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End Times: An Overview

Overview

What will happen in the future on earth according to the Bible.

 

  • Introduction
    • A prophetic overview refers to what will happen in the future on earth according to the Bible. Much of the Bible (about twenty five percent) was prophecy when it was written. Within this twenty-five percent there are central passages that bring out the prophetic overview (Daniel 2, Daniel 7-9, Daniel 11-12; Ezekiel 38-39; Matthew 24-25; 2 Thessalonians 2; Revelation 6-21).
    • Prophecy is set within the angelic conflict, the theocratic program, and dispensations.
      • The angelic conflict is the spiritual warfare in which Satan and his fallen angels are pitted against God’s elect angels, Israel, and believers (Jude 9; Revelation 12:1-4; Ephesians 6:10-13; 1 Peter 5:8).
      • The theocratic kingdom program is God’s plan for reestablishing His rightful rule over creation and restoring creation and especially man to fellowship and harmony with Him. God chose Israel as the nation and Jesus Christ as the Savior to accomplish His redemptive program. Therefore, Israel has a future and Jesus Christ will reign as King over the earth (Genesis 3:15; Genesis 12:1-3; John 12:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 24-28).
      • A dispensation is an administration of human history (or period of time) in the progressively revealed plan of God distinguished by doctrine, people, administrators, and events (Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 3:1-12). Time (human history) is divided by God into four basic administrations: 1) Age of the Gentiles (Genesis 1-11); 2) Age of Israel (Genesis 12 – Gospels and Revelation 4 – 19); 3) Church Age (Acts – Revelation 3); 4) Millennium, the rule of Christ on earth (Isaiah 11; Psalm 72; Daniel 2:4-45; and Revelation 20).
  • Daniel
    • Daniel 2 pictures four great Gentile empires in the form of a statue. These empires will exist during the times of the Gentiles – the time that Gentile powers exercise rule over Jerusalem (Luke 21:24). The times of the Gentiles run from the Babylonian takeover until Christ comes to the earth the second time. The head of gold is Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar; the silver chest and arms are Media-Persia; the bronze belly and thighs refer to Greece; the iron legs and iron and clay feet refer to Rome. This fourth empire will be destroyed, and then replaced by God’s kingdom.
    • Daniel 7 shows the same four empires in the form of four beasts. The lion with eagle’s wings is Babylon; the bear standing on one side with three ribs in its mouth is Media-Persia; the leopard with four wings and four heads is Greece; and the dreadful beast with ten horns is Rome. The ten horns of Rome refer to later kings. Another horn (king) will arise and dominate this later form of Rome. This king will attempt to overthrow God, but he and his kingdom will be destroyed by God.
    • Daniel 8 gives the story of the Greek (goat, Daniel 8:21) takeover of Media-Persia (ran, Daniel 8:20). After the division of Greece into four kingdoms (four horns, Daniel 8:22), a ruler (Antiochus Epiphanes, ruled Syria 175-164 BC) will arise from one of the four kingdoms. He will plague Israel and desecrate the temple.
    • Daniel 9 adds that a future prince will rule during the seven year Tribulation period that occurs right before Christ’s second coming. He will rule over a revived Roman empire (“the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary” refers to the Roman destruction in AD 70). This prince will make a peace treaty with Israel, and then break it after three and one-half years. He will desecrate the temple like Antiochus did many years before.
    • Daniel 11 predicts the victory by Alexander over Persia. It continues by describing the breakup of Greece into four factions. The prophecy then centers on the conflicts between Syria and Egypt including a more complete prophecy about Antiochus Epiphanes IV. From Daniel 11:36 on, another king comes into view. He follows the pattern of Antiochus, but his reign is “at the end time” known as the Tribulation. Toward the end of the seven year period the kings of the North, South, and East will go against him in battle. He will move his armies into Palestine and strike the invaders. These events occur sometime after and are different from the Gog-Magog battle found in Ezekiel 38-39.
    • Daniel 12 relates these events to the “time of distress such as never occurred.” This of course is the Tribulation. A resurrection is noted to occur at the second coming of Christ.
  • Ezekiel
    • Ezekiel 38 describes the Lord hooking the jaws of an army from the remote parts of the north and bringing that army south to invade Israel at a time when Israel has a sense of security (Ezekiel 38:8, 11). The northern power is associated with what is today the Soviet Union. This power leads a coalition (Ezekiel 38:5-6) which includes Persia (Iran) in the east, Ethiopia (Cush – northern Sudan) in the south, Put (Libya) in the west, Gomer (from the north in Europe), and Togarmah (also from the north).The time of the invasion is difficult to fix, but probably occurs in the middle of the Tribulation about the time that the Beast-Dictator breaks his covenant of peace with Israel. The attackers are violently destroyed (Ezekiel 38:18-23). As a result of this battle the leader of the fourth beast empire occupies Israel.
