A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THINGS TO COME
Excerpted from article on pg. 498 of The Last Days Bible N.T.
First there came an ominous rumbling, then a most violent shaking. It seemed that the whole building they were in was being literally torn apart. The floor buckled, and parts of it hit the ceiling, crushing several people in the process. There were loud screams from the dying and wounded, then more violent shaking and pounding, and the literal throwing of buildings into the air. "Earthquake!" some screamed.
But what a feeble statement, because what they were experiencing was in fact the greatest of all earthquakes, the one which had long been prophesied would happen at the end of the age. Just days before, the great world dictator had gathered his forces from every nation under his control, and had marched on Israel against those who had dared to challenge his supremacy. But amazingly, fire from the heavens had destroyed his armies and innumerable millions had died.
Christians had often warned about the Battle of Armageddon and the greatest of all earthquakes that would follow. Now it was causing unprecedented destruction and havoc everywhere.
Yes, all that God has prophesied will definitely happen. The end of this age is fast approaching, when the nations on earth will be utterly perplexed and panic-stricken (Luke 21:25) at all that will be happening as the end approaches.
The Bible predicts that there will be ever increasing rebellion against God and against moral restraint in the last days. 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 4:3-4. The Lord says thru the prophet Daniel (Daniel 8:23) that the Antichrist, the great opposer of God in the final days, will come to power when those in rebellion against God have become rotten to the core, when sin is rampant, when rebellion against God and right living has not only become fully ripe, but also totally rotten. We see this rebellion increasing today in frightful ways. There have been other times of gross sin in history, but never when the other prophecies for the end were also in the process of being fulfilled so perfectly. The end is indeed fast approaching.
We are told that in the end time the Holy Spirit will step aside (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8) and allow sin to take its natural course without His restraining influence, thereby allowing sin to become fully ripe. With moral decay rampant today it seems certain that He has already stepped aside.
People all over the world will be madly drunk on their success in breaking the restraints of all moral codes. Antichrist will come to power when sin is worse than the world has ever seen (Daniel 8:23), but evidently it will even worsen under his influence. Daniel 11:36-39.
The Bible reveals (Revelation 9:21) that mankind will be guilty of four major sins in the last days:
- drugs and experimentation in the occult
- sexual immoralities
- large-scale thievery
The pressure to indulge in sin will be intense for everyone on earth, Christian and non-Christian alike. Some Christians, beguiled by seducing spirits, will depart from their faith in Christ. Even some who are the most knowledgeable in the things of God will fall. Daniel 11:35.
A significant event in this end-time period will be the rebuilding of the old city of Babylon. Some ask, "How can that be? Bible prophecy states that Babylon will never be rebuilt." True! Babylon will never be rebuilt after it is burned. But it has never yet been burned, at least not since the prophecy of its destruction was made. The Bible reveals some very interesting facts concerning new Babylon. For one thing, it will be the capital city of the Antichrist. The country of Iraq is, even at the time of this writing, rebuilding Babylon.
Egypt should have learned her lesson by now, but according to prophecy Egypt will lose the Nile River (Isaiah 11:15; 19:5-10), and will have civil war and continual turmoil. The Nile River will dry up, evidently as a result of a change in the course of the river.
Russia, Turkey, Iran, Poland, Germany, Libya, and Ethiopia, together with other nations, will unite to invade Israel. Ezekiel 38 and 39. But with God's help Israel will thoroughly defeat these nations, who will very likely then become third rate powers.
The Bible indicates that the USA and her allies will not interfere with this invasion. They will complain and protest loudly (Ezekiel 38:13), but they won't lift a finger to stop Russia and her allies. No reason for this noninterference is given. But the northern powers will definitely meet a powerful Force in Israel: God promises that He Himself will be there to meet them, with a great judgment. Ezekiel 38:16-23.
Following this debacle of nations in Israel, a great spiritual awakening will erupt thruout the whole earth. See Revelation 14:14-16, and the note there, and Joel 2:28-32 notes. Mankind will be given this last wonderful opportunity to get right with God before judgment strikes. Joel 2:28-32.
