END TIMES: THE SECOND COMING
1. Revelation is not a mystery book. Most of it is an eyewitness account — as shown to the apostle John — of the seven year period (commonly called the tribulation) which will occur just before Jesus returns to earth.
a. Much of it is symbolic, but 9/10s of the symbols are defined by the context in Revelation or are found in the OT.
b. John is describing 21st century life and technology in 1st century terms.
c. It will be perfectly clear what everything means once it happens.
2. The tribulation will be largely a time of judgment and wrath, and Revelation describes three series of increasingly severe judgments on the earth in these years — seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls or vials.
a. Always remember that God is a reluctant Judge, and that during the tribulation, His judgment will come in the form of Him removing His hand of restraint. II Thess 2:8-12; Rom 1:18-32; Isa 28:21; Lam 3:33
b. God will withdraw His hand of protection and allow men to reap the consequences of their sin as never before.
c. satan’s wickedness and the wickedness in human hearts will be demonstrated as never before — war, lust, greed, murder, treachery, etc.
d. Despite all the rampant evil in the tribulation, God’s grace will be demonstrated in a mighty way and multitudes will be saved.
1. The tribulation will be a fulfillment of prophecy to Israel, to the Jews.
a. Dan 9:24-27–God told Israel He would deal with them for 490 years for their sin and rebellion and then establish an unending kingdom for them.
b. 483 of those years have been fulfilled. Seven are yet to be fulfilled.
2. For the past 2,000 years God has not dealt directly with Israel. God has been dealing with the Church — all who have become part of the Body of Christ by putting their faith in Jesus and His death, burial, and resurrection.
3. However, we are approaching the time when God will again begin to deal directly with Israel to complete those final seven years mentioned in Daniel.
4. These final seven years will begin when a world leader commonly called the Antichrist signs a seven year treaty with Israel.
a. Dan 9:27–This king will make a seven-year treaty with the people, but after half that time, he will break his pledge and stop the Jews from all their sacrifices and their offerings; then, as a climax to all his terrible deeds, the Enemy shall utterly defile the sanctuary of God. But in God’s time and plan, his judgment will be poured out on this evil one. (Living)
b. II Thess 2:3-6 tells us this man, the man of sin (Antichrist) cannot be revealed until the Church is removed at the rapture. It is not clear how soon after the rapture he will make the treaty Israel.
5. As satan’s counterfeit of Christ (anti=in place of), he will seem to bring peace, so much so that temple sacrifices will begin again. Dan 8:25; I Thess 5:1-3
a. Because of the peace and prosperity he brings, and because of supernatural powers he will possess, many will begin to worship the Antichrist.
b. Three and a half years after signing the treaty with Israel, the man of sin will go to Jerusalem, to the temple, and declare himself God.
c. He will begin severe persecution of those Jews who refuse to worship him.
1. All of us — Jew and Gentile — deserve hell, but God has offered us grace.
a. Anyone can miss the tribulation by getting saved before the rapture.
b. And, God has made provision for the protection of those Jews who come to faith in Christ during the tribulation.
2. God has put specific instructions in the Bible for Jews living in the tribulation.
a. Matt 24–When Jesus answered His disciples’ questions about the signs of His coming He warned them to get out of Jerusalem immediately when they see the even spoken of in Dan 9:27. Matt 24:15-22
b. Why / how will any Jews listen to / know of this information? The 144,000 Jewish evangelists and two witnesses will have been preaching for 3 1/2 years when the desolation takes place. Rev 7:3-17; 11:3-13
c. In 70 A.D., 1,100,000 Jews were killed in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Not one Hebrew Christian was killed because they heeded Jesus’s warning to get out of Jerusalem in Luke 21:20-24.
d. v20–Why pray that their flight not be on the Sabbath or in winter?
1. No public transportation (buses or trains); not everyone owns a car.
2. They will head toward the mountains and have to walk through wadis (dry water beds which fill up during flash floods). Floods occur in
winter (Oct-Apr) because that is when all the rain falls for the year. Every year people drown in wadis due to flash floods.
e. v23–Don’t let any false Messiahs lure you out of your hiding places.
f. The Book of Daniel tells the Jews exactly how long this persecution will last — 1,290 days or 3 1/2 years and one month. Dan 12:7,11; 7:25
3. The Book of Revelation will also guide these people through the tribulation.
a. They will have in their hands an eyewitness account of the tribulation.
b. Rev 12:6;13-17–Woman is Israel; clear from context and OT. Gen 37:9,10
1. Ex 19:4–God brought Israel out of Egypt as on eagles’ wings.
2. Can calculate how long they have to hold out. Time=one year; times =two years; half a time=one half year or 3 1/2 years or 1,260 days.
