For many weeks a large percentage of us have been considered vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus and have been effectively quarantined in our homes, away from church buildings and restaurants where we meet to study the Word of God. I miss all of you very much, and look forward to the time we can gather together again, the Lord willing.
However, this situation has afforded us an opportunity to contemplate on the fragile nature of the world we live in. Until February, we were in good shape, economically, politically, with our personal and religious freedoms intact. All of a sudden, an unknown and invisible organism attacked us more deadly than any attack any foreign army has unleashed on us before. Over 50,000 people have died, and countless others have contracted debilitating illnesses. The medically unaffected have had their personal freedoms torn away to avoid coming in contact with the vicious organism. Some of us have had a loved one die in the hospital without having a relative at hand to say farewell! In many ways our cultural and family world has been turned upside down.
Now that we have experienced first hand a pandemic that can bring disaster so suddenly here and world wide, we should think about what the Word of God has to say about future events. The following is a proposed scenario of the Biblical prophecies of future events.
Church Age. Since the Day of Pentecost, based upon the death and resurrection of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit, we have been in the Church Age for 2,000 years. During this age the Gospel has gone out to Jews and Gentiles throughout the world, and believers have been baptized into the Body of Christ with eternal life. However, the Lord Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24-25 that between His first and second comings there would be wars and pestilences, so we should not be surprised about having world wars and plagues occur during this age. We are awaiting the imminent Rapture of the Church which ends the Church Age.
Rapture. At any moment Christ will return in the air together with the souls of the dead Church Age saints, who will be rejoined with their bodies and resurrected. Immediately afterward those who are still alive will be transformed into resurrection bodies and ascend with them to meet Christ in the air, Then He will take all the resurrected Church Age saints with Him to heaven.
I Thes 4:13-18
Gog & Magog War. The Rapture of the Church will throw the world into confusion, and Russia will gather several select nations to attack Israel, but the Lord will totally destroy the invading armies with fire and earthquakes, so that the dead bodies lie all over and are consumed by a vast array of vultures. Meanwhile, Israel escapes fatalities and realizes this victory is caused by God. Ezek. 38-39.
The Tribulation. Out of the devastation of the Gog and Magog War, the Antichrist will rise to power. He will accomplish satanic signs and wonders and cause great delusion to fall upon the unbelieving mankind. He might con Israel into believing that he was responsible for Israel having the victory in the Gog and Magog War. He will propose a seven year treaty with Israel offering long desired peace and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. The 144,000 Jewish witnesses are sealed and preach the Gospel of Christ, bringing many Jews and Gentiles to faith and refusing to take the Mark of the Beast. In the middle of the Tribulation the Antichrist will enter the rebuilt Temple, claiming to be God, thus committing the abomination of desolation. The believing Jews will flee from Judea into the wilderness, probably Petr, and await the Second Coming of Christ. The Antichrist will amass a gigantic army of all the nations to come against Israel.
The Second Coming of Christ The Lord Jesus gathers in heaven all the saints of all ages, and mounts His white horse to lead them against the army of the Antichrist and the War of Armageddon. He defeats them and casts the Antichrist and his False Prophet into the Lake of Fire. When He returns all Israel will receive Him, will be saved and will enter into His Millennial Kingdom. He will then judge the Gentiles to determine which ones will enter into the Kingdom with saved Israel. The sheep are those Gentiles who demonstrated their righteousness by helping the least of Christ"s brethren (the 144,000?) during the Tribulation. The goats are the Gentiles, those who did not, and are cast into the Lake of Fire. Christ sits upon His throne, rebuilds Jerusalem and the Temple and rules the world for 1,000 years. The Old Testament saints will be resurrected and we will rule with them. At the end of the Millennium, Satan will be released from his 1,000 year prison, amass another great army of unbelievers against the Lord and Jerusalem, and be totally destroyed.
The Great White Throne Judgment. Christ will resurrect all the unbelieving dead, and judge them according to the works they have done, and recognize that their names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life. We who are saved of all ages will observe this, and we may be called on to testify against the unbelievers, who are then cast into the Lake of Fire forever.
The New Heaven, New Earth and The New Jerusalem The old earth is dissolved, and a new earth is created, probably much larger than the present one. It will be enveloped with a new heaven (atmosphere), and it will be adorned with a glorious capital, the New Jerusalem. The foundation stones will be inscribed with the names of the 12 apostles, and the gates will have the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. It will be the dwelling place of the saints of all ages, and the Lamb of God will provide light for the city.