If you are new to this blog, Welcome. You may want to start reading my whole series of articles at the beginning, the Quiet Christian Speaks sub-series from Part One or pick an article from the Table of Contents.
What is the answer to all of the issues and problems that I have listed in the first three parts of this series? In the long term, God is the ultimate answer! World events show that we are getting closer to the conditions that will let the End Times prophecies in the Bible come true. When Christ returns, he will end this madness and straighten things out, but good!
The Bible does not tell us when Jesus will come again. In fact, Jesus said “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matthew 24:36 ESV). However there are events and signs that will tell us when the time is near. I recently read Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord, by Alan Kurschner. This book ties the prophecies together and lays out the sequence of events in the Last Days. Be warned, though. Kurschner is not one of those who makes it easier on us by saying that the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation. He gives reasons and quotes from the Scripture why he believes that the Rapture doesn’t happen first. He says that, if we live until those days, we must endure the Tribulation before we can be Raptured out of here. As I see it, his reasons make sense and have the “ring of truth”.
There are many other books available, some of which make different interpretations. If you are serious about studying eschatology (last things), you may want to read other books as well, especially some that predict that the Rapture comes before the Tribulation. I have read one or two of those books a while ago. The sequence laid out in Kurschner’s book makes more sense to me, even though it is not as popular.
According to the Kurschner book, there is an important biblical distinction between the Antichrist’s great tribulation and the day of the Lord’s wrath. The great tribulation comes from the Antichrist and is directed against the church. Here is a very condensed overview of the End Times:
The Antichrist may not be easy to recognize at first. He will come to power in a rebellion, and will deceive many people, likely the majority. After he is established in power, his true evil nature will be revealed. He “takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2 Thess 2:3-4 ESV) At this time, all religions other than the worship of the Antichrist will be banned. Lawlessness will increase. Christians will be persecuted. Many will abandon their faith. These events are called the “abomination of desolation.” When they see these things happening, believers will know for sure that they are in the great tribulation.
After the abomination of desolation, Jesus will come and take His people to be with Him (the rapture). When Christ appears, there will be no mistaking it. First, there will be a cluster of celestial disturbances and a blackout. Christ will appear “with power and great glory.” (From Luke 21) “For just like the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so the coming of the Son of Man will be.” (Matthew 24:27)
Immediately after the rapture, the day of the Lord’s wrath begins. This is when the ungodly will receive the seven Trumpet Judgments described in Revelation. Following the seventh and most severe Trumpet Judgment, the Bowl Judgments and the Battle of Armageddon will occur in rapid succession. At the conclusion of the Battle of Armageddon, the Beast and the Antichrist will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. Satan is then bound and sealed in a bottomless pit for 1,000 years.
After the ungodly people, Satan and the Antichrist are out of the way, God will renew the Earth and establish the New Jerusalem. There will be a thousand year reign of God and Christ before Satan is released for a final battle. Satan is defeated for good this time, and is thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is followed by the Great White Throne Judgment of the dead, where “if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15 ESV)
Now, the judgments are all finished and the full restoration of Heaven and Earth begins. The New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem will be beautiful and glorious beyond our capability to imagine. There will be no more Satan, no more evil spirits and no more evil people for ever and ever!
Didn’t I tell you that God was going to put things right some day?
We have not yet reached the End Times and I’ve had about enough of the bull crap that’s now going on in the world. How about you? Part of me is looking forward to God’s intervention!
We’ve just examined the End Times and we find that the ultimate ending of the story is great. But there sure seems to be a lot of heavy-duty misery in store before that comes. How are we going to live through all that? Since we don’t know when the End Times will really begin, let’s talk about two eras – Before the Tribulation and During the Tribulation.
Before the Tribulation
Many aspects of life on Earth will continue to get worse, especially those problems that I talked about in my previous articles. We must always be preparing ourselves for either of two possibilities 1) We die our earthly death before the End Times, or 2) The End Times begin while we are still alive on Earth. Either way, we must do the following:
- If you haven’t already, get to know God and commit your life to Him. [See my article How do you get to know God?]
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37 ESV) If you do this, you will love the things that God loves.
- Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39 ESV) [See my articles The Secret to Happiness and What Does It Mean to Love God?]
- Grow in your faith. Read the Bible. Go to a church. Join a fellowship group or a Bible study group. Read books that will build your knowledge and your faith.
- Avoid bad influences. I’m not saying you have to be an absolutely perfect saint, but I am saying you should choose entertainment and activities that will build you up, rather than tear you down.
- Avoid bad habits, such as taking drugs, drinking to excess, gambling to excess, improper sexual behavior, etc.
- Be honest, truthful and fair in all that you do.
- PRAY Ask God for forgiveness. Thank God for your blessings. Ask God for help, strength and courage. Ask God’s blessing on family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, our Country’s leaders, etc. Ask God for guidance.
- Follow your conscience. If you have received Christ, a part of the Holy Spirit dwells in you. He will guide your conscience to steer you right.
- Participate in community organizations or activities that do good works. Yes, I know. You are not saved by good works – certainly not by good works alone. Even so, James, Chapter 2 speaks to me, especially where James says “…I will show you my faith by my works.” and “faith apart from works is useless.” In other words, don’t just believe it, LIVE it.
- GIVE some share of your earnings to churches or to good causes. I’m not saying any certain percentage. That’s up to you. I have been pretty stingy for most of my life, but I am giving more now to a few causes that seem worthy.
- After Jesus (and God), your family and friends come next. Love them, support them, be loyal to them.
- Try very hard not to be a hypocrite. Try not to project a “holier than thou” attitude. Be humble. None of us are perfect. That’s why God has given us His grace and forgiveness. That said, we still should strive to be the best example that we can for our family and for our community.
- Do not be discouraged by all the negative things that are going on in our world. Remember that God will win in the end. Be a part of His Victory Team!
I’m sure there are many more bullets that could be added to the above list. Let me sum it up by saying “Live in a way that will please God.” If you do that, know that God will look after you. God will give you the strength to get through whatever the difficulty is, no matter how severe. Even if you are persecuted, even if you are killed in some horrible way, the pain is only temporary. Your eternal reward awaits.
By the way, I don’t take the above advice as well as I should. Like most of us Christians, I am a work in progress. I am trying to do better as my life goes on.
During the Tribulation
If the Pretribulationists are right, and the Rapture happens before the Tribulation, and if you are already among Jesus’ church, you will not have to worry about this era. However, if the Rapture doesn’t take place until the Tribulation is under way, and if those events happen during your lifetime on Earth, you may well have to deal with it. Remember that Jesus said that no one knows the day or the hour. (Matthew 24:36)
You must do all of the things I have listed above (subject to the conditions at the time), but you must be even stronger. It is time to “put on the whole armor of God.” Read Ephesians 6:10-18 to see what that means.
Your faith will be tested like never before. The Antichrist and his followers will both tempt and coerce you to give in and give up. You may have to endure unbelievable hardship. You may be tortured or even killed.
God will provide help and relief to those who hang in there and stand with him. The help may not be what you expect, though. It may be that he guides you through your earthly death, so that your soul is spared the remainder of the Tribulation. Remember, If you truly believe in the Everlasting Life that God has promised us, your mortal death is just a passage to something far better. Death is not to be feared. When you no longer fear death, Satan just lost the biggest hold he had on you. Think about it. Pray about it.
Go to my Messages From the Music article for a link to Jake Hess performing “Death Ain’t No Big Deal”. I love that message and I believe it to be true.
While building your faith and preparing for whatever fate awaits you, don’t be afraid to speak God’s Truth. It drives the godless folks crazy!
May God’s light illuminate your life!