Article 8

By Steven J. Hogan

These are tumultuous days, days where there is terrorism and conflict all over the globe, where safety and security are becoming greater and greater concerns in our lives. As we approach the end of this age it is imperative that we know what’s going on in the world, and how then to think about it (1 Chronicles 12:32). But the right understanding about world events will not come from politicians, the news media or even religious leaders, but only from the Bible. It is God’s Word that rightly frames the issues, the events, the times we live in, and then instructs us how we are to live. Might we be hungry and diligent to know what God tells us will be taking place before the return of His Son, Jesus Christ. In Mark 13:23, a prophecy passage, Jesus says, “But take heed: behold, I have told you everything in advance.”

My purpose is to summarize what God has told us will happen in the end times, leading up to the end of this present evil age (Galatians 1:4), the return of Jesus Christ, and to the end of the next age, Christ’s millennial kingdom. But before I give you a prophetic overview of the future, what God predicts is going to happen in the years ahead, I need to give you an overview of the Biblical and historical past, and events that have led up to this present day.

It was about 2050 BC when God chose Abram to be the father of the Jewish people. He promised him a multitude of descendants and a large piece of land – land that stretched from Egypt on the south to Lebanon on the north, from the Mediterranean Sea on the west and to the Euphrates river on the east. And God also gave him a new name, Abraham. Genesis 15:18-19

Abraham had a son named Isaac, the son according to God’s promise. But he also had a son named Ishmael, a grandson named Esau, and a nephew named Lot. And herein lies much of the problems we see today in the Middle East. The descendants of Isaac are Jews and the descendants of Ishmael, Esau and Lot are for the most part Arabs, and many Arabs believe they are the rightful heirs to this land that God promised to Abraham. Many years later, this book called the Koran is written, falsely saying that Ishmael was the rightful heir to Abraham; but the Bible, the word of God, tells us the truth, that Isaac was the rightful heir. Therefore these two groups, the Jews and the Arabs, don’t get along so well, and for 1000’s of years, there’s been this continual, intense and at times bloody conflict between them. Genesis 16:11-12, Psalm 83

Now Isaac had a son named Jacob, and Jacob had a son named Joseph. But due to some extremely difficult but providential circumstances Joseph settled in Egypt, and eventually his whole family came there to live. To make a long story short, over a period of about 400 years, Joseph’s family of 75 grew to a family of over two million people. Acts 7:11-40, Nehemiah 9

It was about 1400BC, and the time came for God to bring His people to the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Through many miracles, signs and wonders, God used Moses to deliver the Israelites out of slavery, out of Egypt, and then into the desert, where they lived for 40 years. It was Joshua though, who was God’s man to actually lead the Jews out of the desert and into the promised land. Exodus, Joshua

Then for about 340 years, God raised up Judges to rule over rebellious Israel, and to deliver them from their enemies. After the Judges, God raised up Samuel, then Saul, and then a king, named David, who helped Israel to become the most powerful nation in the world at that time in history. Then, in a most wonderful promise, God told David that one of his own descendants would become the future and eternal king over the entire world. This promise, referring to the Messiah, to Jesus Christ Himself, will come true at the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. 2 Samuel 7

As time went on, the Israelites kept rejecting God, and were worshiping idols and other gods. Now God was very, very patient with them over the years, but finally God had enough, and His holiness, His justice prevailed, and therefore God rightfully rejected them, and then punished them by bringing Israel’s enemies, the Assyrians and Babylonians into their land to judge them. The books of the Prophets summarize this 350 year period of sin and rebellion by the Jews, and of God’s wrath, His punishment upon them.

Many Jews were exiled at that time, but one person who was taken to the Babylonian kingdom was a teenager named Daniel, and he was a godly man, and a wise leader among the Babylonians, and an interpreter of dreams. As time went on, Daniel predicted some of the most important events regarding the future, but particularly some things relevant to the nature of the world in the “time of the end”, the end times, the days of our own lives. Daniel 12:4, 9

One such important prediction was found in Daniel 9 where Daniel prophesied that there would be exactly 490 years of judgment upon Israel for their sin. But after 483 years, the one who was to be the future ruler and King of the world, this coming Messiah, the one called Jesus Christ, would be killed. Daniel also predicted that at the beginning of the last 7 years there would arise a cruel and powerful ruler who would confirm a peace treaty with Israel. This ungodly ruler, this “little horn”, would come to be known as the antichrist. He would lead this mighty multination kingdom that would be the power base by which he would be a global leader, an evil dictator, and by which he would rule the entire world. Daniel 7

