End Times Overview

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 29, 2001


Next week, we will begin a series of studies in the Book of Revelation.  In order to kind of set the stage for this, my intent this morning is to lay out 8 major prophetic events, in order, that make up what we call the “End Times”.  My goal is not to speak in detail on each event, but to cover the overall picture.


Are you ready?

The blonde reported for her University final examination, which consists of “yes/no” type questions. She takes her seat in the examination hall, stares at the question paper for five minutes, and then in a fit of inspiration takes her purse out, removes a coin and starts tossing the coin and marking the answer sheet - Yes for Heads and No for Tails. Within half an hour she is all done whereas the rest of the class is sweating it out. During the last few minutes, she is seen desperately throwing the coin, swearing and sweating. The moderator, alarmed, approaches her and asks what is going on. “I finished the exam in half and hour. But,” she says,” I am rechecking my answers.”

1.  The Rapture

The Rapture of the Church is when Jesus will come and snatch believers away into heaven.  Not all of us will go through “death”, some will be taken immediately into God’s presence.

(1 Th 4:16-17 KJV)  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.

In just the blink of an eye, we will be with Jesus in the air.


I do not know how I am going to stay up "in the air" with the Lord; but that is no business of mine.
Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

We believe that the Rapture will occur at the end of what we call the “times of the Gentiles”, when God has been mainly working through the Gentile Church, the Bride of Christ. (Romans 11:25-26)

(Rom 11:25-26 NASB)  For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; {26} and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB."

We believe that the Rapture will occur before the seven year period known as the Tribulation, when God turns to again work mainly through the nation of Israel, His chosen people.

We believe the Rapture may happen at any time. When Jesus says,

(Mat 24:42 KJV)  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

I believe Jesus is talking about the Rapture.  He could come at any moment.


Are you ready?

Whether through death or through the Rapture, we could meet our God at any moment. 
Jesus doesn’t just want us to be waiting for Him, He wants us to be watching.
The difference between waiting and watching is illustrated by the story of a fishing vessel returning home after many days at sea.  As they neared the shore, the sailors gazed eagerly toward the dock where a group of their loved ones had gathered.  The skipper looked through his binoculars and identified some of them: “I see Bill’s Mary, and there is Tom’s Margaret and David’s Anne.”  One man became concerned because his wife was not there.  Later, he left the boat with a heavy heart and hurried up the hill to his cottage.  As he opened the door, she ran to meet him saying, “I have been waiting for you!”  He replied with a gentle rebuke, “Yes, but the other men’s wives were watching for them!”
How anxious are you for Jesus to return?

2.  Gog & Magog

(Ezek 38:1-6 KJV)  And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, {2} Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, {3} And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: {4} And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: {5} Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: {6} Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.

Ezekiel is describing a great invasion of Israel by a coalition of nations. The identity of some of those named:

Magog = Russia

Gog = the leader of the land of Magog, currently Vladimir Putin.

The rest of the nations have been identified to include Iran, Ethiopia, Libya, and Turkey.

Meshech = mountains SE of the Black Sea to NE part of modern Turkey

Persia = Iran, perhaps parts of Iraq

Ethiopia = (or, Cush) Ethiopia

Libya = (or, Put) Libya and North Africa in the area of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco

Gomer = Germania according to the Babylonian Talmud

Togarmah = Turkey & Armenia

When these nations gather against Israel, God will step in and protect Israel:

(Ezek 38:22 KJV)  And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

God will wipe out 5/6 of the invading army (Eze. 39:2)

In the end, Israel will know that God has poured out His Spirit on Israel:

(Ezek 39:28-29 KJV)  Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. {29} Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

I think that this may even be tied to the end of the times of the Gentiles, when God has taken the Church off the planet, and He again begins to deal with the nation of Israel as His chosen people.  That means this may all happen around the time of the Rapture.

3.  The antichrist

The antichrist is the title we put on the soon to be revealed world leader.  The prefix “anti” means “in place of”, and he will come “in place of” Jesus Christ.  He will attempt to take Jesus’ place as the Messiah, the Savior of the world.  He is also known in the book of Revelation as “the beast”.  Nine things about the antichrist …

a) For now, something is keeping the antichrist from being revealed:

(2 Th 2:6-8 NKJV)  And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. {7} For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. {8} And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

We believe that the “restrainer” is the work of the Holy Spirit in the church.   For now, we are the “salt of the earth”, like a preservative we have a way of holding back evil.  But when the church is gone, there will be no more preserving, and the antichrist will move into power on the world scene.

b)  At first, it will seem as if this antichrist is indeed the Savior.  Many Jews will initially think this is their Messiah.

