Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
The End Time
The Bible tells us a lot about the end times. It gets very confusing because it’s told in pieces and there is only one book in the New Testament devoted to the end times and there are a lot of different points of view on how to interpret it.
Let’s look at what the Bible says.
The Bible talks about several events. It says there will be:
- A resurrection
- A Rapture of the Church
- 7 years of wrath (Great Tribulation)
- 1000 years of peace (millennium)
For these time-periods there are several different views.
- It’s already passed –
- When was the resurrection (where is everybody?)?
- When was the millennium (which of the last 2000 years had 1000 years of peace? Is this it? Where’s the peace? They have a different idea of peace than I do. Forget 1000 years… name a single year of peace with no wars or trouble. I can’t do it either.)?
- If this is the kingdom then where’s my mansion?
- It’s been happening for hundreds/thousands of years – you can make any event fit any prophecy. That’s a great way to sell books, DVD’s, access to your website, downloads, and keep your ministry going. Matthew 24:34 shows it will take place in less than one generation.
- It goes in cycles – then you can apply any event to any prophecy.
- Revelation is not in order – you can make any event fit any prophecy. There’s no reason to believe that God showed John the end time events out of order.
- It’s still future – this one makes the most sense, fits with the Biblical timeline, gives us hope (for all others we have no hope). This is the one I believe. There are several different views within this view.
Things to keep in mind
- When someone makes a prediction or comment, ask yourself which view they have.
- People make statements as if we’ve been in the Great Tribulation for years. (Hitler, Stalin, Chernobyl, Saddam Hussein, 9/11)
- People have an agenda – it’s usually to sell their books and videos, and promote themselves and their ministry.
- Israel wasn’t a nation for almost 2000 years. People couldn’t understand how the end-time could refer to a future event.
Futurist End Time Overview
I believe the Bible shows the end time is still future. The Tribulation period hasn’t started yet.
First, let’s look at a simple overview of the end time. This lets us step back and see the bigger picture. God follows a time-line. Here are the major events:
- 70 weeks of punishment was prophesied to Israel
- Church age
- 7 years of wrath
- White Throne Judgement
The Great Tribulation
The great tribulation will begin after the Rapture of the saints. This not just trouble, trials, and tribulations. This is the Great Tribulation – the wrath of God poured out.
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.
Antiochus Epiphanes was 175-164bc – Jesus told of antichrist in Matthew 24:15.
The seventh week hasn’t taken place. Jesus shows in Matthew 24:15 that it’s still future:
Matt. 24:15 KJV 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place,
It’s common for there to be gaps between fulfillments of prophecy. Jesus shows that the last week takes place in the Tribulation Period. He shows this in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 – lining it up with Revelation 6-19.
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.
This is not meant for the Church. This is meant for Israel and Babylon (the worldly system).
One of the most important events that will take place in the end-times is the Rapture of the Church. Where does it fit in?
There are differences of opinion about when the Rapture takes place:
- Pre-trib – before the tribulation period
- Mid-trib – somewhere in the middle
- Post-trib – at the end of the tribulation, before or at the second coming
Things to keep in mind:
- The Rapture and the second coming are two different events
- The signs given for the end time are for the second coming – not the Rapture
- There is more than one Rapture – but only one Rapture for the Church
- Daniel’s 70 weeks was prophesied against Israel – not the Church
- The Great Tribulation period is the final 7 years of Daniel’s 70 weeks – it’s the 70th week
- The book of Revelation is in chronological order (Chernobyl wasn’t wormwood)
I believe is clear that the Rapture takes place before the Great Tribulation starts. There are many reasons for this and the Scriptures are clear. Now let’s look at why…
Daniel’s 70 Weeks
70 weeks of punishment were prophesied against Israel.
69 of those weeks (490 years) took place. We saw the 70th week is still future.
The 70th week was postponed for the Church age. The 70th week will start when the Church is taken away in the Rapture.
What is the Rapture?
The Rapture is when Jesus comes into the clouds for His Church. The Church is caught up to the clouds for a meeting in the air.
The word Rapture is not in Scripture. It’s a Latin word that means ‘to take’ or ‘to catch away’. The concept of a catching away of the Church is in Scripture.
1Th 4:17 KJV 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Jesus Will Return
Jesus tells us that He will come back for us.
Joh 14:1-3 KJV Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Many verses talk about the appearing of Jesus.
1Th 5:23 KJV And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Pe 1:7 KJV That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
2Th 2:6-8 KJV 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
In the 1600’s when the KJV was translated, the word ‘let’ meant ‘hold back’. The antichrist is being held back until the Church is taken out of the way – into heaven. The antichrist won’t be revealed until after the Rapture.
2Ti 4:8 KJV Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Heb 9:28 KJV So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
1Pe 5:4 KJV And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
1Jo 2:28-29 KJV 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
1 John 3:1 KJV Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Paul Describes the Rapture
Paul tells us that the Rapture will happen and what it will be like.
1Co 15:23 KJV But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
1Co 15:51-57 KJV 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. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul’s ‘last trump’ (1 Cor 15:52) was referring to the end of the Church age. This is the last trumpet for the Church – not the 7th trumpet of Revelation. Those events were only revealed to John in 95-96 AD. Paul wrote 40 years before that. The Bible doesn’t even say the 7th trumpet of Revelation is that last trumpet.