Another significant event of these last days will be the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. We know this will happen because prophecy states that Antichrist will conquer Israel and will sit in the Temple in Jerusalem as god. Also, sacrifices will be offered in front of this Temple after the order of the Old Testament, but Antichrist will cause these sacrifices to cease. All of this implies that the Temple will have been rebuilt.
The outstanding characteristic of this final period will be perilous times - perils from nature, as God unlooses His vengeance upon the rebellious people of this planet, perils from Satan, and perils from fallen man. 2 Timothy 3:1-5. All kinds of problems will be building up and exploding.
There will be great, great persecution of Christians thruout the world (Matthew 24:7-13) during the last years of this age. There have already been more martyrs of the Christian faith since 1917 than in all the previous years of the Christian era. And the end is just beginning. The Christian Church was bom in blood, and it will be glorified in blood as it leaves this earth.
During these end-time days, a 10-nation federation will be formed in Europe. Prophecy indicates that this federation will be formed within the approximate area of the old Roman Empire. Daniel 7:7-8,19-20,23-24.
It's at this time that the Antichrist will rise to power in the Middle East. He will have an insignificant beginning (Daniel 8:9-12), evidently living and basing his influence in Syria (or Assyria) since the Bible many times refers to him as The Assyrian. Isaiah 10:24; 14:24-25; 30:30-31; 31:8-9; Micah 5:5-6. Evidently he will reconstruct the old Assyrian Empire, and then reconstruct the former Grecian Empire, putting it all together again. Daniel 7:7-8; 8:8-9,21-24; Zechariah 9:13.
After accomplishing that miracle and gaining power over the territory which reaches from the borders of India on the east to the southern border of Egypt in the southwest, and west as far as to include Greece, he will then come against the 10-nation federation in Europe. After he conquers three of these nations, the other seven will surrender to him. The Antichrist will then control everything from the western shores of Europe to the borders of India. Daniel 7:7-8; Rev. 17:12-13.
Unfortunately, Antichrist will not be satisfied with this great accomplishment, but he will go forth conquering, with determination to conquer the whole world. Revelation 6:2.
Seven Year Treaty
Sometime during this period, Antichrist will make a 7-year treaty with many nations, including Israel. He may even pose as Israel's great protector, because the Bible states that Israel will honor and accept him. The Jews rejected Christ, who came in the name of the Father, saying that He came from Heaven to represent Him, and was sent by Him. But when the Jews refused to receive Him, Christ prophesied that while they refused Him they would at a later date accept someone else who would claim to represent only himself. So we know that Israel will honor and accept the Antichrist, even entering into a treaty with him.
During his reign Antichrist will demand that everyone receive his mark on their forehead or on their right hand (Revelation 13:16-18) in order to buy or sell. This mark will be either the Antichrist's name, his symbol, or his number. We don't know his name or his symbol, but we are given his number: 666.
But all who accept the mark of the beast, as Scripture calls it, will damn their souls. This warning, plain in Scripture (Revelation 14:9-11), needs to be sounded loud and clear. It will be far better to suffer a thousand deaths than to receive the temporary benefits of this mark, and be damned to Hell! (This number, or mark, however, is not to be confused with present-day commercial numberings which have no religious significance.)
During this period, a great religious monstrosity (Revelation 17:1-7,15-18) will reassert itself and become a political power. The Bible gives this monster the mysterious name of MYSTERIOUS BABYLON, THE GREAT MOTHER OF WHORES AND ALL KINDS OF PERVERSIONS AND CORRUPTIONS TAKING PLACE ON THE EARTH. Seemingly, this woman is symbolic of a great world church.
There is a powerful movement underway among decadent Protestant denominations to unite all Christian churches and denominations into one great union, that would be tolerant of all ideas and faiths. This great body will then find solid acceptance and union with the major heathen religions of the world. This is exactly what these religious bodies have been working toward for years.
This great world church will then evidently ask Israel for the privilege (Zechariah 5:5-11) of setting up its world headquarters in or near Jerusalem. Israel will refuse. As an alternative, the world church will make the same proposal to new Babylon, and will be accepted there. They might even call their headquarters the City of God, located within new Babylon, as a separate entity within the city limits, or just beyond.
