End-Time Events

 

Contents:

    The Day of the Lord

    When Will Jesus Return

    Antichrist

    Michael, Satan, and the Antichrist

    The End of the World

    The Covenant and the Jews

    Dispensationalism

    The Mark of the Beast

    The Great Tribulation and the Seven Last Plagues

    Armageddon

 

The Day of the Lord

Question: What is the day of the Lord? Does this represent a period in time?

Answer: "The day of the Lord" represents an event—the coming of Christ and the events connected with it.

Peter, on the day of Pentecost, quoted the prophet Joel when he spoke of the "day of the Lord."

Acts 2:19-21 "And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Peter points out the there would be signs in the heavens—particularly in regards to the sun and the moon—before that time. He also makes it clear that the only ones who survive the "day of the Lord" will be those who "call upon the name of the Lord."

Paul explains that the "day of the Lord" is actually the second coming of Jesus. At that time all those who are righteous (have called "upon the name of the Lord") will be taken to heaven.

1 Th 4:16-5:6 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

Here again, as with Peter, Paul exhorts those who are looking forward to the coming of Christ to "watch and be sober."

Peter returns to the subject of the "day of the Lord" several years later in his second letter:

2 Pet 3:9-13 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Peter explains that the "day of the Lord" would be accompanied by a destruction of the earth that will melt the very elements. It appears that nothing will be left. However, Peter explains that though everything would be destroyed, those who are faithful to Jesus can look for "new heavens and a new earth."

I invite you to read in Revelation 21 in which Jesus—through John—describes for us what the new earth will be like.

I certainly want to be with Jesus and John in that wonderful place, don't you? And the only way we can survive the destruction that will surely come is to follow Jesus' counsel: Mat 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Further Reading

Here are a few of the Bible references that deal with the subject "day of the Lord."

"Day of the Lord"

Isa 2:10-12 Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:

Isa 13:6-9 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

Joel 2:1, 2 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.

Joel 2:28-31 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

Joel 3:11-16 Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

Zeph 1:14, 15 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,

Zech 14:1-5 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.

Mal 4:5, 6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Acts 2:19-21 And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

1 Th 4:16-18 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another wit these words.

1 Th 5:1-6 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

2 Pet 3:9-13 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

"That day"

Mat 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Mat 24:29-31 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Luke 17:26-32 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife.

Luke 21:34-36 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

2 Tim 4:7, 8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

 

When Will Jesus Return

Question: When will Jesus return?

Answer: This is an urgent question that we must understand so that we won't be caught unprepared when Jesus comes the second time.

We must first realize that we cannot set a date for His coming.

Mat 24:36 "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."

So we shouldn't look for that answer for we can never find it.

But Jesus did give us a general description of events that would take place down through the centuries from His time to ours . . . and on into the future. It would do no good for us to make a check-list and try to predict exactly when it would happen, but we can know where we are in the great movement of time toward that great event.

Let's look at some of these "signs" that point toward the coming of Christ. Jesus talked about this important subject in Matthew 24, and I suggest that you read the entire chapter before you continue with this letter.

Why don't we just go down through the chapter and look at a few high points. Then we'll look at some other Bible texts that give us clues as well.

Mat 24:1-3 "And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"

The disciples felt, as did most of the Jews, that the temple would not be destroyed until the end of the world. And Jesus' followers mentally placed His coming at the same time. So Jesus started talking about things that would happen to lead up to His coming.

In verses 4-20 Christ presented things that would happen prior to the destruction of Jerusalem [which took place in AD 70]. So we could say that the first signpost between Jesus ascension and His second coming would be the destruction of Jerusalem.

The second sign that Jesus gave follows Jerusalem's demise.

Mat 24:21, 22 "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."

Jesus looked on beyond the destruction of Jerusalem and drew a picture of the time we call the Dark Ages. During this time the apostate "church" sought to destroy God's people—because they wouldn't give up their belief in the saving power of Christ without having to go through the prelates of the church.

The period of time during which this "great tribulation" would take place is described by John in the Revelation as 1260 years in length. There has never been any period like this, a time when literally millions sealed their faith with their blood. Historians estimate that at least 4 million people died, and some of them push that number upwards of 400 million. Nothing like it would ever happen again, Jesus said [He did not say, however, that there would be no more persecution of His people, or that that persecution would be terrible or vast in its perpetration]. So the second sign to point His disciples to the fact that Jesus would come was the great persecution of true Christians during the Dark Ages.

In verse 29, Jesus gave three signs that would happen very close together.

Mat 24:29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:"

Signs number 3-5 would take place toward the end of the "great tribulation." The 1260 years of persecution covered the time period from 538-1798. (This time period is outside of our topic here. If you have questions on this subject, you may send them to Bibleinfo.com or to me.) So we can expect to see these signs somewhere in the neighborhood of 1798.

Sign number three: The Sun would become dark. On May 19, 1780 at about 10 a.m. (In New England) an eerie darkness spread out over the land. It was so dark that a person couldn't read newsprint without the aid of a candle. The chickens went to roost and the cows came home for milking. (It was an agrarian society.) The darkness continued for most of the day.

