A Study Of The End Times According To Scripture
by: Dave Ercegovic
Biblical Prophecy - that is what we are about to study. But just what does this word mean? It is quite simply the study of things to come according to scripture.
How are we to approach this study and this presentation? Well scripture tells us that too. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 states: "...Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil." And again in Acts 17:11: "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day the see if what Paul said was true." So if the Bereans tested the great apostle Paul, and it was written in scripture that they were "of noble character", it is even more important that you test this and all presentations according to scripture for consistency with God's truth.
SEEKING THE HOLY SPIRIT'S GUIDANCE
There may be times when we find a passage difficult to understand. At this time we should focus our attention to careful and thorough study of the passage under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. According to John 14:26, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." God's promise is specific: the Holy Spirit will enlighten you. However God did not set a time limit on when we could expect a response. So if difficulty arises, approach it with prayer to the Spirit and diligent study. You may receive the answer immediately, in a while, a while longer or in God's infinite wisdom in His presence.
APPROACH TO SCRIPTURE
To appreciate scripture we must understand three things about a passage: 1) what the text says, 2) What the text means, and 3) What is the text's context. In the following pages we will study in detail the nature of selected texts. We will basically study prophetic texts, which answers item 2. But to understand the full context of the text, you should explore all the scripture quotations given at length. Feel free to explore much of what comes before, and after the selected texts.
To understand my approach, you need to understand my assumptions about scripture. I write from a perspective that cherishes a deep and central commitment to the Bible as the ultimate criterion for understanding, and God's vehicle for self-revelation. I believe that the Bible is an authentic, reliable record of God's truth and purposes. That we must study the whole scripture, and not reject portions, which may be difficult to understand or reconcile with other scriptures. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 clearly states Paul's view of scripture and purpose: "You have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
One must always be on guard for the false teachers described in Matthew 24:4-5: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name...and will deceive many." Your protection against this deception is to test as the Bereans did, test this presentation, test all writers, test all books, pamphlets and ideas. Test, test and test again. Protect yourself from false doctrine with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
John 16:13-14 states: "But when he, the Spirit of truth comes he will guide you into all truth...he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you."
Do not expect all prophetic scripture to be crystal clear or to be readily organized for easy reading. These pearls of truth seem to glow, however, with diligent study.
I also believe that the true church is composed of all true believers in Jesus regardless of denomination. Salvation is not linked to a particular denomination, but to a personal acceptance in faith of Jesus Christ as stated in Galatians 2:16: "...know that man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ." The true church of Jesus Christ is not therefore a building or an organization, it is a living organism called the body of Christ. Ephesians 1:22-23 says: "...And God placed all things under his (Christ's) feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. 1 Corinthians 12:12-28 states: "...for we are all baptized by one Spirit into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up on one part but of many..."
One should also understand that there are many current interpretations of the time line of the rapture and the world's situation during the "70th week of Daniel." What is presented here is my best understanding to date based on my study, reflection and prayer. It will most likely evolve as my understanding grows. However to present a complete picture, the references at the end of this work will lead the reader through all of the major prophetic interpretations and time lines. This is why it is important for you to test this work and study the scripture yourself.
Did you know that a greater part of scripture is given to prophecy than any other one subject? Approximately twenty-five percent of the Bible was prophetic at the time it was written. Since God dedicated a large portion of scripture to prophecy it is prudent to study prophecy. It is wise in studying the prophetic word to interpret literally. Davidson states:
"This I consider the first principle in prophetic interpretation - to read the prophet literally - to assure that the literal meaning is his meaning - that he is moving among realities, not symbols, among concrete things like peoples, not among abstractions like our Church, world, etc.1
Pentecost goes on to state:
"The reason a non-literal method of interpretation is adopted is, almost without exception, because of a desire to avoid the obvious interpretation of the passage. The desire to avoid the teaching of scripture into harmony with some predetermined system of doctrine instead of bringing doctrine into harmony with the scriptures has kept the method alive.2
William Masselink also sets the precedent of fulfilled new testament prophecy by stating:
"We can therefore derive our method of interpretation for the unfulfilled prophecy from the fulfilled, because we may safely deduce the guiding principles for the unfulfilled prophecy from the fulfilled predictions which are recorded in the New Testament.3
For this reason I prefer a literal interpretation first; and if that interpretation makes sense then I believe there is no need to search further.
