Bible prophecy deals with three classes of People: the Jew; the Gentile; and the Church of God. To Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, and to his descendants after him, God gave all the land from the river Euphrates to the river of Egypt for an “everlasting possession” (1 Corinthians 10:32; Genesis 15:18-21;17:1-8).
Later God confirmed these promises to Moses and appointed Jerusalem be the place where His name would be worshipped (Deuteronomy 12:5,11,14,18,26).
About 500 years later God promised King David that his house and kingdom would be “established for ever”, and that there would always be one of his descendants to sit upon the throne of Israel. This line can be traced to both Mary the mother of Jesus Christ, and to Joseph the husband of Mary, thus making Jesus Christ the son of David and heir to the throne (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Luke1:30-33).
When Jesus Christ came in fulfilment of many Old Testament prophecies, Israel rejected her Messiah; and in fulfilment of Jesus’ own words Jerusalem was destroyed in AD70, after which the nation was scattered around the world (Luke 21:20-24).
The Rapture of the Church
Following Christ’s resurrection and ascension Israel was temporarily put aside and God turned to the Gentiles so that through the Church, the Body of Christ, He has made His Truth known for nearly 2,000 years (Ephesians 3:1-11; Romans 16:25,26).
Sadly, Christendom has apostatized, as Jesus said it would, and the Bible teaches that this “Church Age” will conclude with the Rapture, the “catching away” of all saved individuals after which Israel will turn back to the Lord and again be God’s witness on earth (Romans 11:25-27).
The Rapture will be sudden and unexpected. It will not be seen by the world. Those Christians who have died will be raised first, then those still living will be caught up together with them, in a moment, to meet the Lord “in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51; Luke 17:26-37).
The Rapture will be a sign to Israel that there are just seven more years before the Lord will return to establish His kingdom on earth for 1,000 years. In His final discourse to His Jewish disciples before He went to the cross, Jesus gave signs to Israel that would indicate His Kingdom was about to be established:
- Those who saw all the Tribulation judgments described in Matthew 24:7-28 would know His coming was “near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33). Jesus said, “that generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34).
- Conditions on earth would be like the days of Noah before the Flood when men were godless, immoral, materialistic, and
3) There would be the sudden disappearance of individuals from around the world; some in daylight hours and others at night as they slept. Jesus said, “One shall be taken and the other left.”
We know from the New Testament epistles that this will be the disappearance of the true believers that make up the “body of Christ” on earth. This departure is also known as the Rapture of the Church. After all the Christians have been removed Israel will turn to the Lord and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to all nations (Matthew 24:14).
The Coming Great Tribulation
Immediately after the Rapture Antichrist will appear from the Revived Roman Empire (EU) and “confirm a covenant with many for one week (7 years), but in the midst of the week he will cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease”(Daniel 9:27). The Jewish Temple will have been rebuilt next to the Mosque of Omar, and halfway through the 7 years of the Tribulation Antichrist will proclaim his own deity. This will be the Great Tribulation during which Israel will turn to the Lord and again become God’s witness on earth. The re-establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948, and its subsequent growth to 6.2 million Jews in the land by 2014, indicates that this time is drawing near (Ezekiel 36:16-38).
The Great Tribulation period is referred to as “The DAY of the LORD”; “The Time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) Trouble”; and the “70th week” (the last 7 years) of Israel’s prophetic history before Messiah returns. During this time there will be 144,000 Jews, from the 12 tribes of Israel, who will preach the Gospel of the Kingdom throughout the world; and many Gentiles will be saved through their testimony (1Thess.5:1-9; Daniel 9:24-27; Jeremiah 30:7 and Revelation 7:1-14).
Invasion of Israel and Israel’s Conversion
During the first half of the Tribulation, Russia will lead Iran, Turkey (Togarmah), Libya and Sudan (Ethiopia of ancient times), in a massive attack to liquidate Israel (Ezekiel 38 and 39; Joel 2). However, it will be this attack, and the preaching of 144,000 Jewish witnesses, that will bring Israel to cry out to the Lord. As Israel repents and acknowledges Jesus Christ as the Messiah, God will intervene and destroy these armies:
So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward (Ezekiel 39:22; Joel 2:12- 32; Romans 11:25-31;2 Corinthians 3:16; Acts 15:16).
The prophet Joel described this invasion, Israel’s repentance, and the destruction of the invading armies in chapter 2 of his prophecy, he wrote:
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand… a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness… Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping… Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation… Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people… and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:
But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate… (Joel 2:1-20).
After the combined armies of Russia and her Islamic allies are destroyed, Israel will be a changed people; they will now have turned to the Lord and Antichrist will seek to totally destroy them in a final holocaust.
