|(1d) What is the sequence of events in the end times ?|
|Book 14 LESSON TWO * PART I |
I Corinthians 15:51
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed."
In other words, when the Body of Christ is finally finished and the last one has been brought in, there is going to be an outcalling of those who are alive and remain, by virtue of a change from this body to the new glorified body. All of those who have died in Christ during this Church Age will be resurrected with their new bodies. And we call that the Rapture of the Church.
After that happens, we find God picking up where He left off with the Nation of Israel. Remember, out of the 490 years that had been determined on the Nation of Israel, 483 of those years ended at the Crucifixion of Christ. Daniel 9:26. That left seven more years to make the prophecy complete. We call it the seven years of Tribulation. And that is what the whole Book of Revelation is all about. It is the unfolding of this final seven years of God dealing with the human race in general. But the Nation of Israel in particular. Then, as we found in the Book of Revelation, tying it all in with Daniel, we find that the very opening event of this final seven years, is the appearance of the Anti-christ. He will sign a seven-year peace treaty with the Nation of Israel. The treaties that have been signed by Israel with Palestine and Jordan, have caused a lot of confusion. Some people think that this is the peace treaty that Daniel speaks of in Daniel 9:27. But as far as I'm concerned, this treaty they have just signed is nothing but an agreement to agree or disagree. I don't think it will hold much water for long. But we know the Anti-christ is going to come on the scene, and he will be born of woman, flesh and blood. He will be much like Judas and will be used of Satan to fulfill Satan's aspirations. He will come on the scene as a tremendous political manipulator. He will be a charismatic type individual. He will be able to walk into any kind of summit meeting and command attention. They will listen to him, and, consequently, he will bring himself to a place of having the power of making that peace treaty with Israel as we referred to earlier.
The opening of the seven years will not only reveal the Anti-christ, but also his letting the Nation of Israel resume their Temple worship, with their animal sacrifices, and other Law-related rituals. We know that, even as we speak, the Nation of Israel has everything ready to resume Temple worship. However don't have the place where the Temple must be built. But they will have when the right time comes. It may take an act of war or nature for the Mosque of Omar to be destroyed. But we do know that Israel will have Temple worship for the first 3 1/2 years, all with the approval of this man Anti-christ. So today, this is Israel's anticipation, that they will have their Messiah and their Temple worship. But remember, Israel is looking for their Messiah to come the first time, because they don't recognize that Jesus Christ was the Messiah.
At the opening of the Tribulation, there will be the two witnesses (Revelation Chapter 10). We studied how these two will be on the streets of Jerusalem. They will begin a witness of Jehovah God to Israel. Out of their preaching will come the sealing of the 144,000 young Jews who will come on the scene, but not to preach the Gospel of Grace, Faith in the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ for salvation, we have had here in the Church Age. They will be preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, that Jesus, John the Baptist, and the twelve preached that the King is Coming. Repent and be baptized. That certainly will be good news for that period of history. They will preach this message all over the world.
I think that shortly after the Tribulation begins, the Russian confederation will invade Israel. God will destroy them on the hills of Israel, so that will be a quick removal of those nations as enemies of Israel. And as we studied about the seals being removed, we found that one-fourth of the human race will be destroyed. By the time we come to the mid-point of the Tribulation, we find that the two witnesses will be killed and their bodies will lie on a street in Jerusalem for 3 days. Then they will be resurrected and the whole world will see them ascend back to Heaven.
Then at the mid-point of the Tribulation, the Anti-christ will come into the Temple in Jerusalem, and make war on the Jews. He will defile the Temple and set himself up as God, and force the Jew to worship him. Consequently, they will come under the horrible persecution of this man. Also at the mid-point, we find that Satan is cast down from Heaven for the final time. He knows his time is short (3 1/2 years) so now not only must the earth endure the wrath of Satan, but also in the Scriptures, this last 3 1/2 years is known as the Wrath of God. That is going to be a double-barreled unloading upon this planet. On one hand, from the Satanic forces, and on the other from a righteous God. You and I as human beings can't comprehend what that last 3 1/2 years will be like. The scenes we see in Rwanda, and what we saw in the Holocaust, as awful as they were, will only be a drop in the bucket as compared to these final 3 1/2 years. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 24.
