THE VERY BASICS OF END TIME PROPHECY PART 14

BASIC PROPHECY

THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH

The millennial reign of Christ will serve as the front porch to eternity. It will be the initial phase of God’s eternal Kingdom. When the Millennium culminates, the final state of God’s prophetic program will be ushered in with the destruction of the present heaven and earth and the creation of a new heaven and new earth.

The heavenly city, the new Jerusalem, a 1,500-mile cube the size of a continent, will come down out of heaven and sit upon the new earth as the capital city of the new universe. The Lord will reign forever, and His people will serve Him and reign with Him for eternity.

REVELATION 21–22

After the millennial kingdom and the Great White Throne Judgment, the same God who created this present heaven and earth will destroy it and create a new heaven and new earth, ushering in the eternal state.

Before the new heaven and new earth can be created, the present heaven and earth must be destroyed. The old heaven and the old earth will disappear. The Bible mentions this event several times (Psalm 102:25-26; Isaiah 34:4; 51:6; Matthew 24:35; 2 Peter 3:7,10-13; Revelation 21:1).

After the present order is destroyed, God will put it all back together again. The Bible does not tell us a great deal about the eternal state.

TWELVE THINGS THAT WILL NOT BE THERE

  1. No more sea—because all chaos and disorder (symbolized by the sea in ancient times) will be gone (Revelation 21:1)
  2. No more tears—because all hurt will be removed (Revelation 21:4)
  3. No more death—because mortality is swallowed up by life (Revelation 21:4)
  4. No more mourning—because all sorrow will be perfectly comforted (Revelation 21:4)
  5. No more crying—because joy will reign supreme (Revelation 21:4)
  6. No more pain—because all diseases will be expelled (Revelation 21:4)
  7. No more thirst—because every desire will be satisfied (Revelation 21:6)
  8. No more wickedness—because all evil will be banished (Revelation 21:8, 27)
  9. No more Temple—because God will be everywhere (Revelation 21:22)
  10. No more night—because the glory of God will shine (Revelation 21:23-25; 22:5)
  11. No more closed gates—because God’s door will always be open (Revelation 21:25)
  12. No more curse—because the death of Christ has lifted it (Revelation 22:3)

THE CAPITAL OF THE NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH (REVELATION 21:9–22:5)

As John looks at the new heaven and new earth in his vision, the spotlight shifts suddenly to a descending metropolis, the new Jerusalem, the Holy City coming down out of heaven from God.

This city is the current dwelling place of God, the angels, and the souls of departed saints, yet one day it will descend to the new earth (Revelation 21:2-3). The new Jerusalem will be the capital of the eternal state. It will be the metropolis of eternity.

The glory of God will be the main feature of this city (Revelation 21:11, 23). The heavenly city described in Revelation 21–22 is the third heaven that Paul visited in 2 Corinthians 12. It is the place that Jesus is preparing for us (John 14:1-3). It is the Father’s house in which there are many dwelling places.

Hebrews 12:22-24 describes the residents of God’s new world. There are three identifiable groups in the new Jerusalem besides God Himself and Jesus: angels, church-age believers (“the assembly of God’s firstborn children”), and the rest of the people of God from the other ages (“the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect”). All who by God’s grace have trusted in the person and promises of God will be in heaven.

THE VERY BASICS OF END TIME PROPHECY PART 13

BASIC PROPHECY

THE FINAL BATTLE AND THE WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT

At the end of the Millennium, Satan will be released for a brief period of time to lead a final rebellion against Christ. Then he will be defeated and cast into the lake of fire for eternity.

After the Millennium and Satan’s final rebellion, Christ will sit upon a great white throne, and all unbelievers from every age will be resurrected and assembled before Him to be judged. This will be the final resurrection. Those who refused to trust in the Lord will be judged according to their deeds. Since their names will not be found written in the Book of Life, which contains the names of the redeemed, they will be consigned to the lake of fire forever.

SATAN RELEASED

At the end of the one thousand years, Satan is released for a brief period of time for his last stand (Revelation 20:3). God allows Satan one last shot at world dominion. But why would God release Satan from the abyss?

God’s Word clearly teaches that man is sinful both by nature and by practice. Man has been tested in every way and will always fail apart from God and His grace. The millennial kingdom and the second “coming” of Satan will conclusively prove this. During the messianic kingdom, people who haven’t yet been glorified will still have sinful natures, but the perfect world around them will offer no enticement to sin, nor will Satan and his demons be around to tempt them either. Satan will be bound for one thousand years, and the Lord Jesus Himself will be personally present, ruling and reigning on the restored earth.

In spite of these perfect conditions, a host of people born and raised during the Millennium will still reject the Lord. Only believers will survive the Tribulation to enter the kingdom, and they will all know the Lord and trust in Him, but they will have children during the Millennium, and many of those children will not repent and believe in Christ as their Savior. They may outwardly conform to avoid judgment, but inwardly they will harbour a rebellious heart against the King of kings.

When Satan is released at the end of the Millennium, Satan will gather so many people after his release that “the number of them is like the sand of the seashore” (Revelation 20:8, NASB).

SATAN DEFEATED

The gathering of rebels and the war that defeats them are called “Gog and Magog” in Revelation 20:8. This title has confused many people and led them to equate this battle of Gog and Magog with the one in Ezekiel 38–39. There are two key differences between these two battles that indicate they are not the same.

Ezekiel 38–39 occurs shortly before, or early in the Tribulation, and specific nations will be involved. Gog and Magog in Revelation 20:8 occurs after the Millennium in Revelation 20:1-6 and involves all the nations

As this massive mob of rebels gathers on the broad plain of the earth and surrounds Jerusalem, God sends fire down from heaven to destroy them. Immediately, Satan is cast into the lake of fire forever, to join the other two members of the false trinity, the Antichrist and the false prophet (Revelation 20:10).

JUDGEMENT DAY – REVELATION 20:11-15

This final day of judgment is called the Great White Throne Judgment. The court date for the Great White Throne Judgement is set on God’s docket to occur after the millennial kingdom has ended and Satan has been cast into the lake of fire.

It is called white because it is absolutely pure, holy, and righteous. Jesus Christ is the final judge before whom the unbelieving world will stand. As John 5:22 reminds us, “Not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son” (NASB, see also Acts 17:31). In 2 Timothy 4:1 Jesus Christ is called the one who will “judge the living and the dead.”

When the Day of Judgment comes, there will be no place to hide. “The books” will be opened (Revelation 20:12). God is keeping a precise account of every person’s life in His books (Daniel 7:10). “And all were judged according to their deeds” (Revelation 20:13).

The Book of Life contains the names of everyone who has ever been saved by God’s grace. “Anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). “The purpose of the Great White Throne Judgment is not to determine if a person is saved but to judge the unsaved.

The condemned will die a second time; that is, they will be separated eternally from God in the lake of fire (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:14). Hell Is a place of conscious physical, mental, and spiritual torment. (Matthew 13:41-42, Mark 9:47-49, Luke 16:28).

THE VERY BASICS OF END TIME PROPHECY PART 12

BASIC PROPHECY

The second coming of Christ will usher in the messianic age on the earth. This is also called the millennial kingdom of Christ, or simply the Millennium. During these one thousand years, Christ will reign in peace and prosperity, fulfilling God’s original plan for creation. Believers who survive the Tribulation, both Jews and Gentiles, will enter the messianic kingdom in their natural human bodies and will have children and populate the kingdom. Those on earth when Christ returns who do not trust in Him will be cast into hell. Meanwhile, Satan and his minions will be bound in the abyss.

THE ONE-THOUSAND-YEAR REIGN

Immediately after Christ returns and destroys the Antichrist and his armies (Revelation 19:11-21), Satan is bound and Christ reigns for one thousand years (Revelation 20:1-6). The words a thousand years appear six times in Revelation 20:1-7.

While Revelation 20:1-6 is the only Bible passage that records the length of Christ’s reign on the earth, it is certainly not the only passage to refer to His messianic kingdom. The Old Testament has large passages on the messianic kingdom. More prophetic material is devoted to the subject of the Millennium than to any other topic relating to the future. These passages include Isaiah 2:1-5, Isaiah 11:1-16, Isaiah 32:1-20, Isaiah 35:1-10, Isaiah 60:1-22, Jeremiah 31:1-40, Jeremiah 33:1-26, Ezekiel 37:14-28, Amos 9:11-15, Zechariah 14:6-21 and many more.