    • Ezekiel 39 predicts the confusion and destruction of the northern army. After God defeats the army there will be a massive cleanup. It will take years to remove the bodies and the weapons. Two things result from this victory: Israel will acknowledge the Lord and the Lord will restore them to their land.
  • Matthew
    • In Matthew 24 Christ tells His disciples what will happen from the time He is speaking until He comes back to rule His millennial kingdom. The first 14 verses present general signs that will occur throughout the period. These signs include the appearance of false Christ’s, wars and rumors of wars, and the increase of lawlessness and apostasy. Then, one specific sign will happen which will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation – the Abomination of Desolation, or pagan statue will be set up in the temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15). Daniel also predicted this. When this occurs people will know that Christ will return soon. This definitive sign has not occurred yet.
    • Matthew 25 adds that when Christ returns He will judge all people. The believers will go into His millennial kingdom while unbelievers will be removed from the earth and judged by God.
  • 2 Thessalonians
    • 2 Thessalonians 2 says that the fearful day of the Lord will be preceded by great apostasy and the appearance in history of the Man of Lawlessness – the Beast-Dictator, the Horn that rises up, the Prince that will come. He will demand worship; Satan will “bless” him; he will use evil supernatural power to deceive people. The church will be removed before he takes control. Neither of these events has occurred yet.
  • Revelation
    • Revelation 6-19 reveals a series of God’s judgments upon the earth. They will occur during the seven year tribulation period. This is the time of the revived fourth empire of Daniel’s prophecy; the time the Prince of the Romans will make a treaty with Israel; the time of the Gog-Magog battle of Ezekiel 38-39; the time when the horn of Daniel will arise and control the world; the time when the abomination will be set up in the temple in Jerusalem; and the time when the kings of the West, East, North, and South will battle in Israel as Daniel 11:40-45 predicts.
    •  Revelation 13 speaks of the fourth empire that Daniel predicted and the dictator of this empire, the Beast-Dictator. The chapter also speaks of the religious beast who will promote the political dictator.
    • Revelation 17 interrupts the bowl judgment sequence so that an angel can expand on one aspect of the judgments, the judgment of religious internationalism, which is Satan’s religious system. This religious system is centered in the rebuilt city of ancient Babylon or another city having ancient Babylon’s characteristics – Rome.
    • Revelation 18 continues the digression in order to describe the destruction of political and economic internationalism, also apparently centered in either Babylon or Rome.
    • Revelation 19 pictures the return of Christ and His victory at Armageddon, while chapter 20 discusses the millennial kingdom that will follow the second coming of Christ.
  • Summary
    • There will be trends toward political and religious internationalism. The occult will flourish, spiritual apostasy will become more and more open. The Middle East will be a powder keg ready to explode.
    • The Lord will come in the air and give all church age believers resurrection bodies. He will take them to be with Him in heaven.
    • The revived fourth beast empire, a ten nation confederacy of European and Mediterranean nations, probably based on the European Economic Community, will emerge.
    • One man will gain the upper hand over all ten nations. He will become the Beast-Dictator of the Revived Roman Empire.
    • This dictator will make a treaty with Israel. Israel will have relative security for three and one-half years.
    • Russia – or the power from the far North – will invade Israel, probably in the middle of the seven year tribulation period. This invasion army will be mysteriously destroyed.
    • The western dictator will break the peace treaty with Israel and move into Palestine. He will use the temple for worship of himself. This will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation. The dictator will appoint a religious dictator who will direct the dictator worship and control the economy through a mark placed on a person’s right hand or forehead.
    • Supernatural disasters, suffering of all types, and persecution of believers and Jews become commonplace. During all of this many, many Jews will witness for Christ.
    •  Both religious and political Babylon will be destroyed. The political dictator will destroy religious Babylon and God will destroy political Babylon.
    • Three great armies will march into Israel – from the North, East, and South – to battle the fourth world power – the western dictator and his army. This will turn into the final battle of Armageddon.
    • Christ will return to earth and defeat all these armies. He will establish His millennial kingdom.

Last Update

Tuesday, January 1, 1991