Sign number four: The moon would not give her light. On the night of May 19, 1780 the moon rose full. But it's color was a strange bloody red and though it could be seen, gave no light at all.

Sign number five: The stars shall fall from heaven. On the night of Nov. 13, 1833, the Leonids rained a shower of meteorites such as had never been witnessed before. Astronomers estimated that about 3000 fell each minute. It looked like every star was falling out of heaven. The shower lasted for a greater part of the night, and was seen all across the continent [it was described by a mountain man who was approaching the Pacific ocean somewhere near San Francisco]. The terror and awe of that night was described in the negro spiritual, "My Lord, what a morning, when the stars began to fall." (Modern versions exchange the "began" to "begin" attempting to make it a future event.)

But the sixth sign is the only one that Jesus classifies as a "sign:"

Mat 24:30 "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

Sign number six is the second coming of Jesus. And when you think about it, in the scheme of Matthew 24, we live between verses 29, 30.

Let's briefly look at some of the other signs given in the Bible:

James 5:3, 4, 8 "Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. . . . (vs 8) Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."

James describes people with fabulous wealth, and the struggle between business owners and those who work for them.

Dan 12:4 "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."

Daniel pictured a day when his message would be unsealed for "knowledge [of his prophecies] shall be increased."

Luke shows that there will be great calamities as we near the end.

Luke 21:11 (NIV) "There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven."

Paul describes the moral degeneration of the last days.

2 Tim 3:1-5 "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

Jesus describes a world-wide movement of disciples spreading the gospel everywhere until everyone has had an opportunity to decide for Christ. And He warns that the wickedness of the world would cause many to lose out. But, He says, those who endure to the end will be saved.

Mat 24:12-14 "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax [become] cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

Peter reveals that many would scoff at the idea of the Jesus coming again. In fact Peter describes the foundation upon which evolution is built—that "everything continues as it was from the beginning" [the doctrine of uniformity].

2 Pet 3:2-4 (NIV) "I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation."

How does Jesus say we should react when we see all these things happening?

Mark 13:28, 29 (NIV) "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door."

I believe you can see that everything that Jesus and other Bible writers have predicted would take place before the coming of Jesus has happened just as they said it would. This gives of every reason to trust that Jesus will come again just as He said. Perhaps I should close with this admonition of Jesus:

Mat 24:42-44 (NIV) "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

Antichrist

Question: Two cardinals have said that the antichrist is alive. At no time in history have Protestants and Catholics agreed, but they're both saying that the antichrist is alive. What do you think of this?

Answer: It really doesn't matter what I think or what the Fathers thought or what the church teaches. The only thing that really matters to the sincere Christian is "What does the Bible say?" That's the litmus paper of Christian doctrine.

So, what about the antichrist. Is he alive today. Based on what the Bible reveals, I'd have to answer: "Yes." But my "yes" is founded on information that is often overlooked. What does the Bible really say about the antichrist?

In the Greek language, in which the New Testament was written, the prefix "anti" has the meaning of, among other things, "instead of." The interpretation of "against" is of more recent origin than Biblical times. So the word "antichrist" would have the connotation of "instead of Christ." And in that sense, it would point to any thought or word or action or doctrine or attitude that seeks to replace Christ as the Lord of our lives.

The Apostle John spoke about the antichrist in these words. 1 John 2:18-22 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.

Christ's reason for coming to earth was not merely to teach or to heal. His reason was to save mankind from their sins.

Mat 1:21: The angel, speaking of Mary said: "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

That was Christ's mission. He came to bring us into union with God, and to become the Mediator between God and man.

1 Tim 2:5, 6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.

Christ is our Mediator, our go-between, our power line to the Father. And any person, action, dogma, or teaching that side-steps or puts it/himself in the "chain of command" acting as mediator between God and man is placing it/himself in the position of acting in the place of Christ. By doing this the person or organization becomes antichrist.

For example: If we should put aside the second commandment (as it reads in the Bible) that forbids the use of images for the purpose of worship, we would have, in effect, told God that this commandment is not really necessary. "We know what is good for us far better than You do, God. So we're going to ignore this prohibition of images." Can you see that in this attitude we've put ourselves in the place of God and thus we've become, in reality, antichrist. We could have the same result by changing the meaning of, or ignoring any other of the 10 commandments—or other teachings of Scripture.

Christ's mission is to save us from our sins. When we confess our sins to Jesus, he has promised to forgive them--because He bought the right to do that on the Cross of Calvary. He gave His life so we wouldn't have to die for our sins. We bring our sins directly to Him. Whenever any person or organization places himself in between the confessing sinner and Christ and then claims to forgive the sin as a representative of Christ, he has stepped in between the sinner and Christ and is claiming to do what only Christ can do. That person or organization has become antichrist.