1Th 4:13-18 KJV 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
2Th 2:1-3 KJV Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Phi 3:20-21 KJV 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.
When are the Saints in Heaven?
In the book of Revelation we see descriptions of the Rapture and of the saints in heaven.
First, the book of Revelation is in chronological order. If not then nothing makes sense and anything can be applied to any time. It follows a specific timeline.
The book of Revelation is divided into 3 parts:
Rev. 1:19 KJV Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
Chapter 1 – John meets Jesus on the isle of Patmos.
Chapters 2-3 – The Church age
Chapters 4-22 – After the Church age
After the Church Age
Chapters 4-5 show the scene in Heaven before the Great Tribulation starts.
Rev 4:1 KJV After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
The First Seal
The first seal is broken in chapter 6 – the White Horse Rider.
Rev. 6:1-2 KJV And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
The Scene in Heaven
Let’s take another look at the scene in heaven.
Rev 5:8-10 KJV 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Who was redeemed by the blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation?
Who are kings and priests unto God? Who will reign on earth?
This is clearly the Church.
What chapter are we in? When is the first seal broken to start the Great Tribulation? Chapter 6:1.
From chapter four on, the Church is never shown anywhere else except in heaven with Jesus.
(Is this the saints that have gone on? Is this a partial group? The only time it mentions a partial group is the souls under the altar waiting for the rest to join them – this is the tribulation saints. It tells us they’re a partial group. There’s no reason to believe this is a partial group. The Church is not seen anywhere else at this time.)
We are with Jesus when He comes back at His second coming.
Some say the Church is Raptured at the second coming, but we are already with him.
1Th 2:19 KJV For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
1Th 3:13 KJV To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
Col 3:4 KJV When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Gathering from the Earth
What about gathering from the earth at the end of the Tribulation?
Matt. 24:31 KJV And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Mk. 13:27 KJV And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
This is the gathering of the Old Testament saints, the Church, and tribulation saints in heaven and the tribulation saints that are still on earth. We don’t see the Church on earth, but we do see tribulation saints are still on earth.
Rev. 6:9-11 KJV 9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
They are being gathered for the battle of Armageddon.
Rev. 19:14 KJV And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
God Promises to Keep us from Wrath
The Great Tribulation is a time of wrath. It is the wrath of God poured out on Israel and the whole world.
The Scriptures tell us that He will keep us from wrath and that we are not appointed to the wrath that is to come.
Luk 21:34-36 KJV 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
1Th 1:10 KJV And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1Th 5:9 KJV For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Rev 3:10 KJV Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
It would not make sense for the Church to go through the Great Tribulation when Jesus told us that He would keep us from His wrath.
The Tribulation is the 70th week of Daniel – prophesied against Israel.
Dan. 9:24 KJV 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.
There’s no reason for the Church to be here for it.
Some say that God’s wrath starts in the middle of the Tribulation period. The 70th week is 7 years – not 3.5. Also, who breaks the 1st seal? Jesus as the lamb starts the Tribulation period by breaking the first seal in chapter 6.
God gets his people out of the way before He sends destruction.
- The flood of Noah – the water didn’t come until Noah and his family were in the ark
- Sodom and Gomorrah – Lot was safe before the fire and brimstone was sent to destroy the cities
- The Red Sea – the Israelites were out of the way before the waters destroyed the Egyptians
- The battle of Jericho – Rahab and her family were taken to safety before Jericho was destroyed.
(the plagues of Egypt were a special case – they were being held)
The Rapture Can Take Place Any Moment
No signs have to appear before the Rapture can take place. The signs that Jesus gave in Mathew 24 take place during the first half of the Tribulation period.
The Rapture can take place at any moment.
Rom 8:19 KJV For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
1Co 1:7-8 KJV 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Phi 4:5 KJV Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
1Ti 6:14 KJV That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Tit 2:13 KJV Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Jam 5:7-9 KJV 7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
Rev 2:25 KJV But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
If signs have to take place first, then the Rapture can’t come at any moment.
If the Rapture takes place after the events in Revelation starts, we could know from the events when the Rapture would take place.
Jesus said that we could not know the day or the hour of His return.
Mat 25:13 KJV Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
We Don’t Know the Time
The Bible does tell us the order of events and it does tell us the Church will be Raptured. What it doesn’t tell us is when the end will be.
The Bible says that no one knows the day or the hour.
Matt. 24:36 KJV But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
We can’t predict when the Rapture will take place. Satan wants us to make predictions because he knows we will look bad if we’re wrong. It makes people stop listening to Christians and the Bible.
There is one thing we can know – the Church will be Raptured and I believe it’s coming soon.
The Purpose of End Time Teaching
The purpose isn’t to make predictions, but to be ready to avoid it.
The end times are important or there wouldn’t be so many Scriptures devoted to it. The purpose is so we can warn the lost, each other, and ourselves. It’s also to show those left behind that the Bible is true and God is real.
It Can Happen Any Moment.
Jesus will step into the clouds, and with a shout He will call His people up to meet Him. Those that are ready to go will meet Jesus in the air. And then God’s wrath will be poured out on the world.
We don’t know when, but we have to be watching and be ready. Our job isn’t to guess when it will be, but to warn others and ourselves to be ready.
Even if it doesn’t happen soon, we don’t know when we’ll face God. We might face him today. Not matter what, we have to be ready.