In short, the 1000 year reign is also being referred to as:

  1. the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 3:2; 8:11)
  2. the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15)
  3. the Kingdom (Matthew 16:28)
  4. the world to come (Hebrews 2:5)
  5. times of refreshing (Acts 3:19, NASB)
  6. the period of restoration of all things (Acts 3:21)
  7. a Kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28)

Jesus Christ will rule and reign over the earth from His earthly throne in Jerusalem. While Satan will be bound during those one thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3). The Curse will be reversed, and the Jewish people will be restored to their ancient land in fulfillment of the promises contained in the Abrahamic, Davidic and new covenants to Israel.

God unconditionally, unilaterally promised Abraham three things in Genesis 12:1-3 and 15:18:

  1. God would bless Abraham personally and the whole world would be blessed through him.
  2. God would give Abraham many descendants.
  3. God would give Abraham and his descendants a specific piece of land forever.

Clearly, God has literally fulfilled the first two aspects of His promise. God gave Abraham many descendants, and has blessed the world through Abraham via the Jewish Scripture and the Jewish Saviour. If the first two aspects of this covenant have been fulfilled literally, then it only seems logical to conclude that the land promise will also be literally fulfilled.

God made another promise that still awaits fulfillment. In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, God promised King David that one of his descendants would sit on his throne and reign over his kingdom forever. This promise was applied specifically to Jesus when He was born (Luke 1:32-33).

Acts 1:6-7 says, “When the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.” Jesus had promised the disciples that in His kingdom they would sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). Just before His ascension back to heaven, Jesus confirmed to His disciples that the kingdom would be restored to Israel (Acts 1:6-7).

WHY THE MILLENNIUM?

To Reward the Faithful – He will do this by giving them authority to reign over the earth. We will even judge the angels. The Bible says that all believers from every age will reign with Christ for a thousand years. (Daniel 7:18, 22, 27, 1 Corinthians 6:2-3, Revelation 2:26-28, Revelation 20:4, 6)

To Redeem Creation – God can finally reverse His curse on creation and fulfill His original purpose for the earth. As an example, the wolf and lamb will lie down together in harmony, and a child will be able to play next to a poisonous snake (Isaiah 11:6-9). In addition, the entire earth will become amazingly productive and beautiful as even the deserts will blossom like a rose (Isaiah 35:1-7). The whole earth will be like a huge Garden of Eden.

To Realize the Biblical Covenants – The third reason we need the Millennium is to fulfill the biblical covenants as mentioned above. In these covenants, God made very specific promises to Israel. God is truthful and not a breaker of His promises.

WHAT WILL THE MILLENNIUM BE LIKE?

A s mentioned, earth will return to conditions similar to those in the Garden of Eden, while the Lord of heaven comes to live on the earth among His people.

All wars will cease as the world unites under the reign of the true King (Isaiah 2:4; 9:4-7; 11:6-9; Zechariah 9:10).

Full joy will come to the world (Isaiah 9:3-4; 12:3-6; 14:7-8; 25:8-9; 30:29; 42:1; Jeremiah 30:18-19; Zephaniah 3:14-17; Zechariah 8:19; 10:6-7).

The land, the city, the Temple and the subjects will all be holy unto the Lord (Isaiah 4:3-4; 29:19; 35:8; 52:1; Ezekiel 43:7-12; 45:1; Zechariah 8:3; 14:20-21).

The radiant glory of God will be fully manifest in Messiah’s kingdom (Isaiah 35:2; 40:5; 60:1-9; Ezekiel 43:1-5). His glory will fill the earth. (Isaiah 35:2; 40:5; 60:1-9; Ezekiel 43:1-5).

When the millennial kingdom begins, it will be inhabited only by believers. However, the believers who survived the tribulation (“Tribulation saints”) will still have human bodies with fallen natures capable of sinning. They will have children who are also still in their mortal flesh. The reigning Messiah will judge man’s sin with perfect justice (Isaiah 9:7; 11:5; 32:16; 42:1-4; 65:21-23). He will rule with “a rod of iron” restraining and judging sin so that the prevailing atmosphere in the kingdom will be righteousness (Isaiah 11:1-5; 60:21; Jeremiah 31:23; Ezekiel 37:23-24; Zephaniah 3:1, 13).

The teaching ministry of the Lord and the indwelling Spirit will bring the inhabitants of the kingdom into a full knowledge of the Lord’s ways (Isaiah 11:1-2, 9; 41:19-20; 54:13; Jeremiah 31:33-34; Habakkuk 2:14).

The King will heal all the diseases and deformities of His people (Isaiah 29:18; 33:24; 35:5-6; 61:1-2; Ezekiel 34:16). A person who dies at the age of one hundred will have died very prematurely (Isaiah 65:20).

All the inhabitants of the earth will join their hearts and voices in praise and worship to God and Christ (Isaiah 45:23; 52:1, 7-10; 66:17-23; Zephaniah 3:9; Zechariah 13:2; 14:16; Malachi 1:11; Revelation 5:9-14). This worship during the Millennium will be centered in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3; 60:13; Ezekiel 40–48; Joel 3:18; Haggai 2:7, 9). Ezekiel 40–48 describes the literal, millennial Temple in detail, including its dimensions, priesthood, worship, sacrifices, and ritual. This interpretation is in harmony with other Old Testament prophetic passages that prophesy the existence of a millennial Temple and sacrifices in that future Temple (Isaiah 2:3; 56:6-7; 60:13; Jeremiah 33:18; Joel 3:18; Haggai 2:7, 9; Zechariah 14:16-21). A very controversial aspect of the worship in the Millennium is that animal sacrifices will apparently be reinstituted in the massive millennial Temple (Isaiah 56:6-7; 60:7; Ezekiel 43:18-27; 45:17-23; Zechariah 14:16-21).

The millennial kingdom will have no need for rescue missions, welfare programs, food stamps, or relief agencies. The world will flourish under the hand of the King of heaven (Isaiah 35:1-2, 7; 30:23-25; 62:8-9; 65:21-23; Jeremiah 31:5,12; Ezekiel 34:26; 36:29-30; Joel 2:21-27; Amos 9:13-14; Micah 4:1, 4; Zechariah 8:11-12; 9:16-17).

THE VERY BASICS OF END TIME PROPHECY PART 11

BASIC PROPHECY

END OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION

Two great events will bring the Tribulation to a close—the War of Armageddon and the second coming of Christ. As the Antichrist leads the armies of the world against Israel with genocidal intent, Jesus Christ will return to earth, accompanied by the armies of heaven.

Jesus will seize the Antichrist and the false prophet and cast them alive into the lake of fire. At the Second Coming, the Old Testament saints and believers who died during the Tribulation will be resurrected.

After the Tribulation, in Matthew 24:29, the second coming of Christ is presented. He describes the signs in the heavens that will indicate that the Son of Man is coming, and finally the gathering of His chosen ones from around the world.

THE WAR OF ARMAGEDDON

The word Armageddon is found only one time in the Bible (Revelation 16:16), yet this one word is probably the most familiar biblical term from end times prophecy.

The word Armageddon is made up of two words in Hebrew: Har (mountain) and Megiddo (a city in the northern part of ancient Israel). The ancient city of Megiddo was built on a hill, and it is therefore called the mountain of Megiddo—Armageddon. The city of Megiddo overlooks a beautiful, large valley known as the Plain of Esdraelon. The armies of the earth will gather here in the last days and face total defeat by the returning King from heaven (Revelation 16:12-16; 19:19-21).

Armageddon is also often equated with the last battle or war on earth, but this is not the case. The last war in history will be the final revolt of Satan in Revelation 20:7-11 called Gog and Magog (not to be confused with the Gog and Magog invasion at the beginning of the tribulation). This war occurs one thousand years after Armageddon.