With Islam devastated, Antichrist will take control of the Middle East, and a signal will be sent to the millions of Asia. An army of 200 million, raised by the ‘Kings of the East”, will cross the Euphrates for the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 9:13-21; Revelation 16:12-16). God says, “I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and…THEN shall the LORD go forth and fight against those nations … and His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the East” (Zech.14:1-4).
This army is not the “northern army” mentioned in Joel 2:20 for Joel begins chapter 3 with the words:
For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I WILL ALSO gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land (Joel 3:1-2).
The Second Coming of Christ
Immediately after the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:29), Christ will come with His saints in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, and
Every eye shall see Him, and they also who pierced Him (Israel): and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him (Revelation 1:7).
Isaiah the prophet wrote 700 years before Christ came:
It shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously (Isaiah 24:21-23).
Judgment of the Living Nations
All nations that survive the Tribulation will be gathered before Christ’s Throne of Glory at Jerusalem and divided, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats, depending on their attitude toward Israel, who will then be God’s repentant people. The Sheep (the saved nations) go alive into Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, and the Goats (the unsaved nations) will be consigned to “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 24:29,30; 25:31-46).
The Millennial Kingdom
Millennial Kingdom will last for 1,000 years, and during time the world which survives the Great Tribulation and the judgment of the nations, will experience incredible blessing
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).
The Lord Jesus Christ will reign from the Throne of David in Jerusalem, and Israel will administer the Law of the Lord from a glorious Temple where the light of God’s presence will continually shine (Isaiah 2:1-5; 60:19-22; 66:18-21; Ezekiel 43:7-9).
The Gentile nations that survive the Tribulation will go up to the Temple in Jerusalem to hear God’s Word and to worship the LORD of HOSTS (Psalms 72:8-11; Revelation 20:1-7; Zechariah 14:16-21).
New Heavens and New Earth
At the end of the Millennium, Satan will be released from the Bottomless Pit to test the nations. He will stir up a revolt against Christ, and Jerusalem will again be surrounded. Those nations will be destroyed with fire from heaven and Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire for ever.
The Second Resurrection, the “resurrection of the unjust”, will follow, when the unsaved of all time will finally be banished from God’s presence at the Great White Throne.
“Death (the grave) and hell (“hades” where the souls of the unsaved are in remand) delivered up the dead which were in them… and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
Finally, there will be the eternal state: a New Heaven and New Earth. The Church will be with Christ in the New Jerusalem for the names of the 12 Apostles are in its foundations, Israel will be around its walls for the names of the 12 tribes is inscribed on the 12 gates of the city. The Gentile nations of “them that are saved” from Old Testament times, the Tribulation, and the millennial Kingdom, will dwell in the New Earth, (Revelation 21:9,10,12, and 24).
The Second Coming of Christ is in two phases.
At the end of this age Christ will come “into the air” to catch away (rapture) His Church and thus conclude this present period of Gentile testimony. The dead in Christ will rise first and the living saints will be changed and caught up together with those who are raised. Only believers from this Church age are described as being “in Christ” which means we are in “the body of Christ”; His Church.
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many (1 Corinthians 12:13-14).
The Church is Christ’s Bride (2 Corinthians 11:2) and the wedding takes place in heaven while the Tribulation judgments are poured out on the earth.
After seven years of Great Tribulation, Christ will return with His saints “to the earth” to judge the nations and establish His Millennial Kingdom. The marriage supper of the Lamb occurs on earth when Christ returns with His Bride (Revelation 19:7-9).
When Christ returns He will gather His elect nation, Israel (Matthew 24:31), and also all surviving nations (Matthew 25:32). The living Gentile nations will be divided as sheep and goats. The sheep (saved Gentiles) will inherit the kingdom while the goats who received the mark of the “beast” (Antichrist) will be cast into the lake of fire. Christ will reign at Jerusalem on the throne of David as King of Kings and the saved nations that survive the Tribulation will serve Him (Zechariah 14:16). Israel as a redeemed people will rule as the ministers of the Lord (Isaiah 61:6).
Christ’s coming is imminent, personal, pre-tribulation (for His Church), and pre-millennial (with His saints).
There is no doubt we are living in the Last Days. Israel is back in the land in unbelief, Russia is aligning with the Muslim nations, Europe is coming together to provide a kingdom for Antichrist, and Asia has awakened. Other signs such as disease, wars, famine, a world population explosion, men “running to and fro”, increased knowledge, apostasy in the Churches, and spiritism abounding all over the world — are all predicted in the Word of God! The question remains, “Are you ready to meet God?”
If you are willing right now to turn from your sin and put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who bore the full punishment for your sin on the cross, you can know God’s forgiveness, and receive the gift of eternal life. If Christ came today, you would be caught up with all the saved to meet the Lord in the air.
As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God (John 1:12).
Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).