The Bible tells us that as Christians we are only pilgrims in this world, citizens of a heavenly kingdom, looking forward to the perfection of our salvation in the Second Coming of Christ and a blissful eternity. In the books of First Thessalonians and the Gospel of Matthew, we are told that the coming of Christ will be on a day much like today; a day when people will be eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage (Matthew 24:38). It will come like a thief in the night and at an hour when we do not expect it (1 Thessalonians 5:2). So that it does not take us by surprise, we are warned to be ready for Him, to keep watch, and to encourage one another to live godly lives (Matthew 24:42,44; 1 Thessalonians 5:8,11). According to Gods calendar of events it could begin at anytime: today, tonight, or tomorrow.
In light of this, I would like us to consider some of the major passages of the Bible, concerning the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the events of the end times, so that we may more eagerly look forward to our coming salvation in the return of Christ.
I have linked many Scriptures together chronologically, to form a picture of the end time events, as I believe they will happen. I would like you to take a trip forward in time, right where you are, and view the events of the end times as history, as if you are hearing a story that has already occurred. Can you picture us in eternity future, looking backwards toward this era? Let me be your guide.
A. Voice from the Future
Picture us standing right now in the Fathers House, in the city called the "New Jerusalem." The walls of our city are crystal clear like a diamond and the streets are made of pure gold, like transparent glass. There is no night here for brilliant light shines everywhere. Neither is there death nor sin for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21)
The New Jerusalem is extremely large. It measures approximately 1400 miles square and is an unbelievable 1400 miles high (Revelation 21:4). It is surrounded by a jeweled wall 200 feet high which has twelve gates made from very large pearls and the gates are attended by angels. In the city is the Tree of Life, just like the one that was in the Garden of Eden, and we all eat of its fruit. We drink from the spring of the Water of Life that flows down the main street of the city. The glory of God is the illumination of the city. We experience total joy and perfect peace here with God.
Now permit me to share some of the chronological account of the major events that have taken place since Jesus came for us at the end of the Church Age.
II. EVENTS PRIOR TO THE SECOND COMING
1) The Promise (John 14:2-3)
When the beloved Jesus ministered on the earth during His first coming, He had promised His followers, in the Church, that He would return to Heaven for a while and then come back for His bride. In fact, His exact words were, "In my Fathers house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
Because it had been so long, some in the Church Age had struggled with the fact that Jesus would come back. They knew that He had said He would return but life seemed so normal, therefore, it seemed highly unlikely that He would return in their generation. Yet, as Jesus said in the Book of John, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" (14:18).
2) The Event (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Yes, Jesus came back exactly as it was recorded in the Scriptures. Jesus had told us to, "keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come . . . the Son of Man will come at an hour when you least expect Him" (Matthew 24:42,44).
It was a day that was like many others on the earth. Some Christians were at their jobs busily involved in their assignments; mothers were changing diapers and cleaning the house; in other parts of the world Christians were asleep in their beds. Many young believers were busy in their classrooms at school; some Christians were in prayer meetings at church; and there were the persecuted Christians, around the world, that were being tortured because of their faith in Jesus.
There were even some believers who were involved in acts of sin when their Master returned for them, but everyone in every situation, was taken by utter surprise when suddenly a loud thundering voice was clearly heard from up in the sky. Every Christian on earth instantly looked up and could see the magnificent splendor of our Glorious Savior Jesus Christ. "He was dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash around His chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow . . . His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance" (Revelation 1:13-14,16).
The loud command that we heard was comparable to the time when Jesus called Lazarus from the grave with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" (John 11:43). Jesus called each Christian to come up to Him. At about the same time there was the voice of an archangel and a resounding trumpet call, and then all those who had died believing in Christ, rose from the grave in immortal bodies and ascended up to Jesus. Then in the "twinkling of an eye" all the believers who were alive on earth, suddenly lifted off the earth, to join their Savior and Lord, and were gloriously changed into beautiful immortal bodies.
Then Jesus led us, His resurrected and glorified followers, back to the third heaven. We traveled faster than the speed of light and were in the Fathers House in a moments time.