We are told that the rulers of that time, the ten rulers of Europe, and possibly the Antichrist and others, will use this world church to gain world power. It is evident even now that those who advocate one-world government are those most interested in forming the world church. But when the world rulers have used the world church as a springboard to power and no longer need her, they will turn on her and burn her headquarters city (Revelation 17:16), destroying and dissolving her completely as a recognized body.
Simultaneously, the Lord will send two prophets to Israel. In just 11 verses in the Bible (Revelation 11:3-13), we are given a marvelous glimpse of these two prophets who will come to warn Israel of her ways and of the judgment to come. These prophets will be so empowered by God that they will be able to stop rain from falling and do as many wonders as necessary to prove their God-given authority.
Anyone who tries to kill them will be killed himself by fire coming from the prophets' mouths. When their witness is finished, however, God will allow the Antichrist to kill them. He and the Israelis will refuse to bury their bodies, leaving them in the streets of Jerusalem where they fell, for the whole world to view, evidently by television.
The animosity and conviction generated all over the world by these prophets will be so great that people will celebrate their deaths with parties and great jubilation. But after lying dead in the streets three days, the two prophets will rise up with new life and ascend to Heaven in the sight of all. There will be some world-wide shock waves as a result of this.
Soon after the prophets' resurrection, Antichrist will traitorously break his treaty with Israel. In the middle of the 7-year period of the treaty, he will bring his armies into Israel, possibly on the pretext of protecting it.
Calculate the Numbers
In the books of Daniel and The Revelation we have numbers given which enable us to calculate the exact time when Antichrist will attack Israel. It's not exactly in the middle of the seven years, but nearly so. From these numbers we can calculate the time when Antichrist will enter Jerusalem with his armies, and how soon he will attack the Jews after entering the city. We are also given numbers which indicate how long his army will remain in Israel. See Appendix 245, page 505.
When Antichrist turns on the Jews, his first will be to blow up the altar of sacrifice located in front of their Temple. The Hebrew text is clear on this in Daniel 8:11-14. It is possible that he will use dynamite or something similar to blow the altar out of the way. Then he will replace it with his own image, and order that it will be worshiped.
Christ spoke of this time when He warned, When you see [by television?] the abominable thing that has caused so much devastation, standing now in the Temple area, (in other words, when that despicable thing, that idol, is standing where the altar should be), then, flee out of Jerusalem as fast as you can go. See Matthew 24:15-28.
In Zechariah 14 God says, Flee thru the valley of the mountains, because here's what will happen: When Antichrist sets up his image in the Temple area, Christ Himself will make a move to fight for Israel. He will literally descend from Heaven, His feet just touching the top of the Mount of Olives. The instant He does so the mountain will split down the middle, making two mountains and a valley thru which the Jews can escape.
The Lord instructs those living in Jerusalem, "When you see that abominable thing standing where it should not be, flee thru the valley of the mountains. Get out of Jerusalem as fast as you can go." And He provides the way of escape. To those in other parts of Israel He says, "Flee to the mountains."
There will be need for immediate flight. In fact, the Lord instructs the Jews not to take time even to go to some other part of the house to rescue valuables. And those in the fields are not to return to the house before leaving. This of course would include those working elsewhere. All are to flee into the mountains or thru the new valley immediately. It will be absolutely necessary for each family member living in Israel at the time of these events to understand all of the instructions well.
Only those who pay strict and immediate heed to this warning will escape, because immediately after Antichrist desecrates the Temple he will turn on the Jews and slaughter them. He will direct his armies against them all over Israel.
In mad pursuit of the Jews, Antichrist will send part of his armies thru the new valley in the Mount of Olives in an attempt to overtake those who are escaping. When a large portion of his forces are in that valley, the Lord will close up the mountain and bury them (Revelation 12:13-17), just as he buried the armies of Pharaoh of Egypt in the Red Sea. Exodus 14:1-31.
Losing his armies in the Mount of Olives will so enrage the Antichrist that he will turn on all remaining Jews who believe in Christ, and slay them. In fact, so great will be his wrath that two-thirds of all Jews in Israel will be killed. While a great part of Antichrist's army will perish in the Mount of Olives, he will undoubtedly have thousands left in Jerusalem and in other parts of Israel to do his evil work.