Armageddon is the climactic war of the Great Tribulation when all the armies of the earth gather to attack Israel and attempt to finally eradicate the Jewish people. They will capture Jerusalem, but then Jesus Christ will return to destroy the invading armies and deliver the faithful Jewish remnant.

The War of Armageddon is the subject of many biblical passages. Here are ten key Scriptures:

  1. Psalm 2
  2. Isaiah 34:1-16
  3. Isaiah 63:1-6
  4. Joel 3:1-17
  5. Zechariah 12:1-9
  6. Zechariah 14:1-15
  7. Malachi 4:1-5
  8. Revelation 14:14-20
  9. Revelation 16:12-16
  10. Revelation 19:19-21

The most vivid description of the severity and brutality of Armageddon is found in Revelation 14:17-20. The Lord is saying that at Armageddon He is going to throw all the nations into His great winepress and that His intense, blood-splattering judgment will extend throughout Israel from Megiddo to Bozrah.

Some believe they will gather from all over the world to challenge the Antichrist. After all, by the end of the Tribulation, with all God’s judgments pouring forth, the world will be in terrible shape. The nations may view the Antichrist as the source of the trouble and want to destroy him. Others believe that the armies are gathered to finally eradicate the Jewish people. The latter makes more sense because Revelation 16:13-16 indicates that the unclean spirits (demons) that gather the armies together will emanate from Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet. It doesn’t make sense that the Antichrist would gather the armies together to destroy himself.

Phase 1 – The Euphrates River dries up, preparing the way for the kings of the east (Revelation 16:12).

Phase 2 – The Antichrist’s allies assemble (Revelation 16:12-16). The armies assemble to annihilate the Jews once and for all.

Phase 3 – The armies attack Jerusalem, and it falls (Zechariah 14:1-3).

Phase 4 – Jesus Christ returns personally to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4).

Phase 5 – Christ and the armies of the Lord destroy the armies gathered against Jerusalem in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:9-17; Zechariah 12:1-9; Zechariah 14:3).

Phase 6 – Christ descends upon Bozrah/Edom—in modern Jordan—to destroy its inhabitants and to deliver the Jewish remnant (Isaiah 34:1-7; 63:1-5; Joel 3:19). Earlier, when the Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel and sets up the abomination of desolation, one-third of the Jewish people will flee into the hills and the wilderness, where they will be supernaturally protected by God for 3½ years from the ravages of the Antichrist and Satan (Revelation 12:6, 14). The Scriptures seem to indicate that they will hide in the rock city of Petra in the southern part of modern Jordan (Micah 2:12-13; Daniel 11:41).

Phase 7 – The armies at Armageddon are destroyed (Revelation 16:16; 19:19-21). At Armageddon, the Antichrist will rally the remaining troops to fight against the Lord Jesus and His army (Revelation 19:19). Jesus won’t have to lift a finger. The sword of His word will smite the nations (Revelation 19:15).

First is the great bird supper (Matthew 24:28; Luke 17:37; Revelation 19:17-21): carcasses will fill the entire region; the birds of the air will gather to feed on the carnage. Second, the Antichrist and the false prophet will be cast alive into the lake of fire forever (Revelation 19:20). These two pawns of Satan will be the first two occupants of the lake of fire. Thus ends the campaign of Armageddon. There will be no more war on earth for one thousand years.

THE SECOND COMING – REVELATION 19:11-13 MATTHEW 24:27-30

Jesus will return to the earth from the same place He left—the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). He will be accompanied by a great crowd. This crowd will follow in His entourage as He splits the clouds riding on a white stallion. This crowd will be made up of both angels and redeemed human beings. All believers in Christ have a roundtrip ticket. All who have been raptured will return to the earth with Jesus at His second coming, the climax of the Tribulation. (Zechariah 14:5, 1 Thessalonians 3:13, Jude 1:14, Revelation 19:11, 14)

The coming of Christ to earth will fulfill the numerous promises that He will come again (Zechariah 14:4; Matthew 25:31; Acts 1:9-11). Christ Is Coming to defeat the Antichrist and his armies (Revelation 19:19-21). Christ is also coming to regather and restore faithful Israel and to judge the living.

When Christ returns, all the Gentiles who survived the Tribulation will appear before Him. He will determine if they can enter His Kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46). This judgment is called the judgment of the “sheep and the goats.”

After the Second Coming (Revelation 19:11-21), one of the next events is the resurrection of Old Testament and Tribulation believers to reign with Christ (Revelation 20:4-6; Daniel 12:1-4).

Lastly, Christ is coming to bind the devil (Revelation 20:1-3) and to establish Himself as King (Revelation 19:16). He will return as King of kings and Lord of lords! He will sit on His glorious throne and reign over the earth (Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:44; Matthew 19:28; Luke 1:32-33).

Acts 1:11 says, “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (NASB).

His coming will not be hidden but will be visible to all the world. Matthew 24:23-27 describes His coming.

Suddenly As the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 24:27, Revelation 3:3)

Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. (Matthew 24:29)

Gloriously (Matthew 24:30) Jesus will return as King of kings and Lord of lords. Every creature will bow before Him and be subject to His authority (Philippians 2:11).

SEVENTY-FIVE DAYS TO GLORY

There seems to be an interval of time between the second coming of Christ and the official inauguration of the millennial kingdom. Daniel 12:1-3 describes the time of coming Tribulation for Israel and then the resurrection of Old Testament saints. The Tribulation for Israel will last 1,260 days, which is 3½ years (Daniel 12:7). This is the latter half of the seven-year Tribulation. Then, after these great events we read the enigmatic words in Daniel 12:11-12: “From the time the daily sacrifice is stopped and the sacrilegious object that causes desecration is set up to be worshiped, there will be 1,290 days. And blessed are those who wait and remain until the end of the 1,335 days!”

The 1,260 days is not too difficult since this time period is frequently set forth in Daniel and Revelation as the final 3½ years of the Tribulation. The 1,290 days is thirty days beyond the end of the Tribulation, and the 1,335 days is another forty-five days beyond that. These time periods describe an interval of time between the end of the Tribulation and Christ’s second coming and the beginning of the Millennium.

While we cannot be certain about everything that will transpire during this time, it is safe to say that during this time period Christ will remove the abomination of desolation, cast the Antichrist and the false prophet into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20), throw Satan into the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3), judge those living on the earth (Matthew 25:31-46), resurrect and reward Old Testament and Tribulation saints (Daniel 12:1-3), and assign responsibilities for the administration of His Kingdom. During this interval, the celebration of the marriage supper will begin on the earth (Revelation 19:7-10), and possibly the construction of the millennial Temple will commence as well (Ezekiel 40–48).

The fact that those who make it to the 1,335 days are blessed means that they have made it to the beginning of the millennial kingdom (Daniel 12:12). They have come through the judgments and are allowed to enter the kingdom.

IMPRISONMENT OF SATAN

Both amillennialists and postmillennialists contend that the binding of Satan occurred at the first coming of Christ and that Satan is bound right now during this present age. They often view the casting of Satan from heaven in Revelation 12:7-9 as parallel with Luke 10:18-19. They point to Mark 3:27 and Matthew 12:25-29 as the fulfillment of the binding of Satan during the earthly ministry of Christ. For them, Satan’s activity and power are restricted during this present age. However, this contradicts the way Satan is pictured in the New Testament. Satan is called “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30), “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), “the commander of the powers in the unseen world” (Ephesians 2:2), and he is “like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The devil schemes against believers (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11), hinders us (1 Thessalonians 2:18), accuses us (Revelation 12:10), and blinds the minds of the lost (2 Corinthians 4:4). Satan is anything but bound today. He is aggressively opposing the work of God. As someone once said, “If Satan is bound today he must have an awfully long chain.” Satan is characterized as the arch-deceiver in the New Testament. Yet, Revelation 20:3 says that when he is bound Satan will “not deceive the nations anymore.” This does not fit the current situation. It demands a later time after the Lord’s coming.

Revelation 20:1-3 is very precise and specific in its description of Satan’s binding. It describes four distinct actions by the angel who binds him. Satan is “laid hold of,” “bound,” “[thrown] into the abyss,” and the abyss is “shut and sealed over him” (NASB). The language is very compelling and clear. Nothing even similar to this happened at the first coming of Christ. But it will happen when Christ returns, after which Christ will reign for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6).