B. Chaos and Wrath On Earth
1) The Chaos
Our sudden disappearance caused widespread chaos throughout the world, for we were approximately 50,000,000 people in number, not counting the multitude of resurrected saints. Airplanes crashed because essential crew members were missing. Cars were strewn on many freeways for lack of drivers. Husbands were frantically searching for wives who had vanished. Wives too were left waiting for husbands who would not be returning home. Teenagers were searching for parents, and likewise, some parents were also looking for their teen-aged sons and daughters.
Some world leaders were also among the missing, many people speculated that they were abducted by terrorists. In some Communist nations the authorities were furious over the unexplained disappearance of their "religious prisoners." Some churches were left nearly empty and others were full of the "falsely religious," including the pastors, elders and deacons.
2) The Explanation
The world sought answers for the millions of missing persons. Some guessed that it may have been the "Rapture" that some Christians had mentioned would occur some day, but this was quickly discounted by the leading false religions which remained, such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Mormons, and the Jehovah Witnesses, to mention a few. It was then decided that the Christians who had disappeared were the fanatics, the ones who were always talking about Jesus, the Bible, and the need to be Born Again. It was assumed that we had all gathered in giant communes somewhere to pursue our religious zeal.
But while the world was still in a state of shock and chaos, a man arose who offered solutions to the problems, promising "Peace and Safety." He was the one the Bible had said would come somedaythe Antichrist. But soon the world discovered that his peace was only superficial and temporary.
3) The Seal Judgments
The Antichrist was bent on conquering the world. He had easily conquered Europe by deceit and began the conquest of the rest of the nations. But other nations were not so easily overcome and soon a full scale world war broke out, which caused tremendous destruction over the entire globe.
Food supplies became critical because of the many destroyed agricultural areas. The famine was so severe over the world that a man had to work one day just to earn enough money to buy food to feed himself for one day; his family often went hungry. During the war, chemical weapons and germ warfare were utilized causing widespread disease. Even the wild animals were affected and those animals that survived became savage towards men. The casualties resulting from the war, the famine, the plagues and the from the attacks of the wild beasts accounted for the deaths of over one and one-quarter of a billion peopleone-fourth of the earths population (Revelation 6:1-8).
The Antichrist took advantage of the war and gained in power and began to establish a one-world government. He established his own religion and was opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ and engineered one of the greatest persecutions of Christianity the world had ever seen. Many Christians were beheaded because they would not partake in the government sponsored one-world religion (Revelation 6:5-11). Then the wrath of God was again poured out on all the world because of its sin and rebellion against the Holy and True One.
4) The Trumpet Judgments
God sent hail and fire mixed with blood down to the earth. Nuclear war continued and "A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up and all the green grass was burned up" (Revelation 8:7).
As God continued to punish the earth and its people with each new judgment, He also continued to give man the opportunity to repent by allowing a period of time to pass before the next curse. But instead of the unbelievers crying out to God for mercy, they called out to the mountains and the rocks, saying, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the lamb" (Revelation 6:16).
Jesus then turned one-third of the seas into literal blood, killing one-third of the sea creatures. He also caused one-third of the ships to be destroyed. Then His judgment fell on a third of the rivers and springs of waters, causing them to become polluted and many more people died (Revelation 8:10-11). After a period of time, Jesus reduced the hours of sunlight and moonlight by one-third, and even caused a third of the stars to turn dark (Revelation 8:12). Crops all over the world soon died because of the sudden imbalance between night and day.
Life on earth had become very difficult. Rampant stealing, murder, rape and sexual immoralities were common occurrences as law and order began to breakdown. Still man did not turn to God but continued to openly worship demons (Revelation 9:20-21). Fittingly, Jesus then ordered the "Bottomless Pit" to be opened, which allowed millions of wicked demons to infest the world. This judgment was so severe that men and women tried to commit suicide, but God would not let them die (Revelation 9:1-6).
Then the armies from the East began to march across the land to Israel, to engage in the final battle of the world"Armageddon." The army slaughtered over one billion people while enroute to Israel (Revelation 9:13-18). At this point over one-half of the worlds total population had been destroyed.
5) The Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:1-13)
Our Most Beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, continued to show mercy in the midst of His wrath when He sent two prophets to the earth to powerfully declare the truths of the gospel. For three and one-half years these two brothers preached the Good News of salvation through Christ. They also inflicted severe plagues and droughts upon the earth as part of Gods judgments. Fire destroyed anyone who attempted to take their lives.