So you see, antichrist is very much alive today, and is far more widespread than we might think. But he is not a person who will become the ruler of the world and bring peace and prosperity to society. Satan himself might transform himself (like he did in the serpent in Eden) and appear as an angel of light with the purpose of leading the world to its ultimate doom.

2 Cor 11:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

But the theory that antichrist will be one person is one of the devil's decoys to keep us from going to Christ alone for cleansing from sin. Such a teaching is not Biblical and we would be well-advised to avoid it.

Stay on Christ's side. Let Him be your Mediator. Don't let any person or organization detour you around or away from Christ—for that person or organization is antichrist.

 

Michael, Satan, and the Antichrist

Question: When will Michael throw Satan out of Heaven to be Antichrist?

Answer: According to Revelation 12:7-9, Christ (Michael) drove Satan out of heaven some time in the past. This must have happened before God created the earth because Satan appeared to Eve in the Garden of Eden in the form of a serpent. So that part has already happened.

As for the antichrist, we need to know first of all what the word means. "Anti" in English means "against," but in Greek (the language in which the Bible was written) "anti" means "instead of," or "in the place of." So antichrist is not someone who fights against Christ, but someone or some group of people, or some organization who puts themselves in the place of Christ. Daniel and the Revelation together suggest that the antichrist—the one who puts himself in the place of Christhas been in existence for nearly 2000 years. (See the question above for a more complete discussion of the antichrist.)

 

The End of the World

Question: What will happen when the world ends?

Answer: The Bible says that the world as we know it will come to an end when Jesus comes the second time. Here are a few texts to show you what I mean:

Aside from admonishing us to be ready for His coming, Jesus gives us one important thing that must be accomplished before He comes. Every person on Earth has to know about the gospel.

Mat 24:13, 14 ". . . he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

Even though most people claim to love Jesus and proudly call themselves Christians, yet Jesus points out that "all the nations of the earth will mourn." But in almost the same breath He says that we will rescue "he elect"–those who have stood "firm to the end." So something drastic must be about to happen to them.

Mat 24:30, 31 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."

Jesus gives two illustrations of what it would be like when He comes the second time.

Luke 17:26-30 "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. "It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. "It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed."

 Think it over. Noah and his family8 peoplewent into the ark before the flood began. And of those who were outside the ark, there were no survivors. And the same happened with Sodom. Lot and his family left the city before it was destroyed. And of those who remained in the city, there were no survivors.

So when Jesus comes, every person on Earth will have made their choice as to whether Jesus has them 100% or they want to do things their own way. When He comes, Jesus will take His people with Him. And of those who are left behind, there will be no survivors.

Paul gives a little more specifics on the coming of Jesus and how it will impact God’s faithful peoplewhether living at the time or dead in their gravesall will rise to meet Him in the air. (This has been called the noisiest text in the Bible.)

1 Th 4:16, 17 "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

John the Revelator explains that the judgment will take place before Jesus comes because at that time He rewards them for being faithful to Him. But it also gives him the right to destroy "those who destroy the earth."

Rev 11:18 The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and greatand for destroying those who destroy the earth."

Those who have resisted the Holy Spirit will be terrified when Jesus comes.

Rev 6:15-17 "Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"

For the people who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior and allowed Him to guide them, His coming will illicit stark terror, for, as they will say, "the great day of [God’s] wrath has come, and who can stand."

So, briefly:

  The world will come to an end at the second coming of Jesus.

 Everyone on Earth will hear the gospel.

All the people on Earth will mourn–they will be unhappy to see Jesus come.

Jesus will take His faithful people with Him to be with Him forever.

Jesus will have judged His people before He comes, for He gives them their reward at this time.

Of the people who are left there will be no survivors.

There is a lot more information that I could give you but I believe this will answer your question.

Friend, give this some serious thought. Where do you stand with Jesus? Have you accepted Him as your Savior? Are you willing to let Him use you in giving His gospel to others? I pray that if you haven’t already made this choice, that you will do it right now. Don’t get left outside with the . . . .

 

The Covenant and the Jews

Question: Modern evangelicalism, which has become the voice of serious Christianity in the US, promotes the view that the Old Covenant with the Jews was never supplanted by Christ, that the Jews are still the Chosen People of God and that Scripture says that the Jews are still entitled to the land of Israel, a belief which has had great influence on our foreign policy. My question is what your church believes about this and what the traditional Christian belief on this subject has been through the ages.

Answer: Thank you for your questions regarding the beliefs of evangelicals, the Old Covenant, and the Jews. I'm not able to discuss the differences between churches, as I haven't studied that area of knowledge. I can only answer your questions on the basis of what you tell me here.

In addition, it really isn't important to know what my church believes or what the traditional Christian belief is on this subject. The important issue here is: "What does the Bible say?" That's the only thing that I consider a reliable guide in all things that have to do with our relationship with God.

Let's break down your observations into units to make them easier to work with:

1) ". . . the Old Covenant with the Jews was never supplanted by Christ . . ."

2) ". . . the Jews are still the chosen people of God . . ."