KEY PERIODS OF PROPHECY
Bible prophecy forecasts events in God's involvement with man. Here is a timetable of prophetic events, from the angelic hosts heralding the coming Messiah to the saints singing praises before the King of Kings.
Be aware however of the words of Matthew 24:32-44: "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 all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door...No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." So if anyone comes to you saying the Lord is coming tomorrow, next week or the next century; Beware! For surely no mortal man will know the time of the Lord's return.
Matthew continues: "...As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 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."
KEY PROPHETIC BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
There are books of the Bible that contain a preponderance of prophetic texts. The Old Testament contains significant works in Daniel, Isaiah and Ezekiel which speak of post rapture, or Tribulation - Millennium - Final Uprising issues. These are the items focused on in Daniel and specifically the "70th week of Daniel" prophecies.
New Testament prophetic texts appear focused in Revelation, Thessalonians, 2 Timothy and Matthew. They speak mainly to the church age, rapture events and "signs of the times."
This split at first may appear unusual, till one considers that God's chosen people were the Jews (Israel), and that He primarily dealt with them till the Messiah was rejected through Old Testament writings. The rejection of the Messiah interrupted God's direct dealing with Israel, it did not end His dealing with them.
The New Testament focuses on the Church age where there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. As 1 Corinthians 12:13 states: "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink."
However with the removal of the true church from the earth at the rapture, God again begins to deal directly with Israel. Therefore the return to Old Testament texts for insight into post rapture events.
70 WEEKS OF DANIEL
Daniel describes 70 prophetic weeks (1 prophetic day equals 1 biblical year-360 days, or 1 prophetic week equals 7 years, so 70 prophetic weeks equals 490 years) as God's timetable for the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem as described in Daniel 9:24-27:
"Seventy "sevens" are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven "sevens" and sixty-two "sevens". It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two sevens, the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with man for one seven. In the middle of the seven he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."
On March 14, 445 B.C. the decree for the rebuilding of Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes Longimanus of Persia. Jesus of Nazareth ended the 69th week by allowing Himself to be proclaimed the Messiah, exactly 173,880 days or 483 biblical years after Artaxerxes's decree.4
This 69 week period ended with Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. But Israel rejects the Messiah, and 4 days later he is crucified, interrupting the 70 week timetable. Jerusalem is not destroyed until 70 A.D. by Titus of Rome. It is clear that the time clock stopped with Israel's rejection of Jesus and with seven weeks to go on the prophetic stopwatch.
This gap in God's dealing with His people Israel is the Church age, the age in which we now live.
The end of the above scripture quote introduces the last week of Daniel, with the identification of the end times man of sin or the Beast (who comes from the revived Roman Empire), who signs a protective treaty with Israel, then after 3 1/2 years betrays the treaty and sets up an abomination in the reconstructed Jerusalem temple.
Hal Lindsey states:
It appears that God is again specifically dealing directly with His people Israel. Therefore it does not seem appropriate that the church, with its distinct calling and purpose could be present, for there would be no distinction between Jew and Gentile as is a characteristic of the church age. 5
THE CHURCH AGE
Before His death, Jesus promised to build His church as described in Matthew 16:18: "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." The church, born on the day of Pentecost, consists of the twin remnants of Jews and Gentiles who come to trust in Christ as their Savior, as stated in Ephesians 2 and 3.
God's purpose through the church is to preach, teach, and call out a people to His name. In addition to world evangelization, the church is commissioned to wait for the Son from heaven as described in 1 Thessalonians 1:10: "They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead - Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath."; and also Acts 1:6-8: "So when they met together, they asked him, Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel? He said to them: It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
The church age closes amid rampant apostasy in an environment that is marked by self obsessed humanists, immorality, violence, and international unrest. See specifically 2 Timothy 3:1-6: "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them." and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3: "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion (note: the Greek word is 'apostasia' which is perhaps more correctly translated apostasy not rebellion as in the NIV) occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God."
God concludes His program for the church before the seven-year Tribulation or the 70th week of Daniel begins as stated in 1 Thessalonians 1:10: "They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead - Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." The rapture "catches away" or snatches the church. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 says: "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality."
His Church will meet Jesus in the air to "take you to be with me" as stated in John 14:1-6: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going 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 may also be where I am.
