What the Bible says about the days to come
Eschatology is the study of the happenings of the end times. Many who write or teach on this subject focus either on The Rapture, the battle of Armageddon or the last half of the tribulation period often referred to as The Great Tribulation. Certainly all are worthy subjects to investigate, but what about events that precede the proximate starting point for the 7 year tribulation period? Does the Bible provide information regarding what believers can expect in the last of the last days (referred to in Matthew 24 as the time of the Birth Pains?). The answer is Yes. This teaching is designed to provide insight regarding what will happen before the prophecies in the book of Revelation begin to be fulfilled.
A LISTING OF A FEW PROPHECIES
PROPHECIES CONCERNING THIS (THE CHURCH) AGE:
- The Church will be established with Christ as the cornerstone: (Matthew 16:18 / 1 Peter 2:6).
- The Gospel will be preached to the entire world: “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.” Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20.
- False prophets will come: (2 Peter 2:1-2)
- Violence will increase: The earth will be filled with violence (Luke 17:26; Genesis 6:11-13). In the United States alone, violent crime has increased nearly 500% since 1960. Fifty years ago abortion was illegal in most countries. Today abortion is legal in many countries and 46 million children are aborted (globally) each year.
- Knowledge will increase:This is not a reference to technological, scientific or medical advances, it is a reference to an increase in understanding of Scripture and prophetic references (Daniel 12:4).
- Disease will increase(pestilences) will increase (Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6:8).
- There will be “signs” and “wonders” in the heavens”(Luke 21:11, 26). These may include (but not be limited to) red or blood moons, solar eclipses, comets, unusual sun activity, unusual weather, celestial formations (such as in Revelation 12), etc.
- Famines will increase (Luke 21:11; Revelation 6:5-8).
- All surrounding nations will be united against Israel (Psalm 83:4-8; Zechariah 12:2). Today, Israel is surrounded by hostile nations and finds little support in the United Nations organization.
- Jerusalem will be a ‘burdensome stone’ and ‘cup of trembling’ (Zechariah 12:2-3).
- Jerusalem is given by God to the Jews (Zech. 12:3): Almost daily the world news reports on the conflict over Jerusalem. The United Nations, the Vatican, and many world leaders want to make it an international city. The Arab world wants to make it a new capital city for the Palestinians. However, God says that the city is His and He has given it to the Jews forever (Gen. 15:18; Lev. 25:23; 2 Chron. 6:6). All who burden themselves with it will be “cut in pieces.” Despite God’s warning, UN resolution 476 reiterates that Israel’s claims to Jerusalem are null and void.
- The destruction of Damascus: Damascus will be destroyed (Isaiah 17:1, 14; Jeremiah 49:23-27; Amos 1:3-5; Zechariah 9:1-8). Currently Damascus is the capital of Syria, and Syria is hostile to Israel and heavily supported by Russia and Iran.
- Great earthquakes: There will be an increase in higher magnitude earthquakes “in diverse” (unusual) places (Luke 21:11; Isaiah 24:19-20; Revelation 6:12-14;16:18-20).
- Narcissism: Humanity will become increasingly materialistic, selfish and lovers of pleasure (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
- A lack of respect for authority: Youth will become increasingly rebellious (2 Timothy 3:2-3; Mark 13:12).
- Persecution: Jesus said Christians will be hated for His name’s sake (Luke 21:17; Revelation 6:9-11; 20:4).
- Homosexuality will be accepted and commended. Jesus warned that the last days would be like the days of Lot (Luke 17:28-30).
- Apostasy in the church: Apostasy will occur before the Antichrist is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Increasingly, experience-based “Christianity” is replacing the Bible as the standard for saving faith. The ecumenical movement is striving for unity at the expense of truth. Christ’s absolutes are rejected in the name of tolerance. There will be a move towards a one-world religion (Rev. 13, 17).
TRIBULATION PERIOD PROPHECIES
Note: the following prophecies are not presented in chronological order:
- Israel will enter into a peace treaty: The Antichrist will impose a “covenant with the many” which will include Israel (Daniel 9:27; 8:23-25). It is this ‘covenant’ that initiates the 7 year tribulation period.
- A global economic system will exist (Revelation 13:16-17).