4. In other places in the Bible God promises Israel He will come and rescue them at the end of the tribulation. Isa 26:20,21
1. Remember, the tribulation is the final seven years of judgment on Israel for their sins according to Dan 9:24-27
a. God’s judgment on Israel in the past has been, and will be in the future, to allow enemy armies to overrun them and scatter them.
b. It will happen one more time during the tribulation. Deut 4:25-31; 28:47-50
2. In addition, satan, through the Antichrist, will seek to wipe out every living descendant of Abraham in an attempt to stop God from fulfilling His promises to Abraham, David, and their descendants. Rev 12:13
a. satan will bring an organized military campaign against Israel in an attempt to destroy them. Rev 16:13-16 (v14–Battle = campaign or series of military operations, as opposed to one isolated meeting of two armies)
b. Armageddon = Hebrew word = mountain of Magiddo. It lies north of Jerusalem. The valley of Magiddo = a great plain stretching from the Mediterranean Sea eastward across northern Palestine.
c. Joel 3:2–Valley of Jehoshaphat runs from Jerusalem east, then north; will also be crossed and recrossed by armies during the tribulation.
d. Rev 14:19,20–Blood will flow from Armageddon down the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and cover Edom, Judea, and Jerusalem. Isa 34:1-6; 63:1
e. 1600 furlongs = approximately 200 miles; from northern to southern Palestine = 200 miles.
3. These final battles are described in the verses we’ve mentioned as well as others — Dan 11:40-45; Ezekiel 38 and 39, etc.
a. Exactly how the fighting will begin, who will hit Israel first and when, the weapons they will use, etc., is not clearly spelled out.
b. Various end time authors have put together detailed accounts of the fighting. We aren’t going to focus on that, you can read their books.
1. His coming will be sudden, physical, and visible. Every eye will see Him. Acts 1:10,11; Matt 24:27-30; Rev 1:7
a. He will come with His saints. Rev 19:14; Jude 14,15
b. His feet will touch the Mount of Olives — He left from there. Zech 14:4,5
2. The armies fighting at Armageddon will forget their fight with each other and fight Jesus, but He will defeat them and feed the birds. Rev 17:13,14; 19:14-21
3. There will be a 45 day period between when Jesus appears in the sky and He actually sets up the millennial kingdom. Dan 12:11,12
a. 1,290 days from the abomination of desolation until Jesus appears in the heavens.
b. 1,335 days (45 days later) when the blessings of Messiah’s reign begins.
c. Some say the judgment of the bowls (vials) will occur in those 45 days.
4. Christ will return at the end of the tribulation to rescue His people, Israel, who have come to faith in Him. Zech 12:9,10; 13:8,9; Matt 24:22
a. He will offer Israel the kingdom and Himself as their King a second time. This time, they will receive Him.
b. Jesus will then set up His millennial kingdom in fulfillment of the promises He made to Abraham and David. Isa 26:19; Dan 12:2; Rev 20:1-6
5. Those who lived through the tribulation and came to faith in Christ, Jew and Gentile, will repopulate the earth. (perhaps 50 million people left)
a. Jerusalem will be the spiritual center of the world. Jesus will rule from there, and people will come annually to worship Him. Zech 2:10-13; 14:16; Mic 4:1-7; Isa 2:2-4
b. There will be peace, equity, knowledge of the Lord. Isa 11:1-16; 65:19-25
c. Where will we, the Church, be? We will have returned to earth with Jesus as His army and as His Bride, and we will enjoy the blessings of the millennial kingdom as well. Rev 19:14
6. At the end of the thousand years, an eternal kingdom will be established. The kingdom of God will change form and be reestablished in a new heaven and a new earth. Isa 65:17; 66:22; Heb 1:10-12; Rev 21,22; II Pet 3:10-13
1. God’s plan has always been to have an everlasting kingdom of righteousness with His people on earth. Dan 2:44; 7:13,14,27
a. Eph 1:9,10–God has told us his secret reason for sending Christ, a plan he decided on in mercy long ago; and this was his plan: that when the time is ripe he will gather us all together from wherever we are — in heaven or on earth — to be with him in Christ, forever. (Living)
b. I Cor 15:24-28–After that the end will come when he will turn the kingdom over to God the Father, having put down all enemies of every kind. For Christ will be King until he has defeated all his enemies, including the last enemy – death. This too must be defeated and
ended…When Christ has finally won the battle against all his enemies, then he, the Son of God, will put himself also under his Father’s orders, so that God who has given Him the victory over everything else will be utterly supreme. (Living)
2. This plan will be fulfilled through the Second Coming of Jesus.
a. Rev 10:7–But that when the seventh angel blew his trumpet, then God’s veiled plan — mysterious through the ages ever since it was announced by his servants the prophets — would be fulfilled. (Living)
b. Rev 11:15–For just then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting down from heaven, “The kingdom of this world now belongs to our Lord, and to his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever”. (Living)
3. Look at what began in Genesis which comes to a completion in Revelation.
a. In Genesis, sin, sorrow, pain, tears, and death entered in. In Revelation, they are eliminated. Gen 2:17; 3:17-19; Rom 5:12; Rev 20:14; I Cor 15:26; Rev 21:4,27; 22:3; II Pet 3:17-19
b. In Genesis we find the first promise of satan’s defeat by the Lord Jesus Christ. In Revelation, satan is removed from human contact forever. Gen 3:15; Rev 20:7-10; Isa 14:12-17
c. In Genesis, God walked with man. In Revelation God Almighty comes to live with man. Gen 3:8; Rev 21:1-3
1. Revelation and the events it describes reveal God’s character and wisdom as does everything else in the Bible.
2. When Jesus comes again He will complete the master plan God conceived before time began. God’s wisdom and justice will be obvious to all, and God will be all in all. I Cor 15:24-28