What Happens During the End Times?
3 Key Events in Bible Prophecy
To understand Bible prophecy in God’s Word concerning the future, it is very helpful to consider the three major terminal points or events in the future.
The next event on God’s calendar of prophecy is the appearance of Christ in the clouds, without touching His feet to the earth, to take out all Christians who are alive, and to take up into Heaven with Him the resurrected bodies of Christians who have died and whose souls will be coming back with Jesus at that time to re-enter their resurrected bodies.
Thus, living Christians, with miraculously changed and glorified bodies, without having to experience death, will be caught up to meet the Lord Jesus in the air and go on to Heaven with Him. At the same time, saved people who have died, their souls, coming back from Heaven, will enter their resurrected and glorified bodies, rise up to meet the Lord in the air and go on to Heaven with Him.
Scriptures teaching these truths are I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and I Corinthians 15:51-57.
After 7 Years of Tribulation
Seven years later, Jesus will come back to set His feet on earth and rule and reign over the nations and peoples of the world for one thousand years. In the seven-year period of time between the appearing of Christ in the clouds to take out all Christians and the time when He shall return to earth to rule for one thousand years, the terrible judgments and events described in the book of Revelation will transpire. The antichrist will gain ascendancy and will lead into sin the vast majority of the people who were left behind when Christ appeared in the clouds to take out all the Christians.
There are many events in the Near East and other places in the world that cause many of us to feel the stage is being set for the end-time events, which, of course, would include the rise of a worldwide ecumenical church, and the terrible divine judgment destruction. In the Revelation, however, the actual end-time events just mentioned cannot and will not come to pass until the rapture of the saints. The time of this glorious event is not known. The trumpet may sound and Christ may call out His saints anytime. It may be today, it may be tomorrow, or it may be many years from now.
Although the Christians living today will not have to go through the Tribulation, it is wrong for us to assume we will have an easy life to live before the rapture. The Lord may yet call upon us to suffer for His sake in these days. Christians in Africa, Russia, and China are undoubtedly persecuted because of their faith. So we, too, must stand prepared to face whatever trials may come.
The trials and persecutions of heathen nations against Christians today and in years gone by are much less severe than those which will come in the days of the Tribulation. God will pour out His wrath in such a way that we cannot even begin to imagine. But, praise God, He promises to shorten the time for the sake of the Christians during that time–for the elect’s sake.
During the one-thousand-year reign of Christ’s rule on earth, Satan will be confined to the bottomless pit; Jesus will be here in Person in all His glory; Israel will finally fulfill one of God’s major purposes for her, in that she will become a nation of Spirit-filled evangelists and missionaries taking the Gospel of Christ to those around the world; and there will be no wars during this time. King Jesus will control the governments and the economies of the world’s nations. With such a wonderful environment in which to live during this one-thousand year period of time, people in the world then will have the greatest opportunity of any generation that has ever lived to accept Jesus as Savior and to serve Him. There will be no hope for anyone who rejects such wonderful light and such wonderful power from the Holy Spirit and Jesus in person. Therefore Jesus says in Revelation 22:11:
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
The White Throne Judgement
At the end of Jesus’ one-thousand-year reign on earth, there will be the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20) and the creation of new heavens and earth (Revelation 21).
II Peter chapter 3 tells us at this time, the physical heavens and earth will be melted with fervent heat and a great noise. We are also told that God will make from this molten matter a new physical universe in which there are no sinners and no sign or taint of sins.
Thus, it is easy to see why, at the end of Jesus’ one-thousand-year rule on the earth, there will be melting and a purging of the physical heavens and earth so that a brand new place of perfection can be made for all of God’s redeemed children. This will be a wonderful place, just as it was when God first made it and before Adam and Eve sinned.