Finally, God allowed the two witnesses to be killed and the people of the earth were so pleased that they had worldwide celebrations and sent gifts to one another. They left the dead bodies of these two saints lying in the streets of Jerusalem, refusing them burial. The entire world watched the bodies on Satellite TV for three and one-half days. Then Our Sweet and Precious Savior raised them to life and caused them to ascend up through the heavens, in full view of a watching world. Suddenly an earthquake "hit" Jerusalem and one-tenth of the city collapsed.
6) The Bowl Judgments
Now, the worlds dictator, the Antichrist, demanded that he and an image of himself, be worshipped as god by all men. He was aided by one who could perform many signs and wonders through the power of the devil. Because of this satanic power he deceived most people on earth, and ordered that no one could buy or sell, any item, unless they had the "Mark of the Antichrist" on their forehead or their right-hand. It was also decreed that anyone refusing to worship the Antichrist would be killed (Revelation 13). Many dear brothers and sisters in Christ were beheaded because they would not worship the Antichrist or his image and refused to receive his mark on their foreheads or their hands (Revelation 20:4).
God too had a mark, but only for the followers of the Antichrist, "ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshipped his image" (Revelation 16:2). God also gave men blood to drink! Because the world had shed the blood of Gods saints and prophets throughout history, Jesus turned the oceans, the rivers, and the springs of water into real blood, which killed every living thing in the waters. (Revelation 16:3-7).
The world was staggering under the weight of all of Gods judgments, yet men and women still refused to repent and glorify God. God then caused the sun to scorch the earth and its people with intense heat. This judgment was quickly followed by total darkness, and men and women, "gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of their sins" (Revelation 16:8-11).
God then sent his final judgment upon the earth. This was the most severe yet. A violent earthquake occurred that was so strong that all the cities of the nations collapsed. New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Copenhagen, Cairo, Rome, Paris, Moscow, Tokyoyes, every city of the world was destroyed by the earthquake! Coupled with this was a terrible hailstorm that dropped huge hailstones weighing about a hundred pounds each. What was mans response? It was to curse God because the plague was so terrible (Revelation 16:17-21).
Chaos reigned on the earth. The food supply had all but disappeared, there was only blood to drink, and most of mankind was without shelter. The only organizations that had any structure left were the armies that were fighting outside of Jerusalem at the Battle of Armageddon. The earth was enclosed in utter darkness for the sun no longer shone and the stars had disappeared. It was cold and only the light and heat of weapons exploding jarred the terror of the continuous night (Matthew 24:29).
III. SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
While the earth was cloaked in darkness and terror, there was light and bliss up in the third heaven. The redeemed of God had been there in their glorified bodies for seven years. They were living in their Fathers house, which is the New Jerusalem, the vast city of beauty and light. Each saint has his own room, designed and decorated by his God and LordJesus Christ.
One day, there suddenly appeared something very unusual in heaven: horses, white horses came silently and stately down the golden streets. There were millions of them and each horse seemed to know exactly where he was to go, for one white horse stopped by each room of the redeemed. The saints joyfully mounted their horses and all rode to the gates of the city. The horses and riders rode out through the pearly gates and all gathered in columns outside the city. Then Jesus joined the army of saints, riding on His own white horse.
On His head were many crowns and He was clothed in a robe which had His name written on it: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. All of the saints and the chorus of angels sang praise unto His Name. He looked at the redeemed with a deep love in His eyes and said, "Follow Me." Although there were millions upon millions of saints on white horses and all following Jesus, each believer could see Jesus. It was as if each was riding right next to Him! This is the way it is in heaven, for although there is only one Jesus and He is in bodily form, He seems to be visible and accessible to everyone at once.
It was so wonderful that Our Precious Lord Jesus would allow His saints to be a part of that moment in history. Jesus was assembling His army to conquer the earth. In His army were the Holy Angels and all those who had hungered and thirsted for righteousness. There was Moses, Joseph, David, Bathsheba, Rahab, Peter, James, John, Mary, Martha, and Paul. I could see John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, John MacArthur, and many other great men and women of God.