- Israel will dwell without walls prior to the invasion from the north (Ezekiel 38:8-11). The sense of security is likely, in large part, the result of the peace covenant noted above. The invasion of the north will likely come after the mid-point of the tribulation period.
- The third Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem: Daniel, Jesus, Paul, and John refer to a temple being in Jerusalem in the last days. This is referenced in Dan. 9:27; 12:11; Mark 13:14; 2 Thess. 2:4; and Rev. 11:1-2. Note: Plans for the completion of the new Temple are complete.
- Temple sacrifices will be reinstituted in Israel in the last days (Daniel 9:27; 12:11).
- Temple sacrifices will be forbidden: At the mid-point of the tribulation period, the Antichrist will seize control of the Temple, end the daily sacrifices and proclaim himself to be God. (Rev. 13).
- Believers sealed by the Spirit: 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel (very likely a symbolic number representing a large and perfect number of believers) will be sealed by the Holy Spirit and used of God to evangelize the world (Rev. 7). Along with these sealed witness will come two great prophets (Rev. 11:3-14). These prophets/witnesses will preach with power for 31/2 years, and then be put to death. Their deaths will be celebrated by many. Their bodies will lie in the street for three days, after which they will be resurrected and taken into heaven.
- Revival: During the tribulation many will turn to Jesus and be saved (Revelation 7:9-17; Daniel 12:10; Zechariah 2:11; Isaiah 19:16-25).
- Earthquakes: Great earthquakes will shake the world during the tribulation period (Rev. 6:12, 8:5, 11:13, 16:18, etc.).
- Vegetation decimated: Revelation 8:7 notes that the first trumpet judgment will bring about the destruction of 1/3 of all vegetation.
- Meteor or Comet falls into the sea: Revelation 8:8-9 notes that the second trumpet judgment facilitates something falling into the sea—destroying 1/3 of life.
- Wormwood: Similar to the second trumpet judgment, the third trumpet judgment facilitates something falling to the earth which causes fresh water to turn bitter—resulting in the death of many.
- Reduction of light: The fourth trumpet judgment brings about a reduction of light (from the sun, moon and starts) by 1/3.
- Tormenting creatures: The fifth trumpet judgment is associated with the coming of scorpion-like creatures coming from the demon world. These creatures torment humanity but not unto death.Some suggest that these creatures will not be able to torment believers in Jesus Christ.
- Forced worship of the Antichrist: 2 Thess. 2 and Revelation 13 note that the Beast will force all to worship the Antichrist. Failure to do so will result in death. Proof of allegiance to the Antichrist will include receiving a mark on one’s hand or forehead.
- Sores on those who receive the mark: Revelation 16:1-2 notes that those who accepted the mark of the Beast, signifying their worship of him, will contract painful sores on their body.
- Refuge: Ancient Petra (located in Jordan) will become the refuge for believers (Isa. 16:1-4; Matt, 24:16; Rev. 12:6, 14).
- A great army from the east: The sixth trumpet announces the coming of a great army from the east (two hundred million men). This army advances toward Israel, and leaves devastation in its wake. (Rev. 9:13)
- The Euphrates River blocked or dried-up: (Rev. 16:12).
- The Antichrist wounded: Revelation 13 notes that the Antichrist will apparently suffer a fatal wound to the head, but will recover to the amazement of many—a happening that serves to increase his power and following.
- The Woman Who Rides The Beast: Revelation 17 notes the judgment on this woman—also called the Whore of Babylon. Please see 40-45 of this booklet for additional information on this woman.
- Life in the sea dies: Revelation 16:3 notes the remaining life in the sea dies as the second vial of judgment is poured out and the oceans become as blood. The third vial of judgment brings about the death of life in the rivers (Revelation 16:4).
- Scorching heat: The fourth vial of judgment is associated with scorching heat.
- Darkness: The fifth vial of judgment is associated with an unusual darkness and painful maladies (Revelation 16:10-11).
- War: There will be a series of wars—collectively referred to as the battle of Armageddon.
- Victory: At the last moment, when Israel is surrounded by her enemies, God will intervene, and the enemy will be vanquished, bound and thrown into the pit. Jesus Christ will come and begin His millennial reign, after which Satan will be released and after one last attempt to rise up against the things of God. After this last battle he and all of creation will be judged and sent to their eternal homes—to heaven or to hell (Rev. 19-21).