It was about 550 years after Daniel that this Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became the Son of man, for this descendant of David came to earth, being born of the virgin Mary. This Jesus, this Messiah, lived a perfect life, loving people, teaching people, healing people, casting out demons, and encouraging people to repent of their sins and believe in Him to as to receive  forgiveness of their sins and eternal life. Mark 1:15, John 5:24

But for God to spiritually pardon us of our sins and give us eternal life, Jesus Christ had to die on the cross. And it was on the cross that Christ took our sins upon Himself, thereby paying the penalty that we should have paid. Jesus Christ died in our place and God punished Him, His own Son, instead of punishing us. Romans 3:23, 2 Corinthians 5:21, John 3:16, John 5:24, 1 Peter 3:18. Three days after Jesus died, God miraculously raised Him from the dead and gave Him a glorified and immortal body. He then appeared to His disciples, continuing to teach them, and finally commissioning them to go make disciples of all the nations until the end of this age. Then Jesus Christ ascended into heaven to be with His Father, where He is now reigning with Him and building the church. Matthew 28:19-20. After Jesus’ departure His disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, and were enabled to be powerful witnesses and preachers of the life of Jesus Christ and the truth of His gospel.

The church age had started. But God was not nullifying but only suspending His promises and plans for the Jews. And it was in 70 AD, according to Jesus’ prediction in Luke 19, 21, and 23, that God was again punishing the Jews for there rejection of Him, and specifically of Jesus Christ. This time the wrath of God was being carried out by the Romans, and subsequently the Israelites were scattered to cities and countries all over the world. During this time the church was growing, and was being greatly persecuted. And through all the years up until this 21st century, the church has continued to grow, being built by Jesus Christ Himself. Yes, it has has been attacked by the devil, and suffered from error, but God has been faithful to His church. But the Jews have continually been trampled upon, and have greatly suffered and have been killed. Then in the 20th century came the tragedy of all tragedies, terror of all terrors, when during World War II, Adolph Hitler and his wicked regime systematically killed over 6,000,000 Jews. Luke 21:20-28

But God used this terrible tragedy to move in the hearts of world leaders; and miracle of miracles, in 1948, God gave back to the Jewish people their own country. God’s promise, God’s prediction from 2500 years before this time finally came true. Jewish people from all over the world, from the United States, South America, Europe, Russia and Africa, have been moving back to the land that is once again called Israel. Amazingly and miraculously they have retained their unique identity, language, culture and religion. They have repopulated the land so that there are now over 6.3 million Jews in the land of Israel. And even in spite of much opposition from neighboring Arab countries since that time, the Jews have physically and wonderfully restored and rejuvenated the land so that the nation of Israel is once again a very prosperous country. Ezekiel 36-37, Isaiah 11

The fact that the Jews are back in Israel is the single major event, I repeat, the single major event that tells us that we are in the end times, that time period predicted by Daniel, that takes place right before the return of Jesus Christ. But what is Biblically prophesied to take place before the end of this age? And specifically what is the next major prophetic event to take place before the coming of Christ and the resurrection and rapture of the Christians? Remember Daniel’s prophecy of 490 years of judgment for the Jews? Well, 483 years have already passed and the last week, Daniel’s 70th week is still left. There are seven years in this one last week that relate directly to these end times, and specifically to prophesied events that will come to pass, seven long and most critical and difficult years that have not yet begun.

This will be a 7 year period of time in which the spiritual forces of God and the spiritual forces of the devil will fight each other like never before, but the devil will be no match for God. It will be both a time of great salvation and a time of great judgment. It will be a time when we will first witness the coming of the antichrist and then we will witness the coming of Christ. It will be that time when the Lord’s prayer is finally answered,“Thy kingdom has come, thy will is now being done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10, 2 Thessalonians 2

Let me specifically point out to you some of the major events of this 7 year time period:  The peace treaty that was predicted in Daniel 9:27, or as Isaiah calls it, the “Covenant of Death”, will be signed. There are a number of things to notice about this peace treaty. It is the next major event on the prophetic calendar that needs to take place.  It will be signed right at the beginning of this 7 year time period spoken of by Daniel. It will be confirmed or signed by an individual who will later be revealed as the antichrist. It will be needed. At this time the tension between Israel and other nations surrounding them is so obvious. This treaty will be the answer that many world leaders will be looking for.  One of the conditions of this treaty will likely be that the Jews will be able to rebuild their temple, and once again offer their Jewish prescribed sacrifices.