3) ". . . Scripture says that the Jews are still entitled to the land of Israel, . . ."

1) ". . . the Old Covenant with the Jews was never supplanted by Christ . . ."

Actually, the Old Covenant with the Jews was supplanted by the New Covenant long before Jesus set foot upon Earth. At Mt Sinai, after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, God spoke to them His ten commandments and then wrote them on tables of stone. Then Moses reviewed with the people the covenant they needed to make with the Lord.

Exo 24:7 (NIV) Then he [Moses] took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, "We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey."

This covenant was ratified by the blood of animals, making it binding upon the Israelites. This is known as the Old Covenant, because the blood of the ratification was shed at Sinai (about 1445 B.C.)

But the human side of the Old Covenant was based upon the promises of men rather than upon trust in God. As you already know, human beings are not capable of keeping God's ten commandments on their own. So it was not surprising that, before six weeks passed, while Moses was again upon the mountain receiving further instruction from the Lord, the Israelites broke their covenant with God. They made themselves an idol of gold in the form of a calf and worshiped it with sacrifices and dancing. (Read the story in Exodus 32.)

So the Israelites had broken their covenant with God. The Old Covenant was null and void. What happened? God established a new covenant with them. The Old Covenant was abandoned for a New Covenant. The New Covenant, as you can see below, is based upon the promises of God, not the promises of human beings. It is called the "New Covenant" because the blood upon which it was based was shed on Calvary, nearly 1500 years after the "Old Covenant." (However, the New Covenant is actually the original "everlasting covenant" that God made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, etc. It was only supplanted for about six weeks at Sinai.)

Heb 8:6-13 (NIV) But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs [human priests] as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said : "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear. [The writer of Hebrews quotes here from Jeremiah 31:31-33]

The New Covenant is founded upon "better promises" than the old one. The Old Covenant was founded upon the promises of the people, and they soon broke it. But the New Covenant, as you can see, is founded upon the promises of God, and God always keeps His promises. Everyone who allows God to write His law upon his heart and mindin both Old and New Testament timeswill take part in the rewards of the New Covenant. They will want to do everything in their powerby the grace of Godto keep God's commandments and be faithful in all that they do, realizing that it is God "who works in [them] to will and to act according to his good purpose." (Phil 2:13 NIV)

You'll notice what the writer of Hebrews says about the Old Covenant:

Hebrews 8:13 (NIV) By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

The Old Covenant was made obsolete by the New Covenant. Obsolete is a synonym of supplant. So Christ actually supplanted the Old Covenant, making it null and void.

2) ". . . the Jews are still the chosen people of God . . ."

Perhaps we need to understand exactly what the Bible means by the word "Jew." In Old Testament times (and in contemporary literature) a Jew was a person who descended physically from Judah, one of the sons of Jacob/Israel. In the gospels, a Jew was usually spoken of as one of the leaders of the nation. But the Apostle Paul points out plainly whom God considers a Jew:

Rom 2:28, 29 (NIV) A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.

Gal 3:28, 29 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Yes, Jews are still the chosen people of God. But we must understand what is, according to the Bible, a true Jew. Paulwho, as a Bible writer, describes the attitude of true Christiansa Jew is a person who has accepted Christ as his/her Savior and has let Him write His law upon his/her heart. God counts Christians who have entered into the New Covenant with Christ fully as much Jews as are those who are faithful among the physical descendants of Abraham. So, it is altogether possible for a person to be a physical descendant of Abraham and to not be a Jew at all in God's sight.

So, Jews, in the New Covenant sense, are still the chosen people of God.

3) ". . . Scripture says that the Jews are still entitled to the land of Israel, . . ."

I know of no such Scripture. The person/people who make this claim need to come forward with clearly stated Scripture to prove their point.

Actually the Bible makes it plain that if those who call themselves His people do not worship Him, then He can no longer bless them.

Deu 28:15 (NIV) . . . if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:

The curses are listed through the balance of chapter 28 and well into chapter 29. Repeatedly, God threatened the Children of Israel that, if they were unfaithful to Him, they would be carried to other nations and become slaves there. Then others would take over their land.

Now, let me ask you: Are the people who live in Israel faithful to God? Actually the majority do not practice the Jewish religion and a large percentage of them do not believe in God at all. Those who are faithful to the Jewish religionthe Pharisees (orthodox Jews)are a powerful force in the nation, but do not have control of the government. In fact, government soldiers have repeatedly quelled attempts by these people to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

Can God bless a people who do not serve Him? According to what we have seen, no. Does the land of Israel belong to the Jews? That is a political question which really has little or no relation to religion.

In fact, the Jerusalem to which those who are the real seed of Abraham lay claim (those who have Christ as their Savior) is actually the New Jerusalem which will be seen (after the 1000 year period) "coming down out of heaven from God." (Rev. 21:2) That's far better than the corrupted, dirty city in the current day political nation of Israel. For, of the New Jerusalem, John the Revelator states: "Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." Rev 21:27

 

To review:

1) The Old Covenant was replaced by the New Covenant thousands of years before Christ came.

