Last week we began a sub-series this series that unveils God’s blueprint for the End Times. We talked about the Rapture of the Church. This writer believes that the Rapture will be a pre-tribulational event – and perhaps we’ll revisit that subject sometime soon to make the case. But that being said, it does not materially affect God’s plans as we understand them. As to other events we looked at the coming Psalm 83 War in which an inner-ring of Arab nations set out to destroy Israel. Israel’s prophetically certain victory in that conflict will set up the next round – the Gog / Magog War of Ezekiel 38. It is God Himself who steps in to destroy the coalition that will consist of Persia, Turkey and most scholars believe, Russia. So that’s the set up.
GOD’S PLAN – II
- THE RETURN OF ALL JEWS – God’s glorious victory opens the eyes of His people and the Jews return to Israel. Ezekiel 39:28 reveals God’s purposes. “‘Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind.’” The returning Jews – some hunted out of their lands where they had settled – now demand that the Temple be rebuilt. They are anxious to, in the words of Mr Kelly, “resume their Old Covenant relationship with Him.”[i]
- ENTER THE ANTICHRIST – It is here that the antichrist likely comes on the scene. He will confirm a covenant that will put in place a peace plan for the Middle East and at the same time allow for the reconstruction of the Temple. This could be a strictly Jewish structure, – or knowing the New World Order plans, – could be a Temple that incorporated the three monotheistic faiths. A three-winged version is already designed on line.
- THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION – At the three-and-one-half-year point in the agreement, the Antichrist will “will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation”. (Daniel 9:27) 2Thessalonians 2:4 puts it thus: he “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”
- THE GREAT TRIBULATION – It is the actions of the Antichrist in the Temple that sets off what we know as the Great Tribulation. Paul calls it “the day of Christ” and tells us “that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition”. (2Thesalonians 2:2, 3) The Old Testament refers to it as “Jacob’s trouble” a day so “great that none is like it”. (Jeremiah 30:7) The Holy Spirit, “who now restrains…is taken out of the way”. (2Thessalonians 2:7) That event, the removal of the Holy Spirit through the removal of the believing Church at the Rapture is what allows the Antichrist to take power. Evil and the rebellion against God will be in full flower. This is the time of triumph for the New World Order. The Antichrist derives his power from “ten kings” which do not yet exist but are given power for “one hour” These nations, are most likely the ten super-nations like the EU and the North American Union, which are planned by the powers behind the New World Order. “These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the beast.” (Revelation 17:13) Here again are the words of the Apostle Paul in his 2nd Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter 2, verses 9-12. “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
A New Economic Order is imposed with no one able to buy and sell without the mark of the beast system. A Global Religious System is imposed, and then rejected by the man of sin. Those who come to know Christ during this time of Tribulation, – after the Rapture, – are hunted down and beheaded by the forces of the Antichrist. These are demonically driven in their pursuit of evil. God visits repeated judgments against mankind, seeking to drive them to repentance. Yet their rebellion continues. God’s judgments include searing heat, asteroids, disease, poisoned water, sores, a sea that turns to blood killing “every living creature”, (Revelation 16:3), a darkened sun, and a giant earthquake “When the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard”. (Isaiah 24:20) In Revelation 9 we are told of what seem to be demonic beings, coming out of the pit, which sting and torture for five months, “those men that did not have the seal of God in their foreheads”. (Revelation 9:4) Jesus Himself in Matthew 24:22, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened”
While all of this is going on, 144,000 Jewish evangelists are sealed and preach Christ’s Gospel. They are joined by “two witnesses” who speak forth God’s Word for the last half of the Tribulation until they are allowed to be killed by “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit”. (Revelation 11:7) Their bodies are left in the street for three days, after which God raises them up for all the world to see, – (actually probably right on the satellite news channels).
- THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON #1 – Led by demons, the nations of the world gather to do battle at the Hebrew site called Armageddon. (Revelation 16:16) They are summoned to that Battle against God by “spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty”. (Revelation 16:14) They are foolishly determined to take on God Himself in the person of His Son. “These shall make war with the lamb and the lamb shall overcome them”. (Revelation 17:14) This in turn leads to the fall of the world system ; the end of Mystery Babylon.
- THE SECOND COMING – Christ returns to set up His Kingdom. He touches down right in Jerusalem, from whence he ascended. “Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” (Zechariah 14:3-4) Mark 13:26-27 tells us: “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.”
It is then that Jesus will sit as Judge of the earth. “‘When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.’” (Matthew 25:31-32) Then He will judge the living, casting the Antichrist and the False Prophet, man’s representative of false religion, into the lake of fire. (See Revelation 19) Satan is then bound for a thousand years, and cast into the “bottomless pit.”
- THE MILLENIAL REIGN – Jesus Christ rules and reigns on earth for one thousand years. After that the Devil is released once more from the bottomless pit to deceive the nations in one final rebellion. Once more the nations gather to do battle against God. This seems to be the Second Battle of Armageddon. But God sends fire down from heaven to destroy them. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)
- THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON #2 – After the Christ’s literal thousand year reign, mankind rebels again and the whole thing is played out again at a Second Battle of Armageddon. And that’s right, – Jesus wins again.
- THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT – This judgment is not for believers. These non-believers who have rejected Christ are judged on their works. They are all convicted of sin because, as Jesus told Nicodemus, “‘He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil’”. (John 3:18-19) And this is the terrifying vision that God gave John of this White Throne Judgment. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)
- ALL THINGS MADE NEW – God will re-work His creation perfectly. First, the old will pass. Isaiah 34:4 tells us “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll”. 2Peter 3:10 puts it this way. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” There is coming a “new heavens and a new earth.” (2Peter 3:13) And there will be a New Jerusalem. And Jesus the Christ, the very Son of God will come down and dwell with His people forever. That my friends, is the history of the future.
[i] Jack Kelly, Confirming the Sequence of End Times Events, Grace Through Faith, November 5, 2008