Amillennialists and postmillennialists have a serious problem explaining Satan’s release at the end of the one thousand years, which they take to be the present age. Revelation 20:1-7 specifically mentions “a thousand years” six times. Whenever John mentions a time period that is general or nonspecific, he identifies it as such by phrases like “a little longer” (Revelation 6:11) or “little time” (12:12). Revelation 20:3 says that at the end of the one thousand years Satan will be released for “a little while.”

RESURRECTION IN REVELATION 20:1-6

Premillennialists maintain that the resurrection in Revelation 20:5 refers to physical, bodily resurrection at the end of history. The Millennium must occur after the return of Christ and the resurrection of the dead.

THE VERY BASICS OF END TIME PROPHECY PART 10

BASIC PROPHECY

END OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION

Two great events will bring the Tribulation to a close—the War of Armageddon and the second coming of Christ. As the Antichrist leads the armies of the world against Israel with genocidal intent, Jesus Christ will return to earth, accompanied by the armies of heaven.

Jesus will seize the Antichrist and the false prophet and cast them alive into the lake of fire. At the Second Coming, the Old Testament saints and believers who died during the Tribulation will be resurrected.

After the Tribulation, in Matthew 24:29, the second coming of Christ is presented. He describes the signs in the heavens that will indicate that the Son of Man is coming, and finally the gathering of His chosen ones from around the world.

THE WAR OF ARMAGEDDON

The word Armageddon is found only one time in the Bible (Revelation 16:16), yet this one word is probably the most familiar biblical term from end times prophecy.

The word Armageddon is made up of two words in Hebrew: Har (mountain) and Megiddo (a city in the northern part of ancient Israel). The ancient city of Megiddo was built on a hill, and it is therefore called the mountain of Megiddo—Armageddon. The city of Megiddo overlooks a beautiful, large valley known as the Plain of Esdraelon. The armies of the earth will gather here in the last days and face total defeat by the returning King from heaven (Revelation 16:12-16; 19:19-21).

Armageddon is also often equated with the last battle or war on earth, but this is not the case. The last war in history will be the final revolt of Satan in Revelation 20:7-11 called Gog and Magog (not to be confused with the Gog and Magog invasion at the beginning of the tribulation). This war occurs one thousand years after Armageddon.

Armageddon is the climactic war of the Great Tribulation when all the armies of the earth gather to attack Israel and attempt to finally eradicate the Jewish people. They will capture Jerusalem, but then Jesus Christ will return to destroy the invading armies and deliver the faithful Jewish remnant.

The War of Armageddon is the subject of many biblical passages. Here are ten key Scriptures:

  1. Psalm 2
  2. Isaiah 34:1-16
  3. Isaiah 63:1-6
  4. Joel 3:1-17
  5. Zechariah 12:1-9
  6. Zechariah 14:1-15
  7. Malachi 4:1-5
  8. Revelation 14:14-20
  9. Revelation 16:12-16
  10. Revelation 19:19-21

The most vivid description of the severity and brutality of Armageddon is found in Revelation 14:17-20. The Lord is saying that at Armageddon He is going to throw all the nations into His great winepress and that His intense, blood-splattering judgment will extend throughout Israel from Megiddo to Bozrah.

Some believe they will gather from all over the world to challenge the Antichrist. After all, by the end of the Tribulation, with all God’s judgments pouring forth, the world will be in terrible shape. The nations may view the Antichrist as the source of the trouble and want to destroy him. Others believe that the armies are gathered to finally eradicate the Jewish people. The latter makes more sense because Revelation 16:13-16 indicates that the unclean spirits (demons) that gather the armies together will emanate from Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet. It doesn’t make sense that the Antichrist would gather the armies together to destroy himself.

Phase 1 – The Euphrates River dries up, preparing the way for the kings of the east (Revelation 16:12).

Phase 2 – The Antichrist’s allies assemble (Revelation 16:12-16). The armies assemble to annihilate the Jews once and for all.

Phase 3 – The armies attack Jerusalem, and it falls (Zechariah 14:1-3).

Phase 4 – Jesus Christ returns personally to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4).

Phase 5 – Christ and the armies of the Lord destroy the armies gathered against Jerusalem in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:9-17; Zechariah 12:1-9; Zechariah 14:3).

Phase 6 – Christ descends upon Bozrah/Edom—in modern Jordan—to destroy its inhabitants and to deliver the Jewish remnant (Isaiah 34:1-7; 63:1-5; Joel 3:19). Earlier, when the Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel and sets up the abomination of desolation, one-third of the Jewish people will flee into the hills and the wilderness, where they will be supernaturally protected by God for 3½ years from the ravages of the Antichrist and Satan (Revelation 12:6, 14). The Scriptures seem to indicate that they will hide in the rock city of Petra in the southern part of modern Jordan (Micah 2:12-13; Daniel 11:41).

Phase 7 – The armies at Armageddon are destroyed (Revelation 16:16; 19:19-21). At Armageddon, the Antichrist will rally the remaining troops to fight against the Lord Jesus and His army (Revelation 19:19). Jesus won’t have to lift a finger. The sword of His word will smite the nations (Revelation 19:15).

First is the great bird supper (Matthew 24:28; Luke 17:37; Revelation 19:17-21): carcasses will fill the entire region; the birds of the air will gather to feed on the carnage. Second, the Antichrist and the false prophet will be cast alive into the lake of fire forever (Revelation 19:20). These two pawns of Satan will be the first two occupants of the lake of fire. Thus ends the campaign of Armageddon. There will be no more war on earth for one thousand years.

THE SECOND COMING – REVELATION 19:11-13 MATTHEW 24:27-30

Jesus will return to the earth from the same place He left—the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). He will be accompanied by a great crowd. This crowd will follow in His entourage as He splits the clouds riding on a white stallion. This crowd will be made up of both angels and redeemed human beings. All believers in Christ have a roundtrip ticket. All who have been raptured will return to the earth with Jesus at His second coming, the climax of the Tribulation. (Zechariah 14:5, 1 Thessalonians 3:13, Jude 1:14, Revelation 19:11, 14)

The coming of Christ to earth will fulfill the numerous promises that He will come again (Zechariah 14:4; Matthew 25:31; Acts 1:9-11). Christ Is Coming to defeat the Antichrist and his armies (Revelation 19:19-21). Christ is also coming to regather and restore faithful Israel and to judge the living.

When Christ returns, all the Gentiles who survived the Tribulation will appear before Him. He will determine if they can enter His Kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46). This judgment is called the judgment of the “sheep and the goats.”

After the Second Coming (Revelation 19:11-21), one of the next events is the resurrection of Old Testament and Tribulation believers to reign with Christ (Revelation 20:4-6; Daniel 12:1-4).

Lastly, Christ is coming to bind the devil (Revelation 20:1-3) and to establish Himself as King (Revelation 19:16). He will return as King of kings and Lord of lords! He will sit on His glorious throne and reign over the earth (Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:44; Matthew 19:28; Luke 1:32-33).

Acts 1:11 says, “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (NASB).

His coming will not be hidden but will be visible to all the world. Matthew 24:23-27 describes His coming.

Suddenly As the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 24:27, Revelation 3:3)

Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. (Matthew 24:29)

Gloriously (Matthew 24:30) Jesus will return as King of kings and Lord of lords. Every creature will bow before Him and be subject to His authority (Philippians 2:11).

SEVENTY-FIVE DAYS TO GLORY

There seems to be an interval of time between the second coming of Christ and the official inauguration of the millennial kingdom. Daniel 12:1-3 describes the time of coming Tribulation for Israel and then the resurrection of Old Testament saints. The Tribulation for Israel will last 1,260 days, which is 3½ years (Daniel 12:7). This is the latter half of the seven-year Tribulation. Then, after these great events we read the enigmatic words in Daniel 12:11-12: “From the time the daily sacrifice is stopped and the sacrilegious object that causes desecration is set up to be worshiped, there will be 1,290 days. And blessed are those who wait and remain until the end of the 1,335 days!”