2) Real Jews are those who have accepted Christ as their Savior.

3) God cannot bless the Jews in Israel because they are not keeping His covenant. The nation of Israel is merely a political entity and has little if any relation to Biblical religion.

 

Dispensationalism

Question: Origins of despensationalism. Some say that John Darby originated  the doctrine of despensationalism, while others say it came from the counsel of Trent. Which source actually began that system of thought?

Answer: I have not studied dispensationalism to a great extent, as I specialize in Biblical themes, and this "doctrine" has no roots in the Bible. I read about the doctrines of other churches only to be aware of their existence and their relationship with Biblical themes. However, I searched the books available to me and found no definitive explanation about the origin of dispensationalism.

I wrote to a friend, and Biblical scholar, passing your question on to him. I quote from his letter. Perhaps this will be of help:

Bro Thurman,

Clearly the most influential figure is Darby, although in the sense that the Council of Trent challenged Protestant interpretation of prophecy, one that identified the papacy as the little horn power [of Daniel 7 and 8] and the NT antichrist, one could say that roots of Darby's system could be traced to Trent. The goal was to create a system that released the papacy from hostile identification. Of course the dispensational scheme, which has a far wider scope today, with its focus on a personal antichrist to come at the end of time, would accomplish that for the papacy. Futurist prophetic interpretation shoves the antichrist into the future.

Your best source for tracing what is involved is, of course, Leroy Froom's Prophetic Faith of our Fathers [out of print, but available in most seminary libraries]. Froom went to great lengths to draw from primary sources about matters of prophetic interpretation, and his work is [generally] accepted . . . as the definitive study. . . .

Hal Lindsey picked up on Darby's idea with little understanding of how it sheltered the papacy, and publicized it in his runaway best seller which purported to interpret prophecy, Late Great Planet Earth, which ran more than 50 million copies. Although rather wobbly now, Lindsey is still alive, guiding tour groups in Israel, where he poses as the authority in prophetic interpretation.

But others, in one stream of the Evangelical movement, have surpassed his influence in today's dispensationalism. The intellectual capital of the system is Dallas Theological Seminary. A fascinating article in the current Chronicle of Higher Education traces the transit of Darby's ideas through religious channels into politics and into the thinking of George W Bush. His blind endorsement of Israel, tempered only by the practical problem of Arab resentment against Israel, with which Bush must contend, is explainable through Darby's thesis that the restoration of Israel sets off prophetic events to culminate in this yet-unidentified antichrist person. Then [is featured] the rapture, the period of great persecution, conversion of the Jews (one feature soft-pedaled by Israeli leaders who otherwise revel in support by the Evangelicals), and the second advent. . . .

Best wishes,

George W Reid

Biblical Research Institute

 

The Mark of the Beast

Question: What is the Mark of the Beast?

Answer: In order to understand what the mark is, we must first find out who the beast is. We shall also need to compare the mark with the seal of God, for both are given at about the same time.

This subject is very important because according to Rev. 14:9-11 those who receive the beast's mark won't be in an enviable situation.

Rev 14:9-11 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."

There's no doubt about it: God hates the beast and everyone who has cast in their lot with him. In fact the seven last plagues of Rev. 16 are staged for their benefit. I don't want to be among that group, and I'm sure you don't either or you wouldn't be asking this question.

1) Who is the beast? Read Rev. 13:1-10 before you continue.

We notice several important things:

a. He came up out of the sea

Water is a symbol representing peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. (Rev. 17.15) So the beast arose out of a populous area.

b. He had blasphemous names written on him.

Blasphemy is the act of a man claiming to be God (John 10:33), and/or claiming to forgive sins (Mark 2:7)

c. He receives his power and authority from the dragon.

The dragon represents pagan Rome in its act of trying to destroy Jesus (Rev. 12:4). But the real power behind pagan Rome, the great red dragon, is Satan. (Rev. 12:9)

d. He receives his "seat", his throne, from the dragon.

Since the dragon worked through pagan Rome, the "seat" of the Roman government was the city of Rome. So the dragon gave the city of Rome to the beast to use as his capitol city.

e. One of his heads received a wound that should have killed him, but he survived.

There is a time period involving verse 5–42 months. The Biblical month had 30 days, so 42 months would come out to 1260 days. In prophetic reckoning a day is a symbol of a year. (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6) So the wound would be received at the end of a period of 1260 years of supremacy.

f. People worshiped both the dragon and the beast.

(Worship is an absolute necessity in our relationship with God. That's why the first commandment says: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Ex. 20:3) Jesus said to Satan, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" (Mat 4:10). Rev 14:6-9 shows two competing powers who are fighting to receive the worship of man: God, and the dragon―through the beast.)

g. He persecutes God's people.

h. Everyone on Earth worships the beast—except those whose names appear in the book of life. (see Rev. 20:9-15)

 

2) When you go back into history and seek to find out who the beast is, taking into account the description that has been given here, you will find only one that fits all the specifications that John gives here: the Papacy—known to most people as the Roman Catholic Church.

a. The Papacy came up from within a populous area—Europe.

b. The Papacy claims that the priest has the power to forgive sins.

