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End Times Bible Prophecy Beginner's Primer

Revelation chapter 1 begins by noting that there is a "blessing" reseved for those who will study the book. Chapter 1 verse 3 reads:

3  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

The word "blessed" (μακάριος, makarios, mak-ar'-ee-os) means to be happy or contented ... or to be at peace. The blessing from reading, hearing, and keeping (pondering) the prophecy of the book is that you will have a distinct advantage over others. You will be at peace because you read and understand the events that unfold in the world around you. While others are panicking and freaking out, you are calm and at peace because you know how it all plays out.

Therefore it behooves us to study the book of Revelation and the end time events.

1. The Word Revelation Means "To Reveal or to Lay Bare"

And that is exactly what the book does, it reveals future events ... we call this prophecy.

2. The "Revelation" Is NOT of "St. John The Divine" But of Jesus Christ

Revelation 1:1 tells us this

1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

3. The Church Age

Romans 11:25 is but one of the verses that helps us to understand that in the first century God turned His attention away from His chosen people and toward the Gentile World.

25  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

This is sometimes referred to as "the times of the Gentiles" that is referenced in Luke 21:24

24  And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

In Acts chapter 17, the Apostle Paul stands and preaches at Mars Hill in Athens and references this time by acknowledging that God had predetermined the rulers and their boundaries.

There is so much more we could get into on this point but for now let us focus on the period of time we call "the church age".

The Church Age is the period of time from Pentecost (Acts 2) until the Rapture when the Gentiles are invited to participate in the blessing of the Abrahamic covenant.

During this Church Age, God has extended an invitation to all, to anyone who will accept His offer of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.

Because Israel rejected Christ, we who are Gentiles got invited to the celebration. HOWEVER, God did not permanently turn His back on Israel, He only turned His attention from them for a period of time. God WILL keep His promise to Israel and turn His attention back to them as a people and as a nation. This period of time is called The Great Tribulation. But before that happens there is an event that must happen first ... 

4. The Rapture of The Church

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

13  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

The Church Age will end with an event that most people call "The Rapture". The word "rapture" derives from a Greek word "harpazo" which means "to snatch away".

The Rapture is the snatching away all Christians before the beginning of the tribulation.

5. The Tribulation

Revelation chapters 6 - chapter 19

After the Rapture of the church comes a time that is commonly referred to as "the Tribulation".

The Tribulation is a seven (7) year period that begins when the Antichrist signs a peace covenant (treaty) with Israel and it ends with the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

NOTE: The Second Coming of Jesus and the Rapture are two distinct events that often gets conflated. The Rapture takes place at the end of the Church age and the saints (christians, or believers) will rise to meet Him (Jesus) in the air. The Second Coming of Christ occurs at the END of the seven (7) year period called The Tribulation when Jesus actually sets foot on the Mt. of Olives.

The purpose of the Tribulation is essentially two-fold: 1) the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles and 2) the condemnation of unbelievers

6. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

Revelation 19:11-16

11  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

12  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

13  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

14  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

15  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

16  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

As mentioned above, the Second Coming of Christ is a visible return of Jesus Christ to establish His kingdom on earth.

The Second Coming occurs at the end of the climax of the the Tribulation at the battle of Armageddon. The Battle of Armageddon is a battle in which the armies and the powers of the world will seek to defeat Antichrist and his forces. However, as the worlds forces prepare to destroy one another, the heavens will suddenly open and all eyes will look upward and see the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

7. The Millennium 

Revelation 20:1-3

1  And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

2  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

3  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

The Millennium is a thousand (1,000) year period of time which Jesus Christ will reign on the earth, thus fulfilling God's promises to Abraham and his believing descendants.

God made a literal, eternal, and unconditional promise to Abraham that his descendants would one day possess a specific land and that one of his descendants would rule the entire world.

The Old Testament prophets anticipated, with great anxiousness this early reign of the "Messiah".

Isaiah 11: 4, 6, 9

4  But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

6  The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

9  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

It would be IMPOSSIBLE to place these prophecies about Christ's rule on the earth on this present age or any previous. This is referencing a future time that is prior to the "new heaven and new earth" that is described in Revelation 21 & 22.

8. The Great White Throne Judgment

Revelation 20:11-15

11  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Although, only Christians (followers of & believers in Jesus Christ) will enter into the Millennium (the unbelievers who survived the 7 year tribulation will be judged at the Second Coming of Christ). What about the people born during the Millennium who will choose to follow Satan rather than Christ?

Those people will stand before the Great White Throne where God Himself, the Righteous Judge, will pronounce eternal judgement on all of these who chose Satan over Christ.

The Great White Throne judgement is the FINAL judgement against all unbelievers who have ever lived.

9. Eternity

Revelation 21 & 22

"Eternity" or "Eternity Future" to be more specific, refers to the permanent state of believers who inhabit the new heaven and the new earth, while unbelivers are inhabiting the Lake of Fire.

After the Great White Throne judgement, the present earth will be copletely destroyed by fire. (2 Peter 3:7-10)

7  But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8  But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Following the destruction of this present earth, there will be an unveiling of a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1-4).

1  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

It is significant that John saw both a new heaven and a new earth. Many Christians have been taught that our eternal home will be in heaven, but as we see later in Revelation, that the new earth, not heaven, will be our final destination.

Likewise, just as the new earth is the final destination of believers, the Lake of Fire will be the permanent destination of the unbeliever.

The WHOLE point of studying the "end-times" is to lead people to trust in Christ alone for their salvation. And for those who have already called out by faith to receive Jesus Christ as their Saviour, then studying the end times should cause us to want to tell the world about Jesus.