Key points of these scriptures are that the Rapture: 1)is a mystery, 2)means no death for some, 3)includes the removal of all believers on the earth at that time, 4)is a transformation, 5)is instantaneous, 6)is a family reunion of all believers of all ages, and 7)results in being taken back to live with Jesus in the place He has prepared for us, His Father's house.
The man of sin or the Beast is then recognized on earth and the Tribulation begins. Reference 2 Thessalonians 2:3-9: "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back (* the Holy Spirit thru the Church, insertion mine, explanation below) will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing."
This coming to get the church may take place at any moment, and is the church's "blessed hope" as described in Titus 2:11-13: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say No to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,..."
During the Tribulation, the church is in heaven with Jesus. Members receive rewards and the church becomes Christ's "bride" and enjoys the "marriage feast of the Lamb." The church also prepares to return with Him appearing of The Glory as says Revelation 19:7-9: "...For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb! And he added, These are the true words of God."
Hal Lindsey summarizes the rapture well with:
"When we put together the concept of being caught up into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air together with the idea of an instantaneous transformation, the result is spine-tingling.
"We will suddenly one day just blast off into space. Faster than the eye of the unbeliever can perceive, every living believer on earth will disappear.6
Think of it for a moment. Let the magnitude of this sink in. In the twinkling of an eye, all believers of all time will be with Jesus; and the earth, yes the earth will in an instant only be inhabited by unregenerate humanity!
No wonder 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 states: "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 each other with these words."
What a hope! What a blessing! What a gift from the Lord!
[* I think that Dave Hunt's interpretation of this passage is worthy of merit:
"A Person is preventing the Antichrist from being revealed. Quite clearly He is no ordinary person, for He who prevented Antichrist's revelation in Paul's day 1900 years ago is still doing so today. He is not only timeless but omnipotent, for Satan cannot act until this One is out of the way.
Paul can only be referring to the Holy Spirit. But He cannot be removed from the earth because He is omnipresent. Furthermore, there will be many converted through the gospel of the kingdom during the Great Tribulation, and for that to be possible the Holy Spirit must be present to convince and convict them. Then what is the meaning of "until he be taken out of the way"? How could that apply to the Holy Spirit?
The Church is described as "a habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22). The bodies of all Christians are "temples of the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:19). God the Holy Spirit is present in this world in a unique way that was not true before the Church was formed nor will be so after the Church is removed in the Rapture. When the Church is taken to heaven, that special presence of the Holy Spirit will also be removed, though He will be here as God omnipresent as He eternally is throughout the entire universe."7]
Daniel's 70th week begins as God officially resumes His program for the Jewish nation. One purpose of the Tribulation period is to reconcile the nation of Israel to the Messiah. After persecution by the Beast and isolation among the Gentile nations pledged to its destruction, the Jewish nation confronts Christ at Armageddon and cries in repentance as stated in Zechariah 12:9-10: "On that day I will set out to destroy all nations that attack Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son."
Events that occur during the Tribulation include:
1)Israel exists as a national entity at peace under the Beast's protection and in unbelief. Ezekiel 37,38: "The land of dry bones..." and Daniel 9:27.
2)Israel has reinstituted the sacrifices of the Mosaic law (blood sacrifice) and rebuilt her temple. Daniel 9:27 and Matthew 24:15-20.
3)The world is at peace. Revelation 13:4.
4)War begins when the northern armies invade Israel according to Ezekiel 38: "...after many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; ...You will come from your place in the far north...You will advance against my people...I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord." These forces strike at the regathered remnant of Jews who are in the land, as Satan seeks to destroy the Jewish people before they can be reconciled to the Messiah.
5)The Beast appears, first as a political super hero of the West as stated in Daniel 9:27: "He will confirm a covenant with many..." At the midpoint of the Tribulation, the Beast enters the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and declares himself to be God or the "abomination of desolation", demands worship, and refuses his "mark" or 666 to all who will not bow down to him. Matthew 24:15 says: "So when you see standing in the holy place, the abomination that causes desolation spoken of through the prophet Daniel - let the reader understand - then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." See also 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4 and Revelation 13. The latter reference describes the second Beast, the false prophet, who will set up the image of the first beast in the temple. This act initiates the Great Tribulation, as God pours out His wrath upon a belligerent Gentile world system in a series of disasters that culminates in Armageddon as stated in Revelation 16:14-16: "..there was one like a son of man...with a sharp sickle in his hand...Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe...so he swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested..."
