Every Bible student is thrilled to be able to read about events that are still future. Only in the Bible is the future unfolded. Let’s consider some of these events in the order in which they will happen.
I. CHRIST'S COMING FOR HIS SAINTS
The next event to occur on God’s calendar is the coming of Christ to take His people home to heaven. I Thessalonians 4:13-18. This is known as the “Rapture” of the Church. Christ will descend from heaven, the trumpet will sound and the bodies of believers who have died will be raised. Then Living believers will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.
It will happen in the “blinking” of your eye. This passage of Scripture is the play by play account of this event. Read it slowly and carefully, because it is about you if you know Jesus Christ as your Savior today. I Corinthians 15:51-58. Maybe today!
Note the following facts about the coming of Christ.
A. It may happen at any moment. Matthew 25:13; Revelation 22:7
B. Only those who are truly saved will participate. I Corinthians 15:23.
C. Not all believers will die but all will be changed. I Corinthians 15:51.
D. They shall be like Christ. I John 3:2; Romans 8:16-25.
II. THE GREAT TRIBULATION
Matthew 24:5-31 and much of the book of Revelation covers this period of time on earth. After the Rapture, the earth will experience a period of great suffering and sorrow known as the Great Tribulation. During this period, the Jewish people will return to the land of Palestine in unbelief. A great evil ruler will arise known as “Antichrist” (meaning against Christ). He will demand worship from the people. He will deceive Israel. It will be a time of such great suffering that and unless the days are shortened, no life will survive. However, God will preserve those Jewish people who have been faithful to Him.
III. CHRIST’S COMING TO REIGN
In the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation, the Anti-Christ will convince the Jews that he is their friend and will seemingly work for their protection. In the middle of the seven years, he will turn on the Jews and reveal who he really is. Then great persecution and battles such as have never been known in history will take place, ending with the battle of Armageddon.
Malachi 4:1-3. At the end of the Tribulation period, the Lord Jesus Christ, along with those who were raptured, will come back with Him to the earth in great power and glory, and we will reign with Him. He will destroy His enemies, including Antichrist, and judge those nations, which persecuted faithful Jews. Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit for 1000 years. Revelation 20:1-3.
IV. THE MILLENNIUM
Isaiah 32:1; 35:1-7; 65:17-25. When His work of judgment has been completed, Christ will set up His kingdom on the earth. Jerusalem will be His capital. He will reign upon the earth for a thousand years. This period is known as the millennium. It will be an era of peace and happiness. We read that nature will be entirely different, for the lion will lie down with the lamb. The desert will blossom like the rose. Men will live to very old ages. It will be a time of great prosperity. There will be no wars. Although sin will not be entirely absent, it will be punished immediately whenever it occurs.
V. THE JUDGEMENT OF THE GREAT WHITE THRONE
Revelation 20:11-I5. At the end of Christ's 1000-year reign, the Judgment of the Great White Throne will take place. This is the judgment of the wicked dead. No saved persons will be involved. The graves will give up the bodies of unbelievers, and Hades or hell will give up their souls. They will then stand before Christ to be judged. The books will be opened. Rev. 20:11-15. All of their works will be judged. Finally, because their names are not found in the Lamb's book of life, they will be found guilty and sentenced to the Lake of Fire to suffer conscious and eternal punishment.
Revelation 21:1-8. The final picture of the future is the eternal state. The earth as we know it will have been destroyed by fire. Time, as we know it, will have ceased. All true believers will be enjoying endless happiness in heaven. All who have rejected the Savior will be suffering in the blackness of darkness forever. The ultimate question that faces each one of us and must be answered by each one of us as we draw to the end of Part I of What the Bible Teaches is "Where will I spend eternity?"