While two-thirds of the Jews will be killed, of the other one-third, some will escape, and many will be taken into slavery. Those enslaved will be taken to Babylon, Egypt, and elsewhere. God instructs the Jews that as they are being driven out of Israel (evidently on foot, to be herded as slaves to Babylon), they are to put up markers along the way to enable them to return. Jeremiah 31:21. Such instructions couldn't possibly have applied to the 70-year exile of Israel in Babylon in the 6th century B.C. Any signs so placed would have deteriorated in that period. This future enslavement of the Jews will last only 3 1/2 years, after which they will be liberated--by the Lord.
Great tribulation will be the lot of the Jews (Jeremiah 30:6-7) and of every true Christian at this time. Daniel 7:20-22,25; Revelation 13:7. Antichrist will pour vengeance upon God's people everywhere. Even within the nations in which he wields no power, many will no doubt worship him and obey his instructions.
Judgements from God
During these same brief years, horrendous judgments from God will he unleashed upon the ungodly. In The Revelation we read of seven trumpet judgments, to be followed by seven vial judgments. The seven vial judgments are to be poured out on the kingdom of the Antichrist. Their effects may be world-wide in scope as well, but they will be especially concentrated on the area under Antichrist's control.
What will the Jews do--those in slavery and those who have fled into the mountains and wilderness? There will no doubt be some among them who will pray most earnestly and effectively for deliverance, and God will answer their prayers! He will raise up 15 outstanding Jews, evidently Jews in free nations-seven religious leaders and eight business, political, or military leaders--to organize the opposition against the Antichrist. We know the exact number of men. The Old Testament prophecies are very clear on the subject. See Micah 5:5-6.
It's these Jews who will instigate the war against Antichrist. Isaiah 52:1-12; 41:14-16; Micah 4:11-13. But how can they ever expect to overcome him when he's controlling the whole world? He will actually control the then-known world, the world of Bible times, around the Mediterranean Sea, and all of the area known at that time. But there will be vast portions of the modem-day world he will not control.
This war council of 15 Jews will mobilize the armies of four great world powers--four great nations or empires (Jeremiah 50:9; Zechariah 1:18-2l)-who will go against the Antichrist. Their first target will be his capital city of Babylon.
As these great powers prepare to move on Babylon to destroy it, God will warn the Jews enslaved there to flee the city. Isaiah 48:20; 49:9; 52:11-12; Jeremiah 50:8-9; 51:6,45-46; Zechariah 2:6-7. But how can slaves leave the place in which they are enslaved? With God, of course, all things are possible, and we are told exactly how He plans to save them.
He will whisper a word to the earth and actually cause it to leave its orbit. The prophecy states that earth will run around in space like a deer that's being chased, and it will wander about like a sheep that has no shepherd. Isaiah 13:13-14. See also Luke 21:26 and the note.
What would your reaction be? How do you suppose people would react today if the earth went out of orbit? It would scare the very life out of most people, wouldn't it? The Scriptures state that in those days Many will die of heart failure because of fear, resulting from the frightful things that are happening to the earth. Luke 21:25-26. When this earth goes on its erratic ride thru the heavens without a driver, it will bring terrifying panic to all--except to those who are ready to meet God.
People in the city of Babylon will be so frightened, shaken, and confused over the results of the earth's tangent that they won't even think of their slaves, the Jews. God says to His captive, praying people, You won't need to sneak out of Babylon fearfully, nor take hasty flight. Walk out with your heads high, and even ask the citizens of Babylon as to the best route to Israel. Then the Lord promises, I'll even be your rear guard. They won't come after you after you've left, because I'm going to keep them back there. Isaiah 52:1 I12; Jeremiah 50:4-5.
We are told that Babylon will be the greatest and richest city on earth at the time of Antichrist's reign. People from around the world will go there to make their fortunes. But at this ominous turn of events, when the earth leaves its orbit, these foreigners will also flee and return to their own lands. Jeremiah 50:16; 51:9; Isaiah 47:15. They evidently will have heard this prophecy of the chaos that will occur just before Babylon and the surrounding area is overthrown and burned. Not all of the foreigners will leave, of course, because many will have their business, investments, and families there. And many will value these more than their lives.
