The Father's Heart For What Is to Come
Updated: Jan 5, 2021
This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to
show his servants the events that must soon take place.
He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John.
Jesus Christ is the source and the main subject of the book of Revelation. The Father gave this revelation to Jesus, and Jesus passed on the revelation to John, through an angel. The Father wants us to know what is coming. Many books in the Bible, in addition to Revelation, talk about the things that are to come. The study of the end times is called eschatology. Much of prophecy has not happened yet, and it's good for us to know what these things are.
Eschatology is an area that many Christians don't understand. They may have a general idea but don't necessarily think it matters that much. Christians who feel this way would say that since we can't know for sure what's going to happen, it's best not to worry about it. Or since there is so much disagreement, we should just avoid the subject for the most part. But some Christians are saying we are very close to the end, which is creating more and more interest in knowing what to expect. The Father's heart is for us to know what the Bible has to say about the matter.
How we view eschatology will determine our Christian worldview. It will have an impact on how we live today. Here is a brief timeline adapted from Got Questions. It's a pre-tribulation view, which is the view I hold to. When you say you are pre-trib, you're sayingupi're the rapture comes before the Tribulation begins.
Apostasy in the world will continue to get worse and worse as the end draws near, just as the birth pains of a woman in labor worsen as the contractions get closer together and the baby is coming (Mt 24:8). The world has always turned its back on God, but right before the Tribulation begins, there will be an even greater rebellion against Him. People will exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship and serve the created rather than the Creator (Rom 1:25). They will be living the same way as the people in the days of Noah were living (Mt 24:37). We see this now more than ever.
The Rapture of the Church is imminent, meaning it can happen at any time because all biblical prophecy that needs to be fulfilled first has already happened. Rapture means to "snatch away" or "be caught up." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord."
The Antichrist is revealed after the Church is taken out of the way. He is also called the man of lawlessness. He does the work of Satan with counterfeit signs and wonders and uses every kind of evil deception to fool those who aren't saved (2 Thess 2:9-10). He gains power through promises of peace, signing a peace treaty with Israel for seven years (Dan 9:27). But after three and a half years, the Antichrist will break that promise.
The Tribulation begins when the Antichrist signs the seven-year peace treaty with Israel. The Church will be in heaven, where the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10) and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:6-10) will be taking place. Meanwhile, God will complete His discipline of the nation of Israel and pour out His wrath and judgment on sinful humanity through wars, famines, plagues, and natural disasters. It will be far worse than anything we see now. His wrath will come through the seven seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments written about in Revelation.
The Battle of Gog and Magog is in the first part of the tribulation. A great army from the north will come down to attack an unsuspecting Israel, but before they can attack, they will be defeated by God's supernatural intervention (Ezekiel 38-39). Some commentators place this battle just before the tribulation begins and some at other points during the tribulation. Regardless of when it happens, this is a battle that God fights for Israel.
The abomination of desolation happens midway through the tribulation (Mt 24:15; Dan 9:27). Antichrist breaks the peace agreement he made with Israel, desecrates the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem by placing an image of himself there, and demands the Jewish people and the world worship him.
The Battle of Armageddon and the return of Jesus with the armies of heaven (Mk 14:62; Dan 7:13; Rev 19:14) takes place at the end of the tribulation. The armies of the nations are commissioned by Satanic influences to fight God but are quickly defeated by Jesus and His armies upon returning to earth. Believers will be a part of the armies of heaven and return with Jesus.
The judgment of the nations is when Christ will judge the survivors of the tribulation. Matthew 25:32 refers to this judgment as separating the sheep from the goats. The righteous "sheep" will enter the Millenial kingdom, and the wicked "goats" will be cast into the eternal fire.
The binding of Satan will be for a thousand years in the bottomless pit during the Millenial Kingdom (Rev 20:1-3).
The Millenial Kingdom is the time when Christ Himself, along with all the saints, will rule the world for a thousand years. Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit (Rev 20:1-4), and there will be peace and prosperity. People will still have free will and have to choose Christ to be their Savior. At the end of the thousand years, there will be people who did not choose Jesus.
The last battle happens at the end of the thousand years. Satan will be released from the bottomless pit for a short time to deceive people. He is temporarily successful and gathers an army to wage one last battle against Christ, but heaven rains down fire and consumes Satan's armies. Satan is them cast into the lake of fire forever (Rev 20:7-10).
The Great White Throne Judgment takes place when those in hell, and everyone not saved in history, are brought before God. John says, "I saw the dead, both great and small standing before God's throne." The books are opened, and each one is judged according to what they had done. All are cast into the lake of fire forever, along with death and Hades (Rev 20:11-15).
The New Creation is when God completely remakes the heavens and the earth. There is no more suffering or pain or death. God wipes away every tear, and there is no more sorrow. Rebellion, sin, and the curse are gone. The New Jerusalem descends from heaven, and we enjoy God's presence for all eternity.
I have given you a timeline for just one of many viewpoints of eschatology. Other views will have different timelines. Taking all the biblical prophecies and future events and organizing them can be complicated and confusing. No one should say with certainty that whatever conclusion they have come to can't be wrong. Still, I believe it is better to hold to a position because you have studied what the Bible says about the things that are to come than to say it's not important enough or doesn't really matter. If God put these things in His Word, then His heart is for you to know them.