This is done in the confessional. (This fits the description of blasphemy)

c. The Papacy received its power and its place of residence from pagan Rome. The Roman emperor appointed the Bishop of Rome as the literal head of both religious and political matters in the Western Roman Empire.

d. The Papacy gained full power over the Western Roman Empire in 538 A.D.

It reigned supreme for over a millennium until Napoleon deposed the pope and confiscated church property throughout his empire. This took place in 1798―exactly 1260 years after the Papacy's beginning.

e. Throughout the Papacy's supremacy, it sought to force everyone to obey its decrees.

But some refused, deciding to follow the God of Scripture rather than a pope who claimed to be the vicar of Christ. The Papacy sought these "heretics" out and tried to make them give up their faith, even resorting to torture and the execution of those who refused. Millions died rather than bow to Rome.

f. Today, it seems that the majority of the Earth's population looks to the pope to solve the world's problems. The papacy's adherents number into the 100s of millions.

g. And the beast has a number, the number of a man, and it is 666.

In John's day it was a custom for a person to reduce his name to it's numerical equivalent in Roman numerals. This helps us to know how we should look for this number in connection with the beast.

In searching for this clue, scholars in the middle ages discovered that the official title of the pope, at that time (it is still one of his titles) was vicarius filii dei, which means "vicar of the Son of God."

But by turning the letters which are Roman numerals into their numerical equivalent and adding the total, you come up with 666.

I hasten to add that the number 666 has little importance in itself except that it is merely another of the identifying marks of the beast, the antichrist, the papacy

For these reasons many Bible scholars have come to the conclusion that the Beast of Revelation 13 represents the Papacy—the Roman Catholic Church. This isn't to say that the people of that communion have done all this. But the church did, and still does these things where it has power to do so.

 

3) Now, what about the second beast whose description begins in verse 11? Read verses 11-18 before you continue.

a. He comes up out of the earth.

If water represents inhabited, organized nations, then the earth would be a symbol of an area where there are no organized nations. The only government that formed in an area where there were no organized nations at the time when the beast was receiving his deadly wound―1798―would be the United States. It begins like a lamb, but will speak like a dragon.

History shows how much this is coming true. The democratic experiment which was driven by its great constitution, was a marvel to the world. But as it has grown in power it has become today the world's only "super power." And in the new regulations of the Homeland Securities Act, we see the beginnings of what could very well lead us into the dragon-talk era.

b. He would make the people of Earth worship the first beast.

This is yet future, and we'll have to wait to see how it plays out.

c. He would perform miraculous signs.

This too is future.

d. He will set up an image to the beast and cause all the Earth to worship it.

An image is a replica of something. The beast is a religious organization that uses the power of the government to force people to follow its way of worship. The image of the beast set up by the United States, then, will likely have to do with religious authorities using the power of the state (perhaps even through laws passed by Congress) to force "dissenters" to worship according to the dictates of the majority. Those who refuse to obey would be punished severely, and continued disobedience would eventually lead to the death penalty. (vs. 15). This too, is yet future.

e. He forces everyone on earth to receive a mark in their forehead or in their hand.

The mark of the beast is forced upon all by the United States. This hasn't happened yet.

f. He puts into effect an economic boycott of all who do not have the mark.

 

Let's look at the other side of the story, that of those who are "dissenters"—those who refuse to give up their worship of God according to Scripture, rather than according to man. We find a picture of them in chapter 14:1-5:

Rev 14:1-5 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

By John's description of these people, we can see that they are the true people of God. The one thing that catches our attention, in the context of our subject, is the fact that they have something written on their forehead: These people do not have the mark of the beast written on their foreheads or in their hands, but they have the names of the Lamb and the Father on their foreheads (not on their hands).

Chapter 7 helps us understand more about this. The entire chapter describes the 144,000 and their relationship with God. But notice this interesting part:

Rev 7:2, Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."

In chapter 14 it was the names of the Lamb and of the Father written in the foreheads of this special group. But here these two names are embraced in the term "seal." So God's faithful people receive His seal in their foreheads, while those who have accepted another god (the Papacy; the image to the beast; the dragon) will receive the mark of the beast in their foreheads (and/or in their hands). (Although there is no direct explanation for the forehead and hand, we could surmise that those who receive either the seal or the mark in their foreheads have knowingly decided to believe either God or the beast. While those who receive the mark in their hand don't really believe in or follow the beast but go along and do what they're told.)

So what is the seal of God? The Bible talks about the seal in a number of places.

Isa 8:16 Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples.

In ancient times kings and nobles had a seal—a design that was often incorporated into the face of a ring, or a small cylinder worn on a string around the neck. They would melt wax onto any item they wished to bear their approval, and empress the image of the seal in the wax. On this seal were three things:

1. the name of the person or organization;

        2. his title;

3. the territory over which the bearer had jurisdiction.