The 1,260 days is not too difficult since this time period is frequently set forth in Daniel and Revelation as the final 3½ years of the Tribulation. The 1,290 days is thirty days beyond the end of the Tribulation, and the 1,335 days is another forty-five days beyond that. These time periods describe an interval of time between the end of the Tribulation and Christ’s second coming and the beginning of the Millennium.

While we cannot be certain about everything that will transpire during this time, it is safe to say that during this time period Christ will remove the abomination of desolation, cast the Antichrist and the false prophet into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20), throw Satan into the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3), judge those living on the earth (Matthew 25:31-46), resurrect and reward Old Testament and Tribulation saints (Daniel 12:1-3), and assign responsibilities for the administration of His Kingdom. During this interval, the celebration of the marriage supper will begin on the earth (Revelation 19:7-10), and possibly the construction of the millennial Temple will commence as well (Ezekiel 40–48).

The fact that those who make it to the 1,335 days are blessed means that they have made it to the beginning of the millennial kingdom (Daniel 12:12). They have come through the judgments and are allowed to enter the kingdom.

IMPRISONMENT OF SATAN

Both amillennialists and postmillennialists contend that the binding of Satan occurred at the first coming of Christ and that Satan is bound right now during this present age. They often view the casting of Satan from heaven in Revelation 12:7-9 as parallel with Luke 10:18-19. They point to Mark 3:27 and Matthew 12:25-29 as the fulfillment of the binding of Satan during the earthly ministry of Christ. For them, Satan’s activity and power are restricted during this present age. However, this contradicts the way Satan is pictured in the New Testament. Satan is called “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30), “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), “the commander of the powers in the unseen world” (Ephesians 2:2), and he is “like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The devil schemes against believers (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11), hinders us (1 Thessalonians 2:18), accuses us (Revelation 12:10), and blinds the minds of the lost (2 Corinthians 4:4). Satan is anything but bound today. He is aggressively opposing the work of God. As someone once said, “If Satan is bound today he must have an awfully long chain.” Satan is characterized as the arch-deceiver in the New Testament. Yet, Revelation 20:3 says that when he is bound Satan will “not deceive the nations anymore.” This does not fit the current situation. It demands a later time after the Lord’s coming.

Revelation 20:1-3 is very precise and specific in its description of Satan’s binding. It describes four distinct actions by the angel who binds him. Satan is “laid hold of,” “bound,” “[thrown] into the abyss,” and the abyss is “shut and sealed over him” (NASB). The language is very compelling and clear. Nothing even similar to this happened at the first coming of Christ. But it will happen when Christ returns, after which Christ will reign for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6).

Amillennialists and postmillennialists have a serious problem explaining Satan’s release at the end of the one thousand years, which they take to be the present age. Revelation 20:1-7 specifically mentions “a thousand years” six times. Whenever John mentions a time period that is general or nonspecific, he identifies it as such by phrases like “a little longer” (Revelation 6:11) or “little time” (12:12). Revelation 20:3 says that at the end of the one thousand years Satan will be released for “a little while.”

RESURRECTION IN REVELATION 20:1-6

Premillennialists maintain that the resurrection in Revelation 20:5 refers to physical, bodily resurrection at the end of history. The Millennium must occur after the return of Christ and the resurrection of the dead.

THE VERY BASICS OF END TIME PROPHECY – PART 9

BASIC PROPHECY

THE SECOND 3 ½ YEARS – GREAT TRIBULATION LIKE NEVER BEFORE IN HISTORY

Matthew 24:15-20 marks the midpoint of the Tribulation when the Antichrist breaks his treaty with Israel, invades the nation, and desecrates the Temple (cf. Daniel 9:27).

The Antichrist will dominate the latter half of the Tribulation (3½ years) as he institutes a one-world government, economy, and religion aided by his henchman, the false prophet. During this time the Antichrist will declare himself to be God, will require universal worship, and will institute the notorious Tribulation trademark—the mark of the Beast—666.

THE MARK OF THE BEAST

Revelation 13:16-18 is the biblical key that opens the door to the meaning of 666, the mark of the Beast, and the coming one-world economy. The key issue underlying the mark of the Beast is “worship [of] the image of the beast” (Revelation 13:15, NASB). During the Tribulation, the false prophet, who is the leader of the Antichrist’s religious propaganda machine, will head up the campaign of the mark of the Beast (Revelation 13:11-18). The mark of the Beast will force people to declare their allegiance—either to the Antichrist or to Jesus Christ. It will be impossible to be neutral or undecided. Those who do not receive the mark will be killed (Revelation 20:4). Scripture is very specific: the false prophet will require a “mark” of loyalty and devotion to the Beast, and it will be “on the right hand,” not the left, “or on the forehead” (Revelation 13:16).

But what is this “mark”? The question for each person alive during the Tribulation will be, will I swear allegiance to the man who claims to be God? Will I give up ownership of my life to him by taking his mark, or will I bow the knee to the true God and lose my right to buy and sell while also risking beheading? (Revelation 20:4). Taking the mark will ultimately be a spiritual decision; the economic benefits will be secondary to this momentous decision every person will face.

When the Antichrist begins to appear on the world scene, those who have an understanding of Bible prophecy will be able to identify him by the number of his name. The numerical value of his name will be 666. “Counting the name” is not to be applied in our day, for that would be jumping the gun. Instead, it is to be applied by believers during the Tribulation. The Antichrist will not be unveiled until the beginning of the Tribulation period or Day of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3). At that time people will be able to identify him because the number of his name will be 666 (Revelation 13:18).

Many prophecy teachers have pointed out that the triple six refers to man’s number, which is the number six or one short of God’s perfect number, seven. In the Book of Revelation, the number 7 is one of the most significant numbers indicating perfection.

The mark of the Beast will serve two main purposes during the Tribulation. The mark of the Beast will be a satanic counterfeit of the seal of God on the foreheads of the saints (Revelation 7:3). Those who take it will make a deliberate choice; they will knowingly align themselves with the Antichrist and his agenda. Second, the mark will provide economic benefits. during the latter half of the Tribulation (Revelation 13:17).

All who take the mark of the Beast will face the eternal judgment of God. Taking the mark will seal their everlasting doom. It will be an unpardonable, irreversible sin (Revelation 14:9-11).

We don’t know exactly what method the Antichrist will adopt to make his mark. The technology is certainly available today to accomplish the purposes of the mark by regulating world commerce and controlling people’s transactions.

SEVEN SOUNDING TRUMPETS

The seventh seal contains a second series of seven more judgments—the seven trumpets—which will sound during the second half of the Tribulation (Revelation 8:1-2). These trumpets represent specific catastrophes, many of which will destroy large portions of the earth (Revelation 8–11). They represent the supernatural judgment of God. The first four trumpets will bring natural catastrophes. One-third of the earth will be consumed by fire—by a direct act of God. One-third of the sea will become as blood, and one-third of sea life will be destroyed.

First Trumpet (Revelation 8:7) Bloody Hail and Fire: One-Third of Vegetation Destroyed

Second Trumpet (Revelation 8:8-9) Fireball from Heaven: One-Third of Oceans Polluted

Third Trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11) Falling Star: One-Third of Fresh Water Polluted

Fourth Trumpet (Revelation 8:12) Darkness: One-Third of Sun, Moon, and Stars Darkened

Fifth Trumpet (Revelation 9:1-12) Demonic Invasion: Possession and Torment

Sixth Trumpet (Revelation 9:13-21) Demonic Army of 200 Million: One-Third of Mankind Killed

At the sounding of the fifth trumpet, demonic forces from the abyss will swarm the earth like locusts. The forces of hell will be unleashed across the face of the earth to torment people with pain like the sting of a scorpion (Revelation 9:1-12). These demonic creatures are “supernatural soldiers in the kingdom of darkness.” But God will limit the demonic invasion to five months and will only allow the demons to torment, not to kill.

The sixth trumpet signals the advance of a great army numbering 200 million that will kill one-third of mankind (Revelation 9:15-16). Some speculate that this passage describes a Chinese invasion of Israel. The army of 200 million is viewed as parallel with the kings from the east in Revelation 16:12 who come from the east into Israel, crossing the dried-up Euphrates River.