But there was also great joy in seeing those in the Lords army, who were formerly wicked sinners, such as former homosexuals, former murderers, former fornicators and former liars. Everyone who had been redeemed and restored were sitting on their horses, dressed in pure white fine linen, because of the cleansing power of the Blood of Jesus Christ. There were even those who had never walked on the earth because they were murdered by the act of abortion, and they too were sitting pure from the original sin of Adam because of the Cross of Calvary. What an incredible sight it was!
As we rode out we traveled faster than the speed of light and suddenly as Jesus turned His eyes to the earth they changed, becoming like blazing fire. We could then see the planet earth, but the darkened sun did not illumine it; it was the light of Jesus as He emanated a brilliant radiance (Revelation 19:11). Then fire began to appear all around us, along with loud thundering sounds and blinding flashes of lightning.
A. Rider on White Horse (Revelation 19:11-16)
On earth, those fighting in the darkness of Armageddon were suddenly blinded by the light of Jesus Christ and His army. In an instant the Lord Almighty came with, "thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire" (Isaiah 29:5-6).
It was Isaiah who prophesied, "see, the Lord is coming with fire, and His chariots are like a whirlwind; He will bring down His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire and with His sword the Lord will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by the Lord" (Isaiah 66:15-16).
B. Return to the Earth
1) Response of Those on the Earth
Every eye on earth saw Jesus return and mankind began to mourn for their own lives, knowing that the hour of judgment had come (Matthew 24:30). They fled, "to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from the dread of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty" (Isaiah 2:19).
2) Standing on Mount of Olives
Jesus Christ, the King of the Earth, dismounted from His White Horse directly upon the Mount of Olives. As soon as His feet touched the mountain it split in two, exactly as prophesied in Zechariah 14, "His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south" (v. 4). When the mountain split it created a large valley which was called the Valley of Decision (Joel 3:14).
C. Judgment of Earthly Wicked
1) Armies Set to Attack Christ
Then the Antichrist and "the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and His army" (Revelation 19:19). It seemed incredible that those who were fighting on the earth could be confronted with the supernatural return of Jesus Christ from heaven, and yet turn their weapons on the Savior and His army as if God could be destroyed.
2) Beast, False Prophet, and Armies Judged
But before they could fire one weapon, the Lord struck them with great fear and a plague, that caused their flesh, their eyes, and their tongues, to decompose while they were still standing on their feet. This caused great panic and some soldiers attacked and killed one another (Zechariah 14:12-13). The Antichrist and the false prophet were then captured and thrown alive into the fiery Lake of Burning Sulfur. Then the rest of the wicked army was killed by the command of Jesus. Their flesh was given as food, to be eaten by the birds of the air (Revelation 19:21).
D. Chaining of Satan
While the birds gorged themselves on the defeated armies, Satan was captured, bound with a chain and locked away for 1,000 years. The place of his torment is the "Abyss," which is defined as the "bottomless pit." The demons were also locked up with Satan, just as Isaiah had revealed would happen when the Lord returned, saying "In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above . . . They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison" (Isaiah 24:21-22).
E. The Judgment of the Living
Then all of the remaining people, the noncombatants of the earth, were transported to the Valley of Decision where Jesus judged them. He sat on a throne in all of His heavenly glory and separated the people one from another, placing the Christians on His right and the unbelievers on His left (Matthew 25:31-33).
Then King Jesus said to the Christians on His right, "Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world" (Matthew 25:34). The kingdom He gave to them was the Millennial Kingdom that was about to begin.
Then the King said to those on His left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41). "Then the unbelievers went away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life" (Matthew 25:46).
F. Thousand Years
There was a 75-day transition period, after the battle ended, before the 1,000 year reign of the Lord began [Daniel 12:11-12]. In fact, it took seven full months just to bury the remains of the dead. Those who lived in the towns of Israel went out and use the weapons, from the war, for fuel and burned them up. They used them for fuel for seven years. [Ezekiel 39:9]
1) Earth is Restored to Beauty
Jesus began to remove the curse of sin from the earth. The earth was restored, every valley was raised up, every mountain and hill was made low, and the rough ground became level, the rugged places became a plain (Isaiah 40:4). Mt. Zion was established as the chief among the mountains; it was raised above the hills (Isaiah 2:2). The desert regions were covered with many pools of waters from the new rivers and springs. Jesus set beautiful trees everywhere. There were pines, firs, cedars, olives, and many other kinds of trees (Isaiah 41:18-19). Beautiful flowers burst in bloom, just like the crocus, all over the earth (Isaiah 35:1-2), and every land was fertile and cultivated (Ezekiel 36:36).