Isaiah indicates that the seal is closely related to God's law—we call them the ten commandments. Does God's seal appear in His law?

Yes. In the fourth commandment we find the three components of a seal, which declare that the Lord God of heaven and earth stands behind them:

Exo 20:8-11 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

In verse 11 we find the three components of a seal:

1. The Person who stands behind the ten commandments is the "LORD your God." (LORD, when it appears in all capital letters, is translated from the Hebrew word yahweh from which we get our word "Jehovah." It is the personal name of God.)

2. God's title is the "Creator." And the commandment points out that God "made" (created) the earth.

3. The territory over which the LORD has jurisdiction is "the heavens and the earth."

Now notice what this commandment says: The seventh day is the Sabbath. The day we call "Saturday" is the seventh day of the week, so Saturday is the Sabbath of "the LORD your God." Thus the seal that is placed in the foreheads of God's faithful people down at the end of time involves their decision to worship God on the day He set aside for His people to rest on. The seal is actually the seventh day Sabbath.

And this takes special import when we notice that the first angel of Rev. 14:6 calls on all the earth to "Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water." This is almost precisely the wording of the Sabbath commandment. The angel is calling God's people to come back to the Sabbath, because that is the day He set aside upon which His people were to worship Him.

It's interesting to notice in this regard that the Papacy claims to have changed the day of worship from Sabbath to Sunday in its early years (beginning in 135 A.D.) ( For an excellent historical study of this change, see From Sabbath to Sunday, by Samuele Bacchiocchi, available on www.biblicalperspectives.com.) And the Papacy makes no apology for making the change. In fact, it points to the act of being able to change the LORD's Sabbath to Sunday as a "mark" of their ecclesiastical authority. Notice this from The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, by the Rev. Peter Geieremann, 1957 edition, p. 50: (There are dozens more such quotations)

"Q. Which is the Sabbath day?

"A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.

"Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

"A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."

So the mark of the beast, then, is the false day of worship—Sunday. And those who persist in turning their backs on God's Sabbath and insist on keeping Sunday instead, will, in the days just preceding the coming of Christ, receive the mark of the beast.

I hasten to say that no one has yet received the mark of the beast. Only when we are required by law to keep Sunday and to desecrate the Sabbath, will those who choose to ignore God's Sabbath and obey human laws instead—only then will they receive the mark of the beast.

 

The Great Tribulation and the Seven Last Plagues

Question: Can you explain the difference between the great tribulation and the seven last plagues? Is the great tribulation sent by GOD or created by Satan? Thanks.

Answer: God sends the seven last plagues; Satan causes the great tribulation. Lets talk first about the great tribulation, and then we’ll discuss the seven last plagues. They are not necessarily the same.

Dan 12:1, 2 (NIV)  "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

There are three major points in Daniel’s message:

1) a great, unequalled time of distress;

2) God’s people will be delivered;

3) a great resurrection. These were all future at Daniel’s time.

Jesus talked about this too:

Mat 24:21-31 (NIV)  For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.  22. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. . . . 29. "Immediately after the distress of those days "'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'  30. "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.  31. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

There are 4 things we should notice in these verses:

1) There will be a time of distress (tribulation)

2) God's people will be delivered

            3) There will be celestial signsBsun, moon, stars

4) The resurrection—at Christ’s coming—will happen after all this (1 Thess. 4:16, 17)

1) The tribulation was future at Daniel's time; It was still future at Christ's time. But it is past at this time.

Between Christ's day and ours there was a time of unequaled distress. When we compare this with Rev. 12:6, 14, we discover that the woman (God's church) would be under great distress for a period of 1260 day/years. And so it was. During the centuries that we call the ADark Ages@ true, Bible-believing Christians were persecuted, first by pagan Rome, and then by Papal Rome. From 538-1798, millions died for their faith. Some historians estimate that it must have been close to 400 million who died at the hands of others because they would not compromise their faith.

2)Jesus mentioned that if the time had not been shortened no one would survive. And the persecution did come pretty much to an end by the late-1700s. God's people were delivered from further distress.

3) The signs in the sky have already taken place. (Some believe that they will be repeated just before Jesus comes.)

On May 19, 1780, in the North-Eastern part of the United States the sun grew dark at about 10 am so that people could hardly see their hands in front of their faces. It lightened some about noon, but never became light enough to read Anewsprint.@

According to court records housed in the Massachusetts archives, when the darkness fell, the assembly was in session. One of the members moved that they adjourn since it was obvious that Jesus was coming. Another amended it by saying that if Jesus were coming, He should find them at their work. The latter motion carried and candles were brought in so they could continue their session.

On the same day—after what was left of the light faded away, the full moon rose in the sky, but its color was as read as blood. Instead of bathing the landscape with light as is the usual case, on that night it emitted no light at all.