It is however much better to identify this massive army as a second wave of demonic invaders who assault the earth during the Tribulation. The fifth trumpet judgment is clearly a demonic invasion of earth, and the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments go together since they are the first two of three “terrors” (Revelation 8:13). During the Tribulation period, demons will overrun the earth, afflicting men with great pain and ultimately slaying one-third of the people on earth (Revelation 9:15, 18).

One-third of the earth’s population perishes in the sixth trumpet judgment alone. Adding in the one-fourth of the population that dies earlier in the fourth seal judgment (Revelation 6:7-8), that is one-half of the world’s population dying

SEVEN SUPER BOWLS OF WRATH

When the seventh trumpet sounds, the second coming of Christ is announced (Revelation 11:15-17). This makes it clear, then, that the seventh trumpet stretches all the way to Christ’s return and thus includes the seven bowls in Revelation 16. Chronologically, the seventh trumpet both introduces and includes the final period of God’s wrath symbolized by the seven bowls in Revelation.

The trumpets and bowls of judgment have striking parallels to the plagues of Egypt and both deal with God’s direct judgment.

Yet, instead of being horrified, people will be hardened, despite their knowing that this devastation comes from God. Instead of repenting, they will rebel. Revelation 16:11.

  1. First Bowl (Revelation 16:2) upon the Earth: Sores on the Worshipers of the Antichrist
  2. Second Bowl (Revelation 16:3) upon the Seas: Turned to Blood
  3. Third Bowl (Revelation 16:4-7) upon the Fresh Water: Turned to Blood
  4. Fourth Bowl (Revelation 16:8-9) upon the Sun: Intense, Scorching Heat
  5. Fifth Bowl (Revelation 16:10-11) upon the Antichrist’s Kingdom: Darkness and Pain
  6. Sixth Bowl (Revelation 16:12-16) upon the River Euphrates: Armageddon (To be discussed in more detail in Part 10)
  7. Seventh Bowl (Revelation 16:17-21) upon the Air: Earthquakes and Hail (To be discussed in more detail in Part 10)

THE FALL OF BABYLON THE GREAT – REVELATION 17–18

Before Armageddon is fully described and the second coming of Christ is unveiled in Revelation 19, there is a sudden pause or interlude in the main action. Before Christ returns, one final event must be addressed—the demise of Babylon the Great.

Chapters 17 and 18 are inserted into the chronological flow of Revelation, which continues in chapter 19. The pouring out of the seventh bowl (16:17) is actually followed immediately in time by the return of Jesus Christ to end the great world battle (19:11). Chapters 17 and 18 digress to look not at God’s specific judgments, but at what is being judged. Those two chapters go back to describe the world system led by Satan, Antichrist, and the false prophet, before recording its destruction. John had already heard harbingers of Babylon’s destruction (14:8; 16:19); now the details of that destruction are given in these remarkable visions.

Babylon, the earthly city, is presented in Revelation 17–18 as a vile prostitute. This city is in sharp contrast to the new Jerusalem, the heavenly city, pictured with the virtuous bride of Christ in Revelation 21–22.

The identification of Babylon is more difficult. Some believe it refers to the Roman Catholic church and the Vatican, while others relate it to the ancient city of Babylon, apostate Christendom, the United States, New York City, Rome or Jerusalem. Babylon is a literal city according to Revelation 17:18.

It is a city of worldwide importance and influence, probably the capital city of the Antichrist (Revelation 17:15, 18). Babylon and the Beast (the Antichrist) are very closely connected with one another. The woman (Babylon) is pictured riding on the Beast (the Antichrist) (Revelation 17:3-5, 7). It is a center of false religion (Revelation 17:4-5; 18:1-2) and of world commerce (Revelation 18:9-19).

Babylon persecutes the Lord’s people (Revelation 17:6; 18:20, 24) and will be destroyed suddenly and completely at the end of the Tribulation, never to rise again (Revelation 18:8-10, 21-24).

These two systems, religion and commerce, will share the same geographical location under the Antichrist’s domain. Babylon will be both a city and a system.

Taking all the facts into account, most scholars of end time prophecy conclude that the best view is that Babylon is the literal city of Babylon on the Euphrates in modern Iraq that will be rebuilt in the last days. There are several points that favour this identification. Babylon is the most mentioned city in the Bible other than Jerusalem. Babylon was the capital city of the first of four Gentile world empires to rule over Jerusalem. Throughout history, Babylon has represented the height of rebellion and opposition to God’s plans and purposes

The Euphrates River is mentioned by name twice in Revelation (9:14; 16:12). Zechariah, writing about twenty years after Babylon’s fall to the Medo-Persians, saw a future time when evil would return to its original place in Babylon (Zechariah 5:5-11). Isaiah 13 and Jeremiah 50–51 predicted that the city of Babylon would be destroyed suddenly and completely. Babylon was never destroyed in this way but died a long, slow death over many centuries. The many parallels between Jeremiah 50–51 and the future Babylon in Revelation 17–18 indicate that both are describing the same city.

The site of modern Babylon is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa and is not far from the Persian Gulf. It is also near the world’s richest oil fields and has a virtually unlimited water supply from the Euphrates. Those considerations led the famed historian Arnold Toynbee to proclaim that Babylon would be an ideal site for an important political and cultural center (Morris, Revelation Record, 349).

Putting all these pieces together, it appears that Babylon will be rebuilt in the last days to serve as the religious and commercial capital for the Antichrist’s empire.

Revelation 17: Religious Babylon

 

Prophecy often uses prostitution, fornication, or adultery to describe idolatry (Isaiah 23:15-17; Jeremiah 2:20-31; 13:27; Ezekiel 16:17-19; Hosea 2:5; Nahum 3:4). The major indictment against Babylon in Revelation 17 is the city’s spiritual idolatry (17:4-5). The prostitute is identified as “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World,” and symbolizes a false religious system, climaxing in a one world religion during the first 3½ years of the Tribulation.

Babylon is the “Mother,” which means the source, or the polluted fountain from which all spiritual prostitution flows. It takes us back to the tower of Babel, where it started. Man will again organize in rebellion against the Creator just as he did at the tower of Babel.

The disappearance of millions of Christians at the Rapture will deepen the religious confusion already evident. The church institution left on earth after the Rapture—void of true believers—will quickly fall into the hands of opportunists.

During the Tribulation, all the world’s diverse false religions will be reunited into one great world religion. Her association with the kings of the earth reveals that the scope of the harlot’s influence will be immense. Those at the highest levels of power and influence will commit spiritual fornication with her. That the woman was sitting on the scarlet beast signifies that the Antichrist was supporting her.

The beast and the woman will coexist for a while; that is, the religion will be separate from the kingdom of the Antichrist at first. But eventually “the beast … will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire” (v. 16). It will be at that point that the false prophet will make the whole world worship the Antichrist (13:11–14), and everything will be one in the beast’s universal and comprehensive rule. The Antichrist’s faked resurrection and his destruction of the false religious system will take place approximately halfway through the Tribulation period.

Babylon will spiritually rule over the nations of the world (the many waters) fully controlling the religious affairs.

Revelation 18: Commercial Babylon

Revelation 18:1 begins with the words, “After all this.” In Revelation 18, this phrase signals a shift or change in focus from Babylon’s religious aspect in the first half of the seven-year Tribulation to its economic, commercial, and political aspect that dominates the world in the last half of the Tribulation. The city is connected with the merchants of the earth (Revelation 18:3, 11, 15, 23) and those engaged in maritime commerce (18:17). The long list of goods and cargo associated with Babylon marks the city as an economic juggernaut (18:11-13). The guilt of Babylon in chapter 18 primarily stems from her sensuality associated with materialism and wanton luxury. When Babylon falls, the kings of the earth, the merchants, and the traders of the sea will lament the fall of the nerve center of the world economy. All their dreams will come crashing down. Chuck Swindoll describes the fall of commercial Babylon:

“As they watch the empire of the Beast burn amidst its countless treasures, they will also know that their own time is short. Thinking they had gotten in on an opportunity of a lifetime, those who rest in the lap of Babylon’s luxury will suddenly realize that the tables have been turned. Like the Nazis in Berlin on the eve of the Allied victory, the reality of the Antichrist’s defeat will be obvious as their satanic Reich disintegrates before their eyes.”