2) A Kingdom of Light
The Millennium was truly a kingdom of light. The moon was as bright as the original premillennial sun and the sunlight of the kingdom was seven times brighter than before, like the light of seven full days (Isaiah 30:26). The night of the Millennium was as bright as the old noonday sun.
3) The Inhabitants of the Kingdom
Now, the only people that were left alive in the Millennium were the believing Gentiles and Jews. The entire world consisted of Christians with Jesus Christ reigning as the King of the earth. But there were also young unsaved children who were under the age of accountability, who could still choose to reject the gospel. And the adult Christians had many children born during the Millennium, who like all children since Cain and Able, were born into the world as sinners.
The children living in the Kingdom all needed salvation, but they were given plenty of opportunities to hear the gospel, for their parents were Christians, Jesus Christ was visibly on the earth as King, and there were a multitude of immortal, glorified saints ruling and reigning with Our Master Jesus Christ.
4) Life in the Kingdom
a) Long Life
Most mortals who lived on the earth during the Millennium lived out their years (Isaiah 65:20). Their life spans were like those who lived in the days, prior to the Flood when, for example, Methuselah lived for 969 years! Those born at the beginning of the Millennium lived for 1,000 years.
b) Death in the Kingdom
Yet, there was death in the glorious Kingdom of Light, just as the Bible had revealed to us in the Book of Isaiah, "he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth . . . and he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed [condemned to Hell]" (Isaiah 65:20). Jesus gave children 100 years to make a decision for Him, and at that point, if they remained in unbelief, Jesus took their lives in judgment.
c) Peace on Earth
The earth was a place of great peace and safety just as God had declared in the Book of Isaiah, "They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9).
Jesus was enthroned in His headquarters in Jerusalem; the law went out from Zion; the Word of the Lord went from Jerusalem. He judged between the nations and settled disputes for many peoples. The nations recycled their weapons of war into farming equipment. Nation did not take up sword against nation, nor did they train for war anymore (Isaiah 2:3-4).
d) Peace in the Animal Kingdom
Truly, peace reigned everywhere, even in the animal kingdom. The lion did lie down with the lamb. The wolf and the lamb fed together, and the lion ate straw like an ox (Isaiah 65:25). The wolf lived with the lamb, the leopard laid down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the colt were together; and little children led them around. The cow ate with the bear and the young calves and the cubs laid down together (Isaiah 11:6-7). Infants played near the holes of cobras, and young children put their hands into the nests of vipers to play with them (Isaiah 11:8).
Life in the Kingdom was indeed very blissful and we, the immortal redeemed, were there assisting Our Savior in His rule. We were daily interacting with the mortals and enjoyed with them this time of true peace on earth.
G. Satans Doom
At the end of the one thousand year Kingdom, Jesus ordered Satan to be released from prison. Immediately the devil went out to deceive the nations, to make them war against Jesus and His people. Satan actually got an attacking force of young people (less than 100 years of age) to surround the city of Jerusalem, but fire came down from heaven and devoured them. Satan was then thrown into the Lake of Burning Sulfur, his final resting place, to be tormented for ever and ever (Revelation 20:7-11). The devil was never to be seen or heard of again: he would never again trouble Gods people. Amen.
H. The Total Destruction of Heaven and Earth
Immediately following this judgment of Satan, Jesus then removed all the mortal believers from the earth. They were translated into their glorified bodies and given their rooms in the Fathers House. He then raised from the graves "the rest of the Dead" (Revelation 20:5). These were those who had died throughout the ages of time and had failed to believe Gods Word for salvation. Their spirits had been suffering in the torments of hell since the day of their deaths, awaiting the day of final judgment. Then God destroyed the earth and the heavens by fire. The heavens disappeared with an explosive thundering sound; the elements were destroyed by fire, melting in the intense heat (2 Pet 3:10-12).
I. Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).
It was now time for God to judge the sins of all the generations of unsaved people. God brought them to stand before His Great White Throne for judgment by Jesus Christ, who was seated there. Each person was judged according to what he had done in his life as was recorded in the books. These deeds were compared with Gods perfect Word as He had revealed it to each generation in the Scriptures.