6)Jesus now returns to the earth with His saints to take His throne and judge the nations as described in Revelation 19:11-20:6.
7)Israel's national remnant, about 1/3 of the people, accept their Messiah and experience national reconciliation. Zechariah 13:8-9 says: "In the whole land, declares the Lord, two thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, They are my people, and they will say, The Lord is our God.
For 1000 years believers will reign with the Lord in a theocratic kingdom where all of God's promises to Abraham and his descendants are fulfilled. See Deuteronomy 30:1-6 and Revelations 20:4-6.
During this kingdom, universal peace and justice prevail as Isaiah 11:1-10 says: "...with justice he will give decisions...the wolf will live with the lamb...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." Believers from all nations will worship at the millennial temple in Jerusalem. Zechariah 8:22-23 says: "And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord...In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew... and say Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you." Satan is bound and thrown into the abyss for a thousand years to keep him from deceiving the nations as clearly stated in Revelation 20:1-3.
This is a time of unheard of peace and prosperity on the earth. Jesus is the ruler of all and is available for counsel and decisions. Righteousness is the descriptive term that best characterizes the Messiah's rule during this period.
The original curse on nature (Genesis 3:17-19) is lifted so that there will be abundant productivity on the earth. Animals will be changed so as to loose their ferocity and venom. Human life spans are increased, for most men live for the whole 1000 years. Death is a rarity and is now a penalty for overt sin.
Pentecost best describes the conditions existing in the Millennium:
A. PEACE. The cessation of war through the unification of the kingdoms of the world under the reign of Christ, together with the resultant economic prosperity, since nations need not devote vast proportions of their expenditure on munitions, is a major theme of the prophets. National and individual peace is the fruit of the Messiah's reign (Isa 2:4; 9:4-7; 11:6-9; 32:17-18; 33:5-6; 54:13; 55:12; 60:18; 65:25; 66:12; Ezek 28:26; 34:25-28; Hos 2:18; Mic 4:2-3; Zech 9:10)
B. JOY. The fullness of joy will be a distinctive mark of the age (Isa 9:3-4; 12:3-6; 14:7-8; 25:8-9; 30:29; 42:1, 10-12; 52:9; 60:15; 61:7, 10; 65:18-19; 66:10-14; Jer 30:18-19; 31:13-14; Zeph 3:14-17; Zech 8:18-19; 10:6-7).
C. HOLINESS. The theocratic kingdom will e a holy kingdom, in which holiness is manifested through the King and the King's subjects. The land will be holy, the city holy, the temple holy, and the subjects holy unto the Lord (Isa 1:26-27; 4:3-4; 29:18-23; 31:6-7; 35:8-9; 52:1; 60:21; 61:10; Jer 31:23; Ezek 36:24-31; 37:23-24; 43:7-12; 45:1; Joel 3:21; Zeph 3:11, 13; Zech 8:3; 13:1-2; 14:20-21).
D. GLORY. The kingdom will be a glorious kingdom, in which the glory of God will find full manifestation (Isa 24:23; 4:2; 35:2; 40:5; 60:1-9).
E. COMFORT. The King will personally minister to every need, so that there will be the fullness of comfort in that day (Isa 12:1-2; 29:22-23; 30:26; 40:1-2; 49:13; 51:3; 61:3-7; 66:13-14; Jer 31:23-25; Zeph 3:18-20; Zech 9:11-12; Rev 21:4).
F. JUSTICE. There will be the administration of perfect justice to every individual (Isa 9:7; 11:5; 32:16; 42:1-4; 65:21-23; Jer 23:5; 31:23; 31:29-30).
G. FULL KNOWLEDGE. The ministry of the King will bring the subjects of His kingdom into full knowledge. Doubtless there will be an unparalleled teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit (Isa 11:1-2, 9; 41:19-20; 54:13; Hab 2:14).
H. INSTRUCTION. This knowledge will come about through the instruction that issues from the King (Isa 2:2-3; 12:3-6; 25:9; 29:17-24; 30:20-21; 32:3-4; 49:10; 52:8; Jer 3:14-15; 23:1-4; Mic 4:2).