The Doom of Babylon

Since the Antichrist rules the world for the final 3½ years of the Tribulation, the woman cannot be in control of him during that time. Therefore, at the midpoint of the Tribulation, the Antichrist and the ten kings will destroy the religious system of Babylon (Revelation 17:16). The Antichrist will replace the false religious system of Babylon with his own blasphemous system that deifies him.

Babylon itself, with its political and commercial influence, will continue under the rule of the Antichrist for another 3½ years until it is destroyed in the seventh bowl judgment near the end of the Tribulation (Revelation 16:19; 18:16-24). Babylon will fall, never to rise again, just as the Scripture says.

THE VERY BASICS OF END TIME PROPHECY – PART 8

BASIC PROPHECY

THE TRIBULATION FROM START TO MIDPOINT

The Rapture of the church will leave the world struggling to make sense of what has happened and to recover from the vanishing of millions of people. A group of ten leaders will form a reunited Roman Empire to restore order and some semblance of normalcy. The Antichrist will appear from the shadows. He will rise out of insignificance and obscurity. He will seem to come out of nowhere, yet quickly ascend to prominence.

Revelation 4–19 gives a detailed, sequential outline of the events. Using Revelation as a framework, a Bible student is able to harmonize many other passages that speak of the seven-year tribulation into a clear model of the next time period for planet earth.

TIMING THE TRIBULATION

The Bible does not tell us how much time passes between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation, but it seems that it probably will not be too long, as part of the purpose of the Rapture is to deliver God’s people from the coming wrath of the Tribulation. Once the stage is set and all the players are in place, a seven-year treaty will be enacted.

Daniel 9:27 describes this treaty that begins the Tribulation. This verse teaches us at least five key things about this future peace agreement:

  1. It will be between Israel and the Antichrist but will almost certainly involve others. Since the Antichrist will rise from a reunited Roman Empire centered in Europe, Europe in its final form will be the key player.
  2. It will begin the final seven-year period of the Tribulation.
  3. It will be a “firm” covenant; this firmness may indicate that it will initially be forced or compelled. It is also possible that this means the Antichrist will enforce or make strong a covenant that already exists.
  4. It will eventually give Jews the right to offer sacrifices in a rebuilt Temple. This fact assumes a Jewish Temple must be rebuilt.
  5. It will be broken by the Antichrist himself at the midpoint of the treaty.

REASON FOR THE TRIBULATION

Scripture provides us at least five reasons for the Tribulation. Each reason relates to a specific group or person: Israel, the Gentiles, God, Satan, and believers.

  1. TO PREPARE ISRAEL (A PURPOSE FOR ISRAEL)

The Tribulation will bring the Jewish people to their knees in submission to God. God will use this “time of trouble for my people Israel” to prepare the nation for her Messiah (Jeremiah 30:7). He will refine the rebellious nation in the fire of the Tribulation period (Zechariah 13:8-9). God’s purpose for Israel in the Tribulation is to bring about the conversion of a multitude of Jews, who will enter into the blessings of the kingdom and experience the fulfillment of all Israel’s covenants.

Many of the Jewish people will cry out to God for salvation from their sins during the Tribulation. They will implore God to pierce the heavens and come down to save them (Isaiah 64:1-2, 5-6, 8-9). God will mercifully answer this prayer of confession, will save many in Israel, and will bring them into the millennial kingdom under the reign of their Messiah (Jeremiah 30:8-24).

  1. TO PUNISH SINNERS (A PURPOSE FOR GENTILES)

God will use the Tribulation to punish the godless Gentile nations and all unbelievers for their sin, especially for rejecting His Son and receiving the Antichrist (Revelation 16:2). The world will worship the beast, and divine judgment will come upon them because they have despised God, rejected His Son, and acknowledged a demon-possessed man as their only king and deity.

Revelation 6–18 describes this sobering purpose. According to Revelation 3:10, one purpose of the Tribulation is “to test those who dwell on the earth.” The phrase “those who dwell on the earth” occurs eleven times in the book of Revelation. Revelation consistently pictures “earth dwellers” as the objects of God’s wrath because of their hardened rebellion against Him. God gives up to evil those who continue rejecting Him even in spite of His judgments.

According to Isaiah 24–27, often called Isaiah’s Apocalypse, no one will be able to hide from God’s judgment during the Tribulation. “Look! The LORD is coming from heaven to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will no longer hide those who have been killed. They will be brought out for all to see” (Isaiah 26:21).

  1. TO PROVE GOD’S POWER (A PURPOSE FOR GOD)

About 3,500 years ago, the Pharaoh of Egypt mocked the God of heaven. When God is finished with the ten plagues, Pharaoh is begging the children of Israel to leave.

In a similar show of foolish bravado, the Antichrist will deny the true God and declare himself to be god. God will once again pour out His plagues to prove His power and to vindicate His reputation. Only this time it will be on a worldwide scale. Many of the Tribulation judgments described in Revelation are the same as or similar to the ten plagues of Egypt. God will prove to a rebellious world that He alone is God (Revelation 15:3-4).

  1. TO PORTRAY SATAN’S TRUE CHARACTER (A PURPOSE FOR SATAN)

God will use the Tribulation to fully unmask Satan for what he is—a liar, a thief, and a murderer. When God removes all restraints (2 Thessalonians 2:7), Satan will be fully manifest as the world experiences the final firestorm from the dragon. Realizing that his time is short, the devil will pour out his venom with force and violence (Revelation 12:12).

  1. TO PROVIDE SALVATION (A PURPOSE FOR BELIEVERS)

The Lord will graciously use the Tribulation to drive men to Himself in repentance and trust. He will harvest more souls during this time than anyone can count. There will be great revival during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:9-10, 13-14).

While the Tribulation will be a time of unparalleled turmoil and may be difficult for us to understand, God will use it to accomplish His sovereign purposes.

THE BEGINNING OF BIRTH PAINS – THE FIRST 3½ YEARS

The Rise of the Group of Ten – Reuniting of the Roman Empire

According to the Bible, the world will be divided into three main power blocs: the Western confederacy led by the Antichrist (Daniel 7:8), the Southern and Northern coalition comprised of Russia and a group of North African and Middle Eastern nations (Daniel 11:40-41; Ezekiel 38), and the Eastern alliance known as the “kings from the East” (Revelation 16:12). The Western confederation of nations will reconstitute the Roman Empire.

Ten leaders will ally together to protect the interests of the West. In Daniel 2:42-44, the group of ten is symbolized as ten toes on a great statue, and in Daniel 7:7 and 7:24 by ten horns on a beast that represents the last world empire—the Roman Empire in its final form. Many interpreters of biblical prophecy believe that the European Union could be the embryonic form of what Scripture predicts and could ultimately fulfill this predicted alliance of nations.

This Western power bloc will embody the revived Roman Empire and will have the economic and political power needed to control the Mediterranean region. Its final leader, the Antichrist, will eventually wrest control from three of the ten leaders and consolidate power very much like the Roman Empire did in the past (Daniel 7:8).

Daniel 2 and 7 lay the foundation for all that follows. These two chapters describe four great world empires that would rule over Israel in succession throughout history. With the benefit of history, we now know that these four empires were Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. In Daniel 2 these four empires are pictured as four metals in a great statue that the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream from God.

–      Head of Gold: Babylon (Daniel 7 – Lion with the Wings of an Eagle)

–      Chest and Arms of Silver: Medo-Persia (Daniel 7 – Lopsided Bear with Three Ribs in Its Mouth)

–      Belly and Thighs of Brass: Greece (Daniel 7 – Leopard with Four Wings and Four Heads)

–      Legs od Iron: Rome (Daniel 7 – Terrible Beast with Teeth of Iron and Claws of Bronze)

The feet and the ten toes of Iron and clay represent the final reunited Roman empire, while the Stone Kingdom that falls on earth are representative of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. In Daniel 7, the reunited Roman empire, under the control of the Antichrist, is presented by the ten Horns and the little horn.