This treaty will result in only a temporary and pseudo peace for the Jews, for the Jews will not be trusting in God, but will be putting their hope in a man, and in a very bad man, for one of the initiators of this treaty will later be revealed as the antichrist. This treaty is destined not to work, and as we will see, it will soon be broken. After this peace treaty is signed, there will be a number of events occurring on the earth in rapid succession. They are spoken of in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21 and in Revelation 6. These events, though all occurring in the world at this time, will then greatly increase. There will be more false christs, more wars and rumors of wars, more earthquakes, and more famines and plagues around the world, and there will be major global economic problems.

Matthew 24 tells us that these events, like the birth pains of a mother, will increase in frequency and intensity. They will come quicker and quicker, and get stronger and stronger. Millions and millions of people will die during this time. At this time, there will also be the formation of this 10 nation empire, and the antichrist will be the ruler of this ten nation empire, this power base by which he will control the world. Daniel 7

This will be a most anxious, disturbing, unsettling and conflicting time in the world. With our very advanced communication system, with TV, internet and smart phones, we’ll know a lot of what is going on around the world; we’ll be hearing about it and watching it for it will be brought home to us loud and clear. This will be a very difficult time to be alive. And don’t you think that people will be looking and longing for some type of savior to lead them out of the mess that the world is in? Don’t you think that conditions on the earth will be ripe for a dictator who they hope will deliver them from the problems in the world. You bet they will.

The next major event, taking place at the midpoint, at the 3½ year point of this 7 year period is when the antichrist desecrates the Jewish temple. Daniel 9, Matthew 24. Both Jews and Christians will then know for certain the identity of this one we call the antichrist. Then this antichrist, this beast, this man of lawlessness, as he is also called, will begin great tribulation against the Jews in Israel, which then spreads out against Jews and Christians all over the world. This time of great tribulation will be without question the greatest persecution Jews or Christians have ever encountered on this earth. Revelation 12:17

But the unbelievers won’t know the antichrist’s true nature, that he is filled with the devil himself. They will be greatly deceived. They are in awe of this new leader and are more than willing to follow him. And they’re happy, for he’s bringing peace, the economy is getting better, and this new leader is getting rid of those despicable Jews and Christians. But these unbelievers are led astray by this powerful and charismatic leader and by his partner, the man called the false prophet, the man who will do all these amazing miracles. And the false prophet  uses these miracles to authenticate the purpose, position and power of the antichrist.

It is at this midpoint of this seven year period that the antichrist consolidates his control over the world. It is at this time that the unbelievers will be worshiping the antichrist through an image, probably through the internet and smart phones. They will also be swearing allegiance to the antichrist by taking his mark, what is called the mark of the beast, which when placed on or embedded in a person’s hand or forehead, will be the only way a person can do business, can either buy and sell. What is so amazing is that the technology the antichrist will need is very likely now or very close to being developed and ready for use. Revelation 13

Please understand, that this antichrist, this world dictator, will be a very wicked man. He will be in charge of the world militarily, politically, economically and spiritually. At this time all religions will have been abolished, and it will be the religion of the antichrist, for he alone, the devil’s man on earth, will be worshiped. But the true Christians and a remnant of Jews will not take this mark and will not worship the antichrist, and many will then be persecuted for their refusal to do so.

Then suddenly, sometime during the last half of this 7 year period, at an unknown time to us, there will be a great earthquake, and great signs in the heavens, for the sun will turn black and the moon will turn red. And then there will be a great and brilliant light in the skies, and this is the Shekinah glory of Christ. Immediately this is followed by the shout of Christ heard round the world, then a loud trumpet blast and then a super loud command given by an angel.