The armies of the four major attacking powers, together with many others (Jeremiah 50:9,41), will surge into Babylon in a sudden and fierce attack. They will first slaughter the citizens, both in the city and in the countryside. Jeremiah 50:1415,29-30,42; 51:49; Revelation 18:6-7.
Then the soldiers of these armies will rob Babylon of everything of value: gold, silver--anything, everywhere--on the dead, in their homes, in their banks, storehouses--everything, everywhere. Finally the victors will bum the place down. Babylon will be slaughtered, plundered, and burned, in that order. See Isaiah 47; Jeremiah 50 and 51; Revelation 18.
Interestingly, the Bible tells more about the Battle of Babylon than about the Battle of Armageddon. Most of the above Scriptures have to do with modern Babylon rather than ancient Babylon.
During these events, the Jews will be triumphantly marching on their way to Jerusalem, and, according to Scripture (Isaiah 48:20-2 1; 49:91 1) God will provide food, water, and smooth roads for them in those deserts. He will see that their every need is provided as they travel home. The former slaves will arrive in Jerusalem praising God and shouting loudly enough for all the world to hear. Most likely all of the world will hear, and see, too, by television. What a tremendous event for the world to witness.
Next, God's liberating armies, after plundering and burning Babylon, will go from Babylon to Israel and will turn on Antichrist's occupying forces in Jerusalem. The four powers, together with growing Israeli forces, will liberate Israel. The Jews will mobilize, organize, and take part in these final and most memorable of battles. Zechariah 14:14; 9:13 (or vss 12-16); 10:3-6.
This series of conflicts will end in the Battle of Armageddon. The Bible even tells us its timing in relation to other events. The Battle of Armageddon will take place 4 1/2 months after the Battle of Babylon. (140 days. See Chart on page 511.)
What will be the reason for the Battle of Armageddon? What will cause it? Look at it from Antichrist's standpoint. His capital city has been wiped out, and with it he has lost all the Middle East. Thus threatened, he will no doubt mobilize all of his remaining armies throughout Europe, Africa, and elsewhere for the purpose of liquidating these invaders.
His plan will call for nothing less than total annihilation of his enemies. At the same time, the liberating armies will call for further reinforcements from their nations, and from many other nations as well. Many powers near and far will join the four great liberating powers in this last great battle. Joel 3:1-2,9-14; Revelation 16:13-14.
It's an interesting chain of events: We are told that Antichrist's armies will mobilize in the Valley of Megiddo; then he will evidently come down with one of his armies and go right into the heart of Israel; he gets to within a mile of Jerusalem, on a hill called Nob, where he's able to look over to Jerusalem. Here, we're told, he will raise his fist and threaten the Jews and boast of what he will do on the morrow. He will likely do this for the benefit of television, for all the world to hear and see. Isaiah 10:20-34, esp. v 32.
But early the next morning--we believe it will be early, so God can make a full day's production of this tremendous event--Christ will appear in the heavens! The invading Antichrist army will be no match for the Messiah-the Great Liberator-and Antichrist will go down in ignominious defeat. Revelation 19:19-21.
Immediately after the battle, the Jews will take the spoil from the bodies slain by the Lord. Zechariah 14:14. They will gather all the gold, silver, and other valuables they want. Even the lame, we are told, will gather their share. The Jews, together with the liberating armies, will enrich themselves from these fallen bodies. Then, the vultures will devour the corpses. Revelation 19:17-21.
The End of the World
The next event will be a great judgment from God, which many have called the end of the world. Isaiah 2:10-21; Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12-17; 16:16-21. First, great darkness will cover all the earth. Then earthquakes such as mankind have never experienced will shake this earth to its very foundations. The shakings will be so severe and extended that they will level every mountain.
Following this, great numbers of large meteorites will crash into the earth, causing horrendous destruction.