"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
As those various judgments come to pass, don't forget that the whole reason for all of this is to pay off the mortgage that Satan is holding on the earth. Remember, Satan picked up the mortgage on the earth when Adam lost it the moment he sinned. We saw in Revelation Chapter 5, a scroll that has the seven seals on it (the mortgage that Christ will pay off). Paying off the mortgage is really the whole scope of the Tribulation. As a result, the curse will be lifted from the whole planet. Having now consummated these seven years, Christ will return at His Second Coming, and destroy the remaining armies at Jerusalem in the battle of Armageddon. As a result of the curse being lifted, and the defeat of Satan, the earth will be made for a renovation project, which God will accomplish in short order, making it ready for the Kingdom.
Christ will then set up His Kingdom on earth and it will be glorious. The earth will be brought back like it was in the Garden of Eden. Now comes the thousand-year reign and rule with Him upon this earth. I remind my classes that the Kingdom has been spoken of and prophesied all the way through the Old Testament. The coming of the King and the Kingdom. But it isn't until we get to Revelation that we have a time frame attached to it of a thousand years. The Old Testament speaks of it as being forever and eternal. Well, we have to reconcile some things then: why does Revelations speak of a thousand years? The reason the first part of it must be limited for a thousand years is this: as a result of the events of the Tribulation, most of the world's population is going to lose their lives. Most of those who have become believers as a result of the preaching of the 144,000 will have been martyred, and they will be resurrected with the Old Testament saints at a later time.
By the time we come to the end of the seven years, Isaiah 24:6 says, "There will be few men left." However, there will be survivors. Some of whom have heard the message and believed will be mostly Gentiles. They will become the seed stock for the Gentile nations to repopulate during this thousand-year rule. And the rest who survive will be lost. We then find these two groups standing before God as the Kingdom is set up in Matthew 25:32-46. They are noted as sheep and goats. One group, the sheep, will inherit the Kingdom. The other group, the goats, will go into everlasting punishment. We will also have another flesh and blood group that will go into the Kingdom, and that is the remnant of Israel. We saw that they went down into the mountains Southeast of Jerusalem at the mid-point of the Tribulation, and we found that in Matthew 24:16. God will feed, clothe, and protect them there for the final 3 1/2 years. They go out in unbelief, but will believe when they see Christ at His Second Coming. They will then be the seed stock to go into this Kingdom to repopulate it for the Nation of Israel.
Coming into the Kingdom with Christ ruling and reigning as King, we have the Gentile believers, and the believers from the remnant of Israel. These two flesh and blood groups will be responsible to repopulate the whole world. There will be a tremendous population explosion. The curse is lifted, there will be no pain in childbirth, and these children that are born will live the entire thousand years. There will be no sin, and Satan will have been locked up these 1000 years. It will be like the Garden of Eden, but on a world-wide basis. The children coming from these believers, though they are born with the old sin nature, do not have a tempter to exploit it, since Satan is locked up during that time. However, keep in mind that they have been living under the rule of the King, Who is benevolent. Also, these children have not had to make a choice for, or against God, as you and I and the rest of the believers had to make. So we find at the end of the thousand years that Satan must be released just for a little season. This will be a time of testing for the children. They will have to exercise their free will even as we did. And to give a choice, there has to be more than one option.
So Satan is brought back for the sole purpose of giving these new generations of children that choice to choose between Christ or Satan. Satan is given the opportunity to present his options to these children. And just like he did to Eve in the Garden of Eden, it will be that same type of temptation. Because the Kingdom has been so glorious, who could want anything different? Remember, Eve had it that good, but what was Satan's ploy with Eve? "You can be like God." And I think the same thing will happen here. I think he will say, "You've got it perfect, but you're still not God. Wouldn't you like to be like God?" And the vast majority will follow him hook, line, and sinker. After they have made their choice, and when they try to come against God, He will destroy them with fire. That then will be the end of time as we know it. After all that has happened, it's time for the Great White Throne judgment, where all the lost will be resurrected out of hell to be judged by Christ, and then sent to their final doom in the lake of fire. Jesus tells us there will be degrees of punishment for those going into the lake of fire, depending on their works here on earth. Now in our next lesson we will be going into Revelation Chapter 21 and verse 1:
"AND I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." That means the Kingdom will be lifted off the planet long enough for a whole new planet to come on the scene. I think I'll have the reason for that in our next lesson.