The scriptures not only tell us how this world began, they also tell us how it will end. The events in the end times are full of political drama and universal destruction and catastrophes like the world has never known. The scriptures tell us in prophetic detail what to expect next.
The next event in prophecy is the rapture of the Church, called in scripture the catching away of the saints.
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
At the rapture the dead in Christ will be resurrected and the living saints will be transformed, both receiving immortal, glorified bodies (Doctrines of the Bible, p. 282).
1 Corinthians 15:51-54 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
Philippians 3:20-21 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
The Great Tribulation
The great tribulation will begin after the rapture of the saints (Doctrines of the Bible, p. 268). This is what is known as Daniel’s 70th week.
Daniel 9:24-27 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
The tribulation will be a troubling time like the world has never seen.
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
The tribulation is broken into two parts- the first 3 ½ years and the second 3 ½ years.
Revelation chapters 6 through 19 cover the great tribulation. The Great Tribulation will start when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride out. During this time, Satan will build his world system with the beast, also known as the antichrist (Rev. 13). The beast, or antichrist, will work with an agent known as the false prophet. Together, they will establish political control of the world. This will bring war, famine, and death. Babylon will rise. Two witnesses will appear from heaven and preach to those that are left behind. The 144,000 will rise as a testimony of God’s wrath. God will pour out the Seven Seal judgments and the Seven Trumpet judgments.
During the middle of the tribulation the two witnesses will be killed and they will resurrect after three days and will ascend into heaven while the whole world watches. The antichrist will die and resurrect. He will claim to be God and desecrate the Jewish temple that has been rebuilt. He will establish the mark of the beast. All those that oppose the beast will be martyred.
God will pour out the Seven Bowl Judgments. Babylon will be destroyed and the antichrist will gather the world’s military to the Battle of Armageddon. Jesus will return, known as the Second Coming, with all His saints on white horses. They will descend on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah chapters 12-14, Acts 1:9-12, Revelation 19). The antichrist and the false prophet are thrown into the Lake of Fire and Satan is bound for 1000 years.
Jesus will establish His kingdom on earth for 1000 years. During this time there will be peace. Satan is bound and can do no harm during this time. At the end of the 1000 years of peace, Satan is loosed for a final battle. Satan will attempt to destroy God’s kingdom on earth when God sends fire down from heaven. Satan, Death, and Hell are then cast into the Lake of Fire.
The White Throne Judgment
The White Throne Judgment will be the final judgment of all mankind. God will judge us according to His Word. We will be judged according to our actions, words, and opportunities. God will judge every action we’ve not been forgiven of.
Revelation 20:11-15 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
This judgment will determine where we will spend eternity. We will be judged according to God’s Word. If our name is found in the Lamb’s Book of Life, we will spend eternity with God and His angles in New Jerusalem.
Revelation 21:1-4 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
If our name is not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life, we will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire with Satan and his demons.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
We can escape the Great Tribulation by being ready for the Rapture. No one knows the hour or day, so we must always be ready.
Matthew 24:42-44 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Mark 13:33-37 33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
Romans 13:11-14 11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
We can be ready by believing on Jesus as the scriptures say and repenting of our sins, being baptized in Jesus’ name for the remission of sins, and be filled with the gift of the Holy Ghost as Peter explains in Acts 2:38.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Christians will then live a holy life according to the scriptures in order to make ourselves ready.
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Revelation 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Jesus is coming soon. Get ready.
Bernard, D. K., Hall, J. L., et al, (1993). Doctrines of the Bible
Hazelwood: Word Aflame Press