gentleman and will honor their wishes of having nothing to do with Him. They will be separated for all eternity from God just as they wish. God doesn’t force anyone to come to Him.
God is not vengeful or capricious. He does not cause suffering just for the sport of it. His judgment stems from His Holiness, and He is absolutely righteous and holy. No one will receive one bit more or less than they deserves, because God can only judge rightly.
- NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH – THE NEW JERUSALEM: Just to recap: The Millennium is a transitional period in God’s program; it is the beginning of the eternal rule of God in the kingdom, which will pass into the eternal state. It is the consummating link between history and the eternal order. History and current events are moving toward a final era that will be the pinnacle of God’s plan. The Millennium will be followed by mankind’s final judgement and the eternal state – a new heaven and a new earth.
What will happen to the earth and old-world system? It will be burnt to ashes in the aftermath of Satan’s final attack. It tells us that “the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).”
In his vision, the apostle John saw the holy city descend from heaven and he described it in Revelation 21 and 22. What a wonderful place! There will be no night because our heavenly home will be illuminated by the glory of God and the Lamb (Jesus) will be its light. There will be no temple because Christ Himself will be the temple. We will reign there forever. We will see the face of God and bear His name on our forehead. We will have access forever to the tree of life. With this description of heaven complete, the Bible comes to an end.
Recap: What does this mean to you? Using the Bible as our guide we have surveyed what God has revealed about the end of this age and the ages to come. We have a glimpse of blessedness and goodness that surpasses human comprehension.
If you have trusted in Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can have confidence about the future. After the 1000 years of Christ’s reign on earth is over, you will live with Him in a new world forever, in a life of happiness and fulfilment that centers on the Lord Jesus. But if you do not know Christ, the future is not so promising. You will miss the Rapture and the wrath of God will be poured out on the earth, and on you, in a time of terrible destruction, suffering, and pain. And beyond that lies the second death (eternal separation from God); a fate every bit as real for the unbeliever as heaven is for the person who trusts in Christ. The countdown continues. The time of opportunity is now. Make your decision. Life is full of choices; choose wisely. Trust Christ today. Believing that He died to pay the penalty for your sins and ask Him to save you. He has promised that He would. Then, when you have done so, your future will be secure; both in this life and in the ages to come.