The judgment was simple. The standard by which one could enter into heaven was a life on earth without one recorded sin. One sin would result in the eternal judgment of the Lake of Burning Sulfur; and any additional sins would increase the amount of torment and agony he would eternally receive. As each person was brought before the Judge, their sins were revealed. Then the Lambs Book of Life was opened to see if the person had allowed Jesus to pay for their sins. None were found to have trusted Jesus for salvation. Therefore, each unbeliever was found guilty and then thrown into the Lake of Fire to be tormented for ever and ever (Revelation 20:11-15).
As we, the redeemed, watched we knew that we too had sinned in our own earthly lives, but we remembered that at the Cross of Calvary all of our sins were charged to the account of the sinless one, Jesus Christ. Because He took our sins upon Himself our books of sins contained nothing but pure, white, blank pages, washed clean by the Blood of Jesus Christ.
No one could ever find fault with Jesus Christ, at the Great White Throne Judgment, for not showing mercy; for even as He sentenced the unsaved to torment, and threw them into the Lake of Fire, one could clearly see the sacrificial scars on the hands of Jesus and on His feet from the nails of crucifixion and see the scar in His side from the Romans spear. Jesus offered mercy to everyone when they were on earth, and for those who desired to remain in their sins and thereby refused His mercy, to them, He could only give His wrath.
After the Great White Throne Judgment, only the Trinity, the angels, and the redeemed saints remained in Heaven. The old earth and heavens had been destroyed and all those who had rejected Christ were forever sealed in the torments and agonies of the Lake of Fire. Jesus then created a new heaven and a new earth and brought "the Fathers House," the New Jerusalem, down from the Third Heaven and placed it on the new earth. Then God Himself came down to earth to live forever with redeemed man (Revelation 21:1-3).
Life in the Eternal State is perfect. There is no more death, no more mourning, no more crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). But the most magnificent sight in Eternity is the Precious Lord Jesus Christ. His beauty is without equal and His love for each believer is never ending. We never tire of worshipping and serving Jesus and learning more about Him.
We have heard the record of Gods future accomplishments. As we now step backward in time to the present, the scenario I have just painted has not yet occurred. But the Scriptures are clear that it will indeed happen, with perhaps some slight changes from this chronology. It only awaits the Rapture of the Church to set it all in motion. And the Bible indicates that this event could happen at any moment. What should be our response to these truths of Scripture? What should we do from now until the Rapture?
A. If you are Unsaved
If you are not saved then seek salvation today. There are no salvation opportunities after our moment of death. The Bible declares that, man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Jesus Christ has revealed these truths to warn you of the tribulations to come. He wants to cleanse you of your sins and receive you into His Kingdom. Repent of your sins; Believe that Jesus is the One He claimed to be: God in human flesh and the only way of salvation; Confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, submitting your life to His authority, and receive His glorious free gift of salvation.
B. If you are Saved
1) Renewed Desire to Serve Jesus
For those of us who are saved, we should feel humbled that God would love us and save us from the wrath that our sins deserve. He will give us a new and glorious body, a room in the Fathers House, and an eternal, blissful future. We should renew our dedication to Him and strive to serve Him with all our heart, soul, and strength.
2) Renewed Compassion for the Lost
Let us show compassion for the lost. We have just seen what awaits the unbeliever when Jesus returns to the earth. And those judgments, as terrible as they are, are nothing compared to the endless torment and agony of the eternal Fiery Lake of Burning Sulfur.
We must attempt, by the power of the Holy Spirit within us, to live holy lives before our lost families, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. We are their only hope, for if they do not see Jesus Christ in us, then they will not see Jesus at all. This will cost us, for we must be different than the world in order to stand out as light.
C. Final Thoughts
Jesus is coming back for us soon with the Rapture, at an hour when we least expect Him. Once we are gone the horrors of the tribulation period will be unleashed. Many of our loved ones, friends and acquaintances would be left behind to face Gods wrath if Jesus came for us today. He has privileged us to know the future and to play integral parts in His plan. May we do all that we can by the power of the Holy Spirit to help those around us who are lost to share in the wondrous salvation we possess. Amen.