At this time Jesus Christ returns in the clouds and is visibly seen all over the world. He brings relief to the Christians who have been going through this great persecution, rescuing them from the wrath of God that is soon to come upon the earth. Then the dead in Christ, those who have previously died, will be resurrected, and then the Christians living on earth, will be raptured, so that all believers from all time and from all over the world, will be gathered together to be with Jesus Christ, being immediately glorified, becoming like Christ Himself. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

Shortly after the rapture, and in fact exactly 30 minutes later (Revelation 8:1), God will judge the unbelievers on earth, pouring out His wrath on them. This time period is called the Day of the Lord, His righteous wrath on earth. But right before this, God had supernaturally sealed 144000 Jews, for His desire is to physically protect these Jews during this time of judgment on earth so that they will be physically and spiritually saved, and will be the first fruits of a great number of Jews who will be saved at the end of the 70th week of Daniel.

Now the first part of the Day of the Lord is given to us in Revelation 8-9, and this speaks of six separate trumpet judgments. It is marked by fire, darkness and destruction, and by demonized locusts inflicting five months of pain and torture on every person on the earth. But the worst judgment is the sixth judgment, when 1/3 of the people in the world are suddenly and righteously killed. Then these trumpet judgments end, marking the end of the 7 year period spoken of by Daniel. Then this great number of Jews who have physically been saved from God’s wrath are now spiritually saved. They recognize Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and they repent of their sins, believe in Him for mercy, and begin to worship Him. Romans 11:26-27, Isaiah 53, Psalm 130

But Christ is not yet done with His judgments of the people and nations of the earth, and it is Revelation 16 that tells us about the next set of judgments, the bowl judgments. Painful sores break out on people, water is turned to blood, fire is scorching the people, and total darkness covers the land. Can you imagine what this is like? Then God’s enemies are gathered to a place called Armageddon in Israel. It’s there that the antichrist and his armies are finally and totally defeated by Jesus Christ and the heavenly armies. Then, the antichrist and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire where they will never die, but will forever be separated from God and His Glory, and forever be punished for their great sins against a holy God. Hallelujah!

It is at this time that Christ’s enemies are now completely gone from earth, and so thus begins His reign on the earth during what is called the millennial kingdom. He will rule with a rod of iron. He will bring justice to every square inch of this planet. He will show mercy and love. There will be “peace on earth, good will towards men,” the most wonderful and prosperous time on earth since the beginning days of Adam and Eve. Genesis 1-2; Psalms 47, 67, 72

But even then, not all the people will bow to Christ. In fact, at the end of this 1000 years, Satan will be let loose and will deceive many people on the earth. But then God will quickly capture this devil, and cast him into the lake of fire. Then there will be what I believe is the most sobering time in all of human history, the great white throne judgment. All unbelievers from all time will be gathered together before the Lord Jesus Christ, the most holy and honorable Judge in the entire world. There they will be judged for all their sins, and be declared guilty and worthy of eternal judgment, and then they will be thrown into the lake of fire, where they will be forever, painfully and deservedly punished for their sinful crimes against a holy and just God. Revelation 20

Indeed, Jesus Christ is coming back and He is coming back soon, to take up the saints, take out His enemies, and take over the world. But to understand the truth of Christ’s second coming it is essential that you understand the truth of Christ’s first coming. You need to know why Christ came the first time, that He came to die, to be crucified on the cross, to be punished by His Father for the sins of man. Do you believe that Jesus Christ died for you? Do you know that your sins are forgiven? Do you know if you have eternal life, an everlasting relationship with God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and the Holy Spirit? The main issue is not what is going to happen to the world, but what is going to happen to you. When Jesus Christ comes back, will you go to be with Him, and then on up to heaven, or will you stay on this earth and be punished with fire? Will you then be in Hades, a most terrible, terrifying and painful holding place for 1000 years, awaiting final judgement? And will you then face Jesus Christ at the great white throne judgment with nothing to say to Him, except “I am guilty your Honor,” and then be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity?

Your salvation from your sins and your deliverance from Satan, death and hell is without question the most serious issue in your life. If you have not yet been saved, then today can be the day of your salvation. Turn from your sins, sincerely telling God that you are sorry that you sinned against him, and admitting to Him that you rebelled against Him. And believe that God loved you by having His own Son Jesus Christ die for all your sins, and that the debt you owed God for your sin was paid in full by Christ. Do not trust in yourself or in anything you have done, but place your trust fully and only in Jesus Christ for salvation, for your forgiveness, for eternal fellowship with God and Jesus Christ, and for your future in heaven, and on earth, with Him and all the other angels and saints. Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Peter 3:18