The Last Days
The following is a summary of the events which follow the church age and “The Last Days” as described in 2 Timothy 3:1 “But know this, that in the last days difficult times will come.”
The Bibles describes the next event on God’s calendar, when believers will be “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air, as the Rapture.
(Note: “rapture” is simply a derivative of the Latin word for “caught up” and is not in the Bible per se (fear not, the word “trinity” is also not in the Bible, but is nonetheless true).
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 “According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.“
John 14:2-3 “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Titus 2:13 “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
You should notice in these verses, that those believers who have previously died, and those alive, will be caught to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air. We will also, at that time, receive our glorified bodies (1 John 3:2). Also, we are to be encouraged with these words. Other passages, especially 2 Peter 2:9 which states “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial.” The trial in this situation is the Tribulation, discussed below.
Marriage Feast of the Lamb and Bema Judgment
Immediately after the Rapture in Heaven, there will be a celebration, known as the Marriage Feast or Supper of the Lamb. Christ the Lamb is the Bride Groom and the believers will be His Bride. Additionally, all believers will receive their rewards for those good deeds done as believers.
“Judgment seat” in 2 Corinthians 5:10 is from the Greek word “bema” and pertains to the elevated platform where athletes received their rewards. Believers are not judged for sin as Christ has already paid for our sins. Our good deeds, done as believers, and with the proper motivation will be rewarded, while worthless deeds will be burned up (1 Cor 13:15).
Revelation 19:7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”
2 Cor 5;10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
Matt 16:27 “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay each one according to his deeds.”
Eph 6:8 “knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord…”
Rev 22:12 “behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
The Great Tribulation
Meanwhile on earth…
Immediately after the removal of the Church from the earth in the Rapture, God will begin to pour out judgments upon the unbelieving world for a period of seven years, increasing in intensity in the second half.
Daniel 12:1 “…there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time…”.
Jer 30:7 “…it is the time of Jacob’s trouble…”.
2 Thess 2:7-12 “…that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth…the one whose coming is in accord wit the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders…for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged…”.
Revelation 16:1 “Then I heard a loud voice…saying…”Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”
The Great Tribulation will be a time of judgment from God upon the unsaved world. It will also be a time of great salvation as 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Rev 7:4), angels in the air (Rev 14:6), and the Two Witnesses (Rev 11) preach the gospel of Salvation. Many will be saved and many martyred (Rev 6:9). Those who survive will enter the Millenium as saved believers.
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Armageddon, and the Millennial Reign
At the end of the tribulation period, Christ returns to earth, will overcome and remove Satan, the AntiChrist, and the False Prophet at the Battle of Armageddon, and will bind Satan to establish a Thousand-Year Reign known as the Millennium.
Those who become believers during the Tribulation period, including the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, who were sealed and thus protected (Rev 7:4), marry, have children and live long lives. In spite of the peace, safety, and even presence of Jesus Christ, many still reject Jesus and align with Satan, who is freed for a brief time, for one last fruitless rebellion against Jesus Christ.
Revelation 20:1-10 “…an angel…laid hold of…Satan, and bound him for a thousand years…and when the thousand years are finished, Satan will be released from his prision, and will come out to deceive the nations…and they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil… was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone…and will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
The Great White Throne Judgment – Sheep and Goats
After Satan is thrown into the lake of fire, Jesus and the Saints, who are joint heirs, will judge both non-believers and fallen angels.
Revelation 20:11-15 “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sits upon it…the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened;…and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds…and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of Fire…and if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
John 5:22 “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,”
1 Cor 6:2-3 “do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world?…Do you not know that we will judge angels?
Hell, heaven and the earth are transitionary places. Hell is replaced by the Lake of Fire and New Heavens and New Earth will replace Heaven and Earth.
2 Peter 3:10-13 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, …But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”
How does the world respond to the above truths of the Word of God? As you would expect, with disbelief and even mocking. But, we know the truth – come quickly Lord Jesus.
2 Peter 3:3-6 “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue just as they were from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed by being flooded with water.”