How does the world end?
We are currently in “The Last Days” as described in 2 Timothy 3:1 “But know this, that in the last days difficult times will come.”
The below sequence describes the times and seasons of “the day of the Lord” which begins with the Rapture and continues onto the creation of the New Heavens and New Earth.
This is how man’s world ends and how God’s world continues.
The Bible describes the next events on God’s calendar, when believers will be “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air, as the Rapture.
(Note: “rapture” is simply from the Latin word “rapturo” or “caught up” and is not in the Bible per se (fear not, the word “trinity” is also not in the Bible but is nonetheless true – you can read about that here).
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 “According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 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. Therefore encourage one another with these words.“
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “Behold, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will all be changes, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.”
John 14:2-3 “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that 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.”
Titus 2:13 “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Although “the Lord Himself will come down from heaven” there is no indication that the world will see Him, in fact, according to 1 Corinthians 15:52 it will be “in the twinkling of an eye.” This is also known as the Revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:7). You should notice in these verses, that those believers who have previously died, and those alive, will be caught up to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air. We will also, at that time, receive our glorified bodies (1 John 3:2). Also, we are to be encouraged with these words. Other passages, especially 2 Peter 2:9 state “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials.” The trial in this situation is the Tribulation, discussed below.
Bema Judgment and Marriage Feast of the Lamb
Immediately after the Rapture, the church will participate in the Bema judgment. “Judgment seat” in 2 Corinthians 5:10 is from the Greek word “bema” and pertains to the elevated platform where athletes received their rewards. Believers are not judged for sin as Christ has already paid for our sins. Our good deeds, done as believers, and with the proper motivation will be rewarded, while worthless deeds will be burned up.
1 Cor 3:12-15 “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident, for the day will indicate it because it is revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work..remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
2 Cor 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
Matt 16:27 “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay each one according to his deeds.”
Eph 6:8 “knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord…”
Rev 22:12 “behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
Additionally, the saints will begin preparation for an extended marriage celebration alluded to in Matthew 22:1-14 known as the Marriage Feast or Supper of the Lamb. Christ the Lamb is the Bride Groom, and the believers, the church, will be His Bride.
The Hebrew wedding consisted of three phases: (1) Betrothal – 2 Corinthians 11:2 is the believer’s betrothal, (2) Presentation or festivities preceding the wedding ceremony, which 1 Thessalonians 4:17 speak of, and (3) the Ceremony throughout the 1,000 year Millenium which is in Revelation 19:7-9.
Revelation 19:7-9 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready…arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘write Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb…’”
The Great Tribulation
Meanwhile, back on earth…
Immediately after the removal of the Church from the earth in the Rapture, God will begin to pour out three series of seven judgments each, known as Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls, upon the unbelieving world for a period of seven years, increasing in speed and intensity.
Daniel 12:1 “…there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time…”.
Jer 30:7 “…it is the time of Jacob’s trouble…”.
2 Thess 2:7-12 “…that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth…the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders…for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged…”.
Revelation 16:1 “Then I heard a loud voice…saying…”Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”
The Great Tribulation will be a time of judgment from God upon the unsaved world. It will also be a time of great salvation as 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Rev 7:4), three angels in the air (Rev 14:6), and the Two Witnesses (Rev 11:3) preach the gospel of Salvation. Many will be saved and many martyred (Rev 6:9). Those who survive will enter the Millenium as living believers.
The Second Coming, Armageddon, and the Millennial Reign
At the end of the tribulation period, Christ returns to earth again – this is the Second Coming, and contrary to the coming for the Rapture, the whole world will see Christ. This time instead of just coming in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18) to retrieve the saints, He will come on a white horse and will be with His armies, who also are on white horses. This army includes the angels and all the saints in Heaven. He will overcome and remove Satan, the AntiChrist, and the False Prophet at the Battle of Armageddon, and will bind Satan to establish a Thousand-Year Reign known as the Millennium.
Revelation 19:11-21 – 20:2 “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sits on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war…and the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations…and He treads the wine press of the wrath of the rage of God the Almighty…Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven ‘Come, assemble for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings…and all men…small and great.’Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war with Him who sits on the horse and with His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet...and those who worshiped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire…and the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sits on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having a key of the abyss…and he laid hold of the dragon…who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years…”
This begins the Millennial Reign, where Isaiah describes the living conditions.
Isaiah 18:6-9 “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the vieper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy…”
Those who become believers during the Tribulation period, including the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, who were sealed and thus protected (Rev 7:4), marry, have children, and live long lives. In spite of the peace, safety, and even presence of Jesus Christ, at the end of the Millennium, many will still reject Jesus and align with Satan, who is freed for a brief time, for one last fruitless rebellion against Jesus Christ.
Revelation 20:1-10 “…an angel…laid hold of…Satan, and bound him for a thousand years…and when the thousand years are finished, Satan will be released from his prision, and will come out to deceive the nations…and they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil… was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone…and will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
The Great White Throne Judgment – Sheep and Goats
After Satan is thrown into the lake of fire, Jesus and the Saints, who are joint heirs, will judge both non-believers and fallen angels.
Revelation 20:11-15 “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sits upon it…the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened;…and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds…and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of Fire…and if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
John 5:22 “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,”
1 Cor 6:2-3 “do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world?…Do you not know that we will judge angels?
The Lake of Fire, New Heavens, and New Earth
Currently, hell, heaven, and the earth are transitory places. Hell is replaced by the Lake of Fire and New Heavens and New Earth will replace Heaven and Earth.
2 Peter 3:10-13 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, …But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”
1 Thessalonians 5:12 states “Now concerning the times and the seasons...the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.” Subsequent verses go on to describe the rapture of the saints. It should be emphasized that the Rapture of the saints is not “the day of the Lord”, it is the start of “the day of the Lord.” This verse queues up the day of the Lord with “times and seasons” – both plural. We should contrast the “day of men,” to which we are currently in, to the “day of the Lord” which begins with the rapture and continues onto and beyond the creation of the Lake of Fire, New Heavens, and New Earth. In other words, what has been sequenced above is “the day of the Lord.”
How does the world respond to the above truths of the Word of God? As you would expect, with disbelief and even mocking.
2 Peter 3:3-6 “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue just as they were from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed by being flooded with water.”
But, we know the truth – come quickly Lord Jesus – Maranatha.
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