I. THE REMOVAL OF THE CURSE. The original curse placed upon creation (Gen 3:17-19) will be removed, so that there will be abundant productivity to the earth. Animal creation will be changed so as to lose its venom and ferocity (Isa 11:6-9; 35:9; 65:25).
J. SICKNESS REMOVED. The ministry of the King as a healer will be seen throughout the age, so that sickness and even death, except as a penal measure in dealing with overt sin, will be removed (Isa 33:24; Jer 30:17; Ezek 34:16).
K. HEALING OF THE DEFORMED. Accompanying this ministry will be the healing of all deformity at the inception of the millennium (Isa 29:17-19; 35:3-6; 61:1-2; Jer 31:8; Mic 4:6-7; Zeph 3:19).
L. PROTECTION. There will be a supernatural work of preservation of life in the millennial age through the King (Isa 41:8-14; 62:8-9; Jer 32:27; 23:6; Ezek 34:27; Joel 3:16-17; Amos 9:15; Zech 8:14-15; 9:8; 14:10-11).
M. FREEDOM FROM OPPRESSION. There will be no social, political, or religious oppression in that day (Isa 14:3-6; 42:6-7; 49:8-9; Zech 9:11-12).
N. NO IMMATURITY. The suggestion seems to be that there will not be the tragedies of feeble-mindedness nor of dwarfed bodies in that day. Longevity will be restored (Isa 65:20).
O. REPRODUCTION BY THE LIVING PEOPLES. The living saints who go into the millennium in their natural bodies will beget children throughout the age. The earth's population will soar. These born in this age will not be born without a sin nature, so salvation will be required (Jer 30:20; 31:29; Ezek 47:22; Zech 10:8).
P. LABOR. The period will not be characterized by idleness, but there will be a perfect economic system, in which the needs of men are abundantly provided for by labor in that system, under the guidance of the King. There will be a fully developed industrialized society, providing for the needs of the King's subjects. Agriculture as well as manufacturing will provide employment (Isa 62:8-9; 65:21-23; Jer 31:5; Ezek 48:18-19).
Q. ECONOMIC PROSPERITY. The perfect labor situation will produce economic abundance, so that there will be no want (Isa 4:1; 35:1-2,7; 30:23-25; 62:8-9; 65:21-23; Jer 31:5, 12; Ezek 34:26; Mic 4:1,4; Zech 8:11-12; 9:16-17; Ezek 36:29-30; Joel 2:21-27; Amos 9:13-14).
R. INCREASE IN LIGHT. There will be an increase of solar and lunar light in the age. This increased light probably is a major cause in the increase productivity of the earth (Isa 4:5; 30:26; 60:19-20; Zech 2:5).
S. UNIFIED LANGUAGE. The language barriers will be removed so that there can be free social intercourse (Zeph 3:9).
T. UNIFIED WORSHIP. All the world will unite in the worship of God and God's Messiah (Isa 45:23; 52:1, 7-10; 66:17-23; Zech 13:2; 14:16; 8:23; 9:7; Zeph 3:9; Mal 1:11; Rev 5:9-14.
U. MANIFEST PRESENCE OF GOD. God's presence will be fully recognized and fellowship with God will be experienced to an unprecedented degree (Ezek 37:27-28; Zech 2:2; 10-13; Rev 21:3).
V. FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT. Divine presence and enablement will be the experience of all who are in subjection to the authority of the King (Isa 32:13-15; 41:1; 44:3; 59:19, 21; 61:1; Ezek 36:26-27; 37:14; 39:29; Joel 2:28-29; Ezek 11:19-20).
W. THE PERPETUITY OF THE MILLENNIAL STATE. That which characterizes the millennial age is not viewed as temporary, but eternal (Joel 3:20; Amos 9:15; Ezek 37:26-28; Isa 51:6-8; 55:3, 13; 56:5; 60:19-20; 61:8; Jer 32:40; Ezek 16:60; 43:7-9; Dan 9:24; Hos 2:19-23).8
THE FINAL UPRISING
At the end of Christ's 1000 year reign, Satan is let free from the abyss, gathers a multitude of unregenerate people, and incites a rebellion against the King. Revelation 20:7-9 states: "When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released...and will go out to deceive the nations...to gather them for battle...in number they are like the sand of 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."