(Mat 24:24 KJV)  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.


Associated Press, 1-22-91 – Chicago's Rabbi Eckstein says that all of this climatic ferment epicentered in the Middle East, seems to him to be messianic times. And if this is it, if the messiah appears, rabbi Eckstein says that he can't wait to ask him one question:  Is this your second visit or your first?
My concern for Rabbi Eckstein is, which “messiah” will he ask this question of?  The antichrist or Jesus Christ?

c)  The antichrist will be powerful, performing great miracles:

(2 Th 2:9 KJV)  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

d)  Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, this person will have some kind of a “deadly wound” which will be healed and cause the world to fall in love with him:

(Rev 13:3 KJV)  And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

e)  He will cause the world to worship Satan:

(Rev 13:4 KJV)  And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

f)  This person will have the power of persuasive words:

(Rev 13:5 KJV)  And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies …

(Dan 7:8 KJV)  …and a mouth speaking great things.

g)  He will bring a great persecution against Christians and Jews:

(Rev 13:7 KJV)  And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

(Dan 7:21 KJV)  … made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

h)  He will cause people to take a “mark” to show their worship of him.

(Rev 13:16-18 NLT)  He required everyone--great and small, rich and poor, slave and free--to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. {17} And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. {18} Wisdom is needed to understand this. Let the one who has understanding solve the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.

i) He will rule an empire that will cover the territory of the ancient Roman Empire

(Dan 9:26 KJV)  And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

The antichrist is the “prince that shall come”, and it was to be his people that would destroy Jerusalem after the Messiah was cut off.  Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome in AD 70. (see also Daniel 2:40-43; 7:7-8; 23-24)

We believe this empire is probably related to the modern European Union.

4.  The Tribulation

The Tribulation is a period of seven years that will bring God’s judgment to the earth.

a)  It is the last of the “Seventy weeks of Daniel”

(Dan 9:24 KJV)  Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
These “seventy weeks” are seventy groups of seven years.  Among other things is a wonderful prediction, to the very day, of when Jesus, the Messiah, would come.  As you follow the prophecy through, you will find that all but the last “week” has been fulfilled.  It seems as if God’s timepiece was clicked off when the Messiah was “cut off”.
Important:  These seventy weeks are for a certain group of people, “thy people”, Daniel’s people, the Jews.  This is another reason why I do not believe we are going to go through the Tribulation, because God will be turning His attention from the church to the Jews.
(Dan 9:26-27 KJV)  And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. {27} And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
This “prince that shall come” is the antichrist.  He will make some type of a treaty (“covenant”) with the nation of Israel for seven years.
Halfway through the Tribulation, after 3 ½ years, is an important time marker, known as the “abomination of desolation”.  You will see in many prophecies describing the Tribulation in these 3 ½ year chunks (“times, time, and a half of time”; 42 months, or 1260 days)

The antichrist will enter into a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, and demand to be worshipped as God (2Th. 2:4).  This is an “abominable” thing, which will bring “desolation” on the temple.

This “abomination of desolation” was the time marker that Jesus pointed out for the Jews, the point to flee from Israel:

(Mat 24:15-16 KJV)  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) {16} Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

b) Probably the greatest description overall of this Tribulation time is in the book of Revelation.  Chapters 4-18 describe many of the events that will take place during this time on earth.

c) During these seven years, there will be people saved on the earth.

There will be a group of 144,000 Jewish Billy Grahams around the world, leading many to Jesus.

But it will be difficult for people to come to Jesus.  Many people will die for their faith.


Follow Jesus now
From time to time you may run across people who are interested in Jesus, but who say that they’ll wait until after the Rapture before they accept Jesus as their Savior.

There are two problems with this notion:

First, the Bible says that the antichrist will be deceiving those who have rejected the truth about Jesus:

(2 Th 2:9-12 KJV)  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, {10} And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. {11} And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: {12} That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

If you do not want to follow Jesus now, you will most likely be part of the world that will gladly follow the antichrist.