The oceans will disappear. Revelation 21:1. A pertinent theory, held by a number of knowledgeable scientists, is that there was at one time a canopy of ice particles high in the sky, causing a hothouse effect of constant, warm temperatures over the whole earth. it appears likely, from various Scriptures, that this canopy will be restored. The disappearance of the oceans could mean that they will literally return to the skies.
Lakes and rivers will still exist on earth, but there will be a vastly greater land area. Almost three-fourths of our world is covered by oceans today. When the waters return to the skies, there will obviously be much more room on earth. The mountains, lowered as plains and rolling hills, can become farmlands. Finally, even the deserts will blossom in wondrous profusion and beauty. Isaiah 35:1-2,6-7; 41:18-20; 43:18-20; 51:3. What a paradise this earth will finally become!
But while earth is being renovated, it will serve as a colossal judgment from God upon selfish, willful, God-rejecting humans. Besides the judgments already mentioned, there will be great thunder and lightning, no doubt with great torrents of rain and floods. Great hail storms will also strike the earth. The average hailstones of these wild storms will weigh over 100 pounds each. Revelation 16:21. Imagine what destruction such hail will cause!
After the earth has been literally shaken to pieces, washed out, and then pummeled with great meteorites and hailstones to crush what little remains, the Lord will send a grand finale of fire. He will burn the very bits and pieces of people's finest dreams until all lie in ashes at their feet. 2 Peter 3:5-14.
The question often arises: "What will happen to the Christians on earth during this time?" Some believe that the Christians will have been taken by God from the earth before the 7-year tribulation even begins. But we believe that the Scriptures clearly teach that the Christian will be here to the very end; at least until just before God pours out His wrath upon mankind shortly after Armageddon. Matthew 24:29-31.
Our belief before making this intense study was that all Christians would be taken by the Lord from the earth before the Great Tribulation, or at least before the last half of it. But we find that the Scriptures are very clear that the Rapture of God's people from the earth will occur after the Great Tribulation. See Matthew 24:30-31 notes and Appendix 201, page 467.
We do hope no one will dismiss us just because of disagreeing with us regarding the time of the Rapture of the Church. This is one point where we would like to be wrong. We have no desire to live thru a time of great tribulation. But the blessed hope of Christians is that Christ has promised He will take us to be with Himself, forever. The time when He takes us is not all that important. Our main concern must be that we are ready to go when He calls, either by death or in the Rapture.
Three books regarding the Rapture are recommended reading: The Blessed Hope, by George Ladd, published by Eerdmans; The Approaching Advent of Christ, by Alexander Reese, published by Grand Rapids International Publications; and The Church and the Tribulation, by Robert H. Gundry, published by Zondervan.
Following the Rapture, a great marriage will take place in Heaven. Revelation 19:6-9. The Bridegroom is none other than the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The Bride will be those of earth who have made themselves ready .
Two judgments will also take place at this time--the judgment for rewards, for all true followers of the Lord, and the judgment of the nations. At the judgment of the nations (Matthew 25:31-46), determination will be made concerning those still living upon the earth. Some will be privileged to enter the Kingdom Age, to repopulate the earth, and some will not. Christ will ask one great question of those who appear before Him at the judgment of the nations: "How did you treat My people, the Christians and the Jews, during the awful time of tribulation? Did you help them or did you ignore their needs, or even help the Antichrist in his persecution of My people?" The Lord will simply say, "Whatever you have done to these, my brothers and sisters, you have done to Me." And they will be judged accordingly. See Matthew 25:31-46.
Later there will be another judgment--the judgment of all who ignored God and His will for them, and who lived to please themselves instead of God. They will be resurrected from death and Hell for this judgment. Revelation 20:11-15. There will be degrees of anguish and suffering in Hell and in the lake of fire, just as there will be degrees of reward in Heaven for those who sought earnestly to please God. It is our earnest hope that you will surrender in obedience to God and received His forgiveness thru Christ--and everlasting Life.
Following His return to earth, Christ will set up His eternal Kingdom, the Kingdom of God on earth. Christ will then in truth be King of kings and Lord of lords.
This is a bare outline of a few of the outstanding happenings prophesied in the Bible for the end time. As you read and earnestly study God's word, you will discover much, much more.