On the night of November 13, 1833, the earth passed through the Leonids—a meteor shower. Normally you can expect to see 60-90 an hour during this yearly event. Sometimes there has been an almost continuous shower, one after another. But never a shower as appeared on the date mentioned above. Astronomers at the time estimated that about 3000 fell every minute. It appeared that every star was coming out of the sky. The sky was so much ablaze that people woke out of their sleep, and many thought Jesus was coming. This phenomenon lasted all night and was seen from coast to coast in the U.S.  (Read an article about this event on Writings/Articles section of this site.

4) There have been 175 years since that date, and the next thing to happen is for Jesus to come and for the dead in Christ to rise from their graves, join the living saints, and rise to meet our Lord in the air. (1 Thess. 4:16, 17)

Revelation pictures a time of trouble before the coming of Christ, and also gives a description of the seven last plagues. This will probably take place at the same time.  Revelation points out that the intercession of Christ before the Father will end when the angel casts the censer to the earth. (Rev. 8:3-5) This will mark the end of human probation, for every case will have been decided. (Rev. 22:11, 12) (Revelation does not present a chronological account of end times, but renders a number of parallel time periods, describing the events that will take place during them.)

As the plagues fall, those who have forsaken Christ will think that Christ’s followers are—for reasons which we don’t have room to discuss—responsible for the plagues. They will seek to hunt them down and kill them. This will cause a time of trouble during the seven last plagues, and again, God’s people will be saved out of it—this time by the coming of Jesus in the clouds.

So the answer to your question is “yes” and “no.”

I suggest that you read the book, “The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan.” It will detail many of these things I’ve presented. You can find the book on this site in the book section.

 

Armageddon

The word AArmageddon@ appears only in Revelation:

 

Rev 16:12-16 (NIV) AThe sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. "Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed." Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.@

 

You=ll notice that Armageddon is a place, and that the name has some connection to Hebrew.

 

The word AArmageddon@ does not appear in Hebrew, so we should probably consider it to be a symbol of some kind. Some have thought it to be linked to the city Megiddo that stands at the extreme western end of the valley of Esdraelon in northern Palestine. They believe that the armies of the world will all gather there and fight the world=s final battle. Those who disagree point out that, even though it=s a big valley, it=s no where near big enough for all the world=s armies to gather there.

 

Others, finding no Hebrew equivalent to the word, have noticed that there is a Hebrew phrase that appears to be similar: Har Moed. This phrase can be roughly translated as Amount of the congregation.@ This would refer to a place where God=s people are called to bow before Him. It would also refer, I suppose, to any gathering of large groups of people. Those who follow this reasoning see in Revelation 16:12-16 the gathering of the armies of earth by the unclean Afrog@ spirits.

 

We need to turn our attention, I believe, away from the place of the gathering to the event that takes place at this gathering: the Abattle on the great day of God Almighty.@ Taking the whole of Revelation in context, we could reason that this battle is a spiritual, personal struggle as to whether or not to accept the seal of God or the mark of the beast. Rev. 13:15 presents a picture that things will become so bad that to chose not to accept the mark would place a person under the penalty of death. Those who are faithful to God will have a terrible struggle at that time: Accept the mark of the beast and live; Refuse and die. But God=s people will refuse the mark, for they look for a better life—that will last forever. They know that to overcome sin—regardless of circumstances—will give them a place in the resurrection of life at the second coming of Christ.

 

But there=s every evidence that the battle will also be physical in nature. This last Abattle@ takes place Aon the great day of God Almighty.@ This would undoubtedly be the time that will usher in the second coming of Christ. All history has been moving toward that day when Jesus will break through the clouds of human despair and rescue His people from this dying planet, and whisk them off to the New Jerusalem to reign with Him a thousand years.

 

I believe that one of the best descriptions of the Abattle on the great day of God Almighty@ is found in Revelation 19

 

Rev 19:11-21 AI saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great." Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.@

 

The battle as it is pictured here is highly symbolic, but it pictures a world war that takes a new turn. As the armies of earth fight against each other, suddenly they realize that the Earth is being invaded by an Aalien@ force. Suddenly they unite against a common Foe: Jesus Christ as He is coming in the clouds.

 

Armageddon is actually an interrupted battle. When Christ comes He=ll destroy the armies and every living thing on Earth. Then He=ll take His people to the place He has prepared for them in Heaven. It=s at this point that Satan is cast into the bottomless pit for 1000 years. (This is another subject.)

 

At the end of the 1000 years, Christ will raise all the people to life who were not ready for Him at His second coming—the selfish, self righteous, and the wicked from the time of Cain to the time of the second coming of Christ. The story of this part of the battle is found also in Revelation—the next chapter.

 

Rev 20:7-9 AWhen the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.@

 

Here is the last half of the battle. It takes place when Satan rallies the newly raised wicked people (see John 5:28, 29) and gathers them around the Holy City—presumably to attempt to forcibly gain control of the New Jerusalem. But God again steps in: Afire came down from heaven and devoured them.@

If you=d like more information I refer you to my book When the Devil Goes to Jail. You'll find it in the "Book" section of this site.