Daniel identifies the ten toes and ten horns as ten kings (Daniel 2:44; 7:24). Revelation 13 and 17 confirm it: ten kings—symbolized by ten horns (Revelation 13:1; 17:3, 12-13). The little horn in Daniel 7:8 clearly symbolizes the Antichrist. Daniel’s prophecies about the four world empires were literally fulfilled, but one final phase of the fourth empire is still awaiting fulfillment.

First, ten kings will appear within the boundaries of the old Roman Empire. Second, a strong man whom we call the Antichrist will emerge and consolidate these ten leaders and the territory they represent into a united empire and probably extend its borders in various directions. As he makes this move, three of the ten leaders will object to his power play and will be killed (Daniel 7:8, 24). They will be replaced, and the ten kings will submit to the authority of the Antichrist and relinquish their power to him (Revelation 17:12-13). The ten kings will turn over “their kingdom to the beast” (Revelation 17:17, NASB). At this point, the Antichrist will rule over the reunited Roman Empire. Third, the Roman Empire will, by declaration or edict, extend its power over the entire earth.

THE SEVEN SEAL JUDGMENTS

Revelation 4–5 presents a scene in heaven where a seven-sealed scroll is introduced. This is the beginning of the Tribulation. The seals must be removed and the scroll must be opened by the Lord Jesus Christ. The theme of Revelation 4–5 is worship, but the subject of Revelation 6 is wrath.

The First Seal—Rider on a White Horse (Revelation 6:2)

The four horsemen are all to be interpreted together as a kind of unit.

Military Conquest – For the rider to remove peace from the earth, peace must first exist there. Therefore, the conquest of the first rider must represent a bloodless conquest and victory through diplomacy. The first horse is white, the color often associated with Christ or something good in Revelation. The image in Revelation 6:2 supports this peace-bringing interpretation. The rider wears a victor’s crown and has a bow but no arrows.

There are significant contrasts between the riders in Revelation 6:2 and Revelation 19:11-19. This rider bears the unmistakable marks of a counterfeit, and we should expect the Antichrist to imitate Christ.

The Second Seal—Rider on the Red Horse (Revelation 6:3-4)

There is almost universal agreement among scholars that this horse and rider represent war. The promised peace of the white horse is swiftly shattered by the war of the red horse.

The Third Seal—Rider on the Black Horse (Revelation 6:5-6)

The war of the red horse will result in famine and poverty—represented by the black horse. In other words, the world will suffer hyper-inflation. Food prices will skyrocket so high it will take everything a person can earn in one day just to buy enough food for one day for himself.

The global economic collapse and food shortage will set the stage for the Antichrist to move into position to begin seizing control of the world economy as described in Revelation 13.

The Fourth Seal—Rider on the Pale Horse (Revelation 6:7-8)

The fourth horseman will use four means to wreak his havoc: war, famine, disease, and the wild beasts of the earth. Some sees the wild beasts of the earth as referring to the military and political leaders who overpower, oppress, and persecute their subjects. A fourth of Earth’s population will be killed.

The Fifth Seal—Martyrs (Revelation 6:9-11)

The death of God’s people brings judgment in two ways. First, the removal of God’s people, the salt and light of the world, will allow darkness and corruption to overrun the earth unchecked. Second, as the enemies of God murder His people, they are unknowingly heaping more judgment upon themselves. Also, God will answer these martyrs’ prayers for vindication when He pours out His wrath on His enemies.

The Sixth Seal—Devastation (Revelation 6:12-17)

These disasters produce sheer panic on earth. Instead of fleeing to the God of mercy for refuge and humbly bowing before Him in worship, they conceal themselves in caves, consumed with frenzied fear.

The Seventh Seal—Seven Trumpets (Revelation 8:1-2)

When it is opened there is “silence throughout heaven for about half an hour.” The stunned silence in Revelation may result from the anticipation that more judgments are coming. The seventh seal is not the end; when it is opened it contains seven trumpets of judgment.

The fact that the seventh seal contains the seven trumpets indicates that the seven trumpets follow the seven seals and that the seven bowls in turn follow the seven trumpets. Also, since the judgments in each series are different and intensify as the Tribulation progresses, the succession view is best.

HALFWAY POINT

The midpoint of the tribulation marks a major turning point in the end times.

SATANIC WARFARE

Phase 1: War in Heaven—Angels and Demons (Revelation 12:7-12)

A clash occurs in heaven between Satan, accompanied by his demonic minions and Michael the archangel with the angelic host (12:7-8). Michael and the angels will defeat Satan’s army, expelling them from heaven and casting them down to the earth. Knowing that his time is short, Satan will wreak as much havoc as possible.

Phase 2: War on Earth—Satan v. Israel (Revelation 12:13-17)

Satan will immediately turn his anger toward Israel. Revelation 12:1 pictures Israel as a woman “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” The woman gives birth to Jesus in Revelation 12:2, 5.

Satan focuses his fury on the woman and tries to wipe out the Jewish people once and for all to thwart the promises of God. Satan’s final assault against Israel will also fail. It will result in the repentance of Israel, the second coming of Jesus, and the establishment of the messianic kingdom.

Satan tried to kill Jesus to keep Him from fulfilling His ministry (Revelation 12:5). Satan’s fury against Israel will last for 1,260 days (3½ years) according to Revelation 12:6, 14. This is the second half of the Tribulation. God will supernaturally protect Israel from Satan’s onslaught, symbolized by a ferocious flood flowing from the dragon’s mouth (Revelation 12:14-16).

SATANIC WORSHIP—THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION

This event will involve the Antichrist, the false prophet, and the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. During at least part of the first half of the Tribulation, the Jewish people, under their peace treaty with the Antichrist, will rebuild their Temple and begin offering sacrifices there (Daniel 9:27). However, midway through the seven-year Tribulation, that will all change. Likening the seven years to one week, Daniel 9:27 (NASB) says, “In the middle of the week he [the Antichrist] will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” At this point, the Antichrist will break his treaty with Israel and commit an act that is most often called “the abomination of desolation.” Scripture refers to this sacrilege several times (Daniel 9:27; 12:11; Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14).

In his initial takeover of Jerusalem, the Antichrist will sit in the very Holy of Holies in the Temple, declaring to the world that he is God, thus establishing the final false religion that he will impose on the entire world (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). The Antichrist will not be able to sit in the Temple 24/7 to receive worship, so in this second phase of abomination, he will commission an image or idol of his likeness to be constructed to sit in the Temple in his place (Revelation 13:11-15).

The Antichrist’s right-hand man, the false prophet, will be given the authority to do great signs and wonders, deceiving people into worshiping the Beast. His greatest deception will be the construction of an image or likeness of the Antichrist that will come alive. All the earth will be required to worship the Beast and his image or face death (Revelation 13:15).

The idol will remain there for the final 1,260 days or 3½ years of the Tribulation period. Daniel 12:11 says that the abomination of desolation will stand in the Holy Place for 1,290 days. That is the final 3½ years of the Tribulation (1,260 days) plus thirty extra days. The judgments of Christ will take some time to complete.

THE ASSASSINATION AND RESURRECTION OF THE ANTICHRIST

Revelation 13:3-4 describes this event. This stunning event will happen at the midpoint of the seven-year Tribulation and will coincide with Satan’s being cast out of heaven (Revelation 12:12). This resurrection is the event that propels the Beast to popularity and compels the world to fall at his feet. Many scholars argue that since Satan does not have the power to give life, this death and resurrection will be an illusion. They will not accept the resurrection of Christ, but they sure are going to fake the resurrection of the Antichrist. If Satan has the power to give life to a dead idol, then why is it not also possible for him (with God’s permission) to resurrect a man from the dead? Revelation 13 contains the repeated refrain “and it was given to him” (NASB) or “and the beast was allowed” (NLT). This phrase makes clear that God is the One permitting the Antichrist to carry out his plans.

Revelation 17:8, 11 supports this when it refers to the Beast, which “was, and is not” (NASB). John Phillips builds on this notion, saying, “The Beast has two comings. He appears first as the ‘beast . . . out of the sea’ (13:1), and later, after his assassination, as the ‘beast . . . out of the abyss’ (17:8).” In other words, the Antichrist will be resurrected from the abyss with hellish powers to deceive the world.