Secondly, if you can’t live for Jesus now, when it’s easy, how are you going to live for Him later, when it might cost you your life?

d) The great climax of the Tribulation will be the battle known as “Armageddon”

The armies of the world will be gathered together in the plain of Megiddo in northern Israel (Rev. 16:16).  There, the antichrist will be waiting for Jesus to return:

(Rev 19:19 KJV)  And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

5.  The Second Coming

It’s at this point that Jesus returns, at the battle of Armageddon.

(Rev 19:11-16 KJV)  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.

We will be coming back with Him, riding on our own white horses.


Did you know that the type most newspapers use for astounding events is called “second coming” type?  These are large, heavy, black letters reserved for only the most stupendous, amazing, front page news—such as the return of Jesus Christ.  This was the headline used to announce the surrenders of Germany and Japan, marking the end of World War II. It also told the news of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the shooting of President Reagan. This bold heading style has proclaimed successful flights into space, presidential election winners, and other dramatic events of universal importance. One day mankind will witness the great event for which the “second coming” type was named for—the return of Jesus Christ.

He will come and rescue the Jewish people from the antichrist.

(Isa 25:8-9 KJV)  He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. {9} And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Jesus will have the antichrist thrown alive into the Lake of Fire, and all those who have not come to follow Jesus will be put to death (Rev. 19:20-21)

(Rev 19:20-21 KJV)  And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. {21} And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

6.  The Millennium

You can read about all this in Revelation 20.

Once Jesus has returned, Satan will be chained up for a thousand years, and those who died martyrs’ deaths during the Tribulation will be raised from the dead.  Jesus will then rule over this entire planet for a thousand years.

At that point, there will be two kinds of people alive on the earth. 

There will be a group of people composed of all of us who have been raised from the dead or raptured, and we will all have our new, glorified, resurrected bodies.  We will be part of the group that will rule with Christ for a thousand years on the earth.

There will be a second group of people who will have come to believe in Jesus during the Tribulation, but who were somehow able to survive without being put to death.  These people will continue to live in their regular bodies and will repopulate the earth as a race of people who will not have known the influence of Satan on the earth.

At the end of this thousand year reign of Christ, there will need to be a time of decision for these millions of people who will have been born during the Millennium.  Satan will be released from his prison for a short time and will quickly deceive many who have been born during the Millennium.  There will be a brief uprising, followed by a battle, and finally the end will come and Satan will be permanently defeated.

7.  The Great White Throne

At the end of the Millennium, there will be one last final time of judgment known as the Great White Throne Judgment.

(Rev 20:11-15 KJV)  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.

Up until this point, all those who have rejected Jesus and have died, have gone to a temporary place called “hell”.  But at this time, the unbelieving dead will be raised and made to stand in judgment before God.  All those who have rejected God throughout the ages will be judged and cast into the lake of fire forever.

The most important thing for all eternity is to make sure that your name is in this “book of life”.  You get your name written into this book when you come to trust in Jesus as your Savior.

(John 3:16-18 KJV)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. {17} For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. {18} He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Those who have believed in Jesus will not be judged.  Those who have believed in Jesus have had their sins paid for when Jesus died on the cross.

8.  Eternity

(Rev 21:1-4 KJV)  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.

We will be with Him forever.

Why bother with all this?

The Bible has never been wrong in any of its prophecies. You can bet that things will happen just as the Bible says.


A matter of priorities

Are you spending your life on the right sort of things?
(Luke 12:16-21 KJV)  And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: {17} And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? {18} And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. {19} And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. {20} But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? {21} So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

We are usually quite ignorant of the real, spiritual world that is around us.  We are actually usually quite short-sighted when it comes to the things of eternity.

A gal in our church recently lost her mother to cancer.  I was talking with her and she told me of some of the things that happened in her mom’s hospital room before she died.  Her mom would start staring at an empty spot in the room and tell everyone else, “Make him go away!” because she wasn’t ready to die.  Several times this happened.  It kind of spooked everyone at first.  We believe she saw an angel.  It is quite a common occurrence among people who know the Lord to talk about seeing angels before they pass away.  When Jesus told the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Lazarus was escorted to Abraham’s bosom by angels when he died.  Angels are real.  They are here right now, though you can’t see them.  The spiritual world is real.
Studies like today are a window for us on eternity.  It helps us understand what is REALLY important in life.  It helps us set our priorities correctly.
If you had all your life’s savings tied up in the stock market, and you KNEW that the stock market was going to totally collapse by the end of next week, would you sell your stocks?  Of course you would.  You would invest in something that is going to last.
The only things that are going to last ultimately are the things of God.