Apocalypse Now??? An “End Times” Guide

End Times 1

In light of the most recent apocalyptic predictions connected to the Mayan Calendar, I thought today (December 21, 2012) would be a good day to provide a brief guide to the “End Times” Prophecies and Promises that are scattered throughout The Bible.  Because there is SO MUCH about the future that we will only be able to understand clearly as we walk through it, this Post is designed to provide a basic framework for the “big events” that will occur sometime during the End Times.  Some of these events and key players actually overlap each other, but this will hopefully give you a solid foundation to stand upon in your own understanding of the End Times and as you try to answer questions that others will ask you.  Any differences we may have within Christian denominations on some of these events, I pray that the Lordship of Christ will bind us with His Peace.

2 Basic Promises about the End Times:

No one knows when the End will come, but God alone.  ~  Mark 13:32

The End won’t come until the Gospel of Jesus has spread to all the nations of the Earth.  ~  Matthew 24:14

1.)  The Antichrist will make his appearance and gain power

–  A leader will rise to power, gaining influence over many nations.  Most of the world will be deceived by him, bringing down the judgment of God in the forms of famines, wars, and earthquakes.  Christians will be persecuted and killed for holding on to their faith.  Astonishing “cosmic signs” will be visible in the skies (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-12).

–  The Antichrist will stand in the Holy Place (probably a Jerusalem temple) and declare himself to the world as “God”.  This brings a swift backlash as most nations then see him for what he truly is (Daniel 9: 25-27, 11:31, Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14, Revelation 13: 1-15).

–  With the help of those faithful to him, the Antichrist begins a massive war against those who resist his rule.  This battle is often referred to as “Armageddon” (Revelation 11: 36-45, 16:16).

2.)  The False Prophet will support the Antichrist

–  A popular “religious” figure will verbally endorse the Antichrist as the true Messiah/Savior, demonstrating powerful miracles and speaking very persuasively (Revelation 13: 11-18).  He will also endorse the policy of all people taking a mark to swear allegiance to the Antichrist.  This “mark of the Beast” is symbolically referred to as “666”, but that will probably will not be the actual thing that is marked upon the hand or foreheads of those who receive it. No one can be forced into taking the mark or can take it accidentally.  It will be obvious to everyone that taking this mark means abandoning all faith in God.  Refusing to take it may bring extreme persecution or death, but taking it has eternal consequences.  Those who take this mark punch their own ticket to Hell (Revelation 14: 9-12).

3.)  Two Witnesses/Prophets will stand against the Antichrist

–  These holy men will refuse to abandon their faith.  The whole world will watch in amazement as they continuously preach, ignoring possible death for their disloyalty to the Antichrist.  Eventually, they are publicly executed; but are resurrected shortly afterwards.  Some identify these men as the “2nd coming” of Elijah and Moses (or Elijah and Enoch); but The Bible doesn’t explicitly claim this (Revelation 11: 3-12).

4.)  Rapture of the Faithful  (Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 4: 13-18; Revelation 11:2, 13:5)

144,000 who are rescued/honored for their faith  (Revelation 7: 1-8, 14: 1-5)

–  One of the hardest parts of the The Bible to interpret involves what is called the “Rapture.”  In the general, this means that sometime during the End Times Jesus will rescue those who are faithful to Him on Earth and gather them up to Heaven with Him.  This could happen before, during, or after the severe persecution of the faithful which will be spearheaded by the Antichrist.  The point:  God will honor those faithful to Him, either in this lifer or in the eternal life that is yet to come.  An important thing to remember… people can still receive salvation through faith in Christ after the Rapture takes place!

5.)  Jesus, the Archangel Michael, the other angels defeat Satan, his demons, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet  (Daniel 12: 1-4; Revelation 12: 7-9, 19: 11-21)

–  Jesus Christ, himself, shows up to put an end to the reign of the Antichrist on Earth.  Michael and the angels defeat Satan and his demons.  They are all cast down into the “Abyss” (a Hell-like holding chamber) for a period of “1,000 years.”  This will be an incredibly violent fight which is referred to in the Old Testament as “The Day of The Lord” (Ezekiel 38: 17-23; Joel 2: 1-11, 28-32; Amos 5: 18-20; Zephaniah 1: 14-18).

6.)  The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ  (Revelation 20: 1-10)

–  After the Antichrist, False Prophet, Satan, and his demons are locked up in The Abyss; Jesus will reign on Earth for a period of a “1,000 years.”  Because of the symbolism that is used so frequently in Revelation, it is unclear as to whether this will be a literal thousand-year reign, or if it just refers to a long time.  Like the Rapture, many can sadly get into pointless debates about the unknown details of the Millennium and miss the “big picture” of things.  This time period will be a time of peace that has never before been seen on Earth, yet sin and rebellion will live on in the hearts of those people that choose to not give their allegiance to the King of Kings.  After the Millennium, Satan will be released from The Abyss and will form an alliance with all the humans who refuse to submit to Lordship of Christ.  This last rebellion will be put down by Jesus and then…..

7.)  Judgment Day and Hell  (Revelation 20: 11-15)

–  At this point, all humans who have ever lived will stand trial before God for “Judgment Day.”

[This is one way I use to describe the main points of this “trial”]

Two Big Questions will be asked of us:

#1… “What did you do with my Son?”  The answer to this question determines where you will spend Eternity (Heaven or Hell).

#2… “What did you do with your life?”  Whether saved or not, every individual has been given the ability and opportunity to do good works that honor God and serve others during our lifetime.  How much we do (or don’t do) with the time we have been given on Earth will determine how we spend our eternity (Matthew 25: 14-46).  Not everyone experiences Heaven or Hell the same way.  Based on our good deeds/works, there are different degrees of punishment for those in Hell and different degrees of reward for those in Heaven.  As a popular saying goes, “Hell doesn’t get any better, just worse.  Heaven doesn’t get any worse, just better.”

After Judgment Day, the unsaved go to the “Lake of Fire,” that was originally designed for Satan and his demons; but is the only place those apart from saving faith in God can go after death.

8.)  The New Heaven and Earth  (Revelation 7: 15-17; 21; 22: 1-6)

–  After Judgment Day, the saved go into the presence of God.  Sin, pain, and death are destroyed.  Like in Eden, God again dwells among His people in the “New Jerusalem.”  The heavenly city is described as the centerpiece of things, representing the restoration of community humans will have with God and each other….and with creation as a whole.  Let the party begin! 🙂

Published in: on December 21, 2012 at 12:01 AM  Leave a Comment  
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