This final uprising exposes conclusively the depravity of the human heart. With Jesus physically present in the world for 1000 years, giving humankind every opportunity to embrace Him and His righteousness, many still choose to rebel against God.
God now deals with this rebellion, and the judgment comes in the form of physical death, through the pouring out of fire on all the rebels assembled under Satan's leadership. Revelations 20:9 states: "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." In this manner God removes all unbelief from the theocratic kingdom in anticipation of its merger with the eternal kingdom of God.
GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT
The lost of all ages are judged, and final sentence given to the second death in the lake of fire. See Revelation 20:11-15: "...Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Before the Great White Throne, the lost of all ages finally acknowledge the lordship of Jesus Christ, but too late for deliverance as stated in Philippians 2:9-11: "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
At this time all human distinctions about power, position or wealth are meaningless - the small and the great face their "works" before a holy God and are judged. Their sentence is eternal, conscious internment into the lake of fire. Satan is also cast into this lake for all eternity.
NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH
Finally, the consummation of all prophecy occurs: the new heaven and the new earth!
God creates a new world, and the saints live in a new Jerusalem with many "rooms" prepared for them by Jesus himself. Revelations 21:1-22:7: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth...I saw the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. ...now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them...He will wipe every tear from their eyes (Think of it! God almighty will personally comfort you, will care for you, so that you are never in distress!) There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away....I am making everything new...he who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. ... One of the seven angels said...I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb...and showed me new Jerusalem coming down our of heaven from God. It shone like the glory of God...I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. On no day will its gates ever be shut. 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.
Behold I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book."
Salvation, a gift freely offered from our Lord and Savior; a gift bought at great price and yet graciously offered to each and every one of us.
If you are not yet a believer in our Lord Jesus, take a moment now to reflect upon your life; on your desires, goals and accomplishments. Think about what you have achieved and what the Lord offers. If you are so lead, know that Salvation is certain and absolute, nothing will separate you from the Lord once you have committed yourself to Him. Romans 10:9-11 gives the way and the promise: "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As Scripture says, 'Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.' "
May this work be a faithful presentation of His word, His works and His wishes. May it be useful to His people. If there is error, let His light be shed upon it, and let it be corrected.
I consider the following good works on biblical prophecy descriptive comments are given for each:
Hal Lindsey, "The Rapture", 211 pages in paperback, Bantam Books, 1983.
This is an excellent work to start with. It is easy to read and contains specific scriptural quotations.
Charles C. Ryrie, "The Rapture", 118 pages in paperback, Moody Press.
This work is a more concise and more scripturally based than Lindsey's work. It is also easy to read.
Dave Hunt, "How Close Are We?", 323 pages in paperback, Harvest House Publishers, 1993.
This is an excellent easy to read summary of end times prophecy.
J. Dwight Pentecost, "Things to Come", 633 pages in hardback, Zondervan Publishing Co, 1964.
This is a voluminous, authoritative and scholarly investigation of biblical eschatology. It is sometimes hard to read, but is thorough and presents almost all viewpoints for consideration. I consider this the authoritative work on biblical eschatology.
Hal Lindsey, "There's a New World Coming", subtitled: "A Prophetic Odyssey", 301 pages in paperback, Bantam Books, 1973
Hal Lindsey, "The Late Great Planet Earth", 179 pages in paperback, Bantam Books, 1970.
Two of Lindsey's earlier works.
John C. Whitcomb, "Everyman's Bible Commentary: Daniel", 170 pages in paperback, Moody Press, 1985.
Charles C. Ryrie, "Everyman's Bible Commentary: Revelation", 127 pages in paperback, Moody Press, 1968.
The preceding two are good, readable commentaries on the Bible book stated. The "Everyman's Bible Commentary:" is available for most all books of the Bible.
1.A.B. Davidson, "Old Testament Prophecy", p 167 2.J. D. Pentecost, "Things to Come", p 61. 3.W. Masselink, "Why Thousand Years?", p 36. 4.R. Anderson, "The Coming Prince", 5.H. Lindsey, "The Rapture", p.5 6.H. Lindsey, "The Rapture", p. 46 7.D. Hunt, "How Close Are We?",p.229 8.J. Pentecost, "Things to Come", pp 487-490
Scripture taken for the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.