There are many interesting points of interest as we consider the road that lies before us, and ends at the place in time where the redeemed of all times will spend an eternity of peace with God. There is another road for those who have not been redeemed. The travelers of that road will spend their eternity separated from God, and in a constant state of torment. The points of interest that follow may stand alone, or may intertwine. The starting point in the time of the events is that of the prophet Daniel in 537 B. C. Documents that have been used for this sermon draft are the Mac Arthur, Ryrie and Scofield study bibles. Commentaries by Dr. John F. Walvoord on the books of Daniel and Revelation have also been consulted.
The Key Point of this travel begins with the rapture of the church, which is also known as the catching up of the believers in Christ in the air where they will be carried away by Christ to be with Him in Heaven. Concurrently with the rapture is the revealing of the Anti-Christ and the tribulation that will affect all people who are left behind on earth. Those people who miss the rapture will be those who were not born again; their sinful spirit which remains within them, will cause them to remain on the earth. The Anti-Christ will be an instrument that God will use to judge sin.
It is important to relate the judgment of God on sin to the presence of sin on the Earth. In scripture the word “darkness” relates to sin. In 1 John 1:5, we read that “God is Light and in Him is no darkness.” The coming of Jesus into the world was to “take away the sin of the world” (1 John 1:29). “In Him (Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-5). “The true Light (Jesus) gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9). Darkness has no relationship with light. The purpose of Jesus was to dispel the darkness of the world, which occurs through the born again experience. In John 3:3, Jesus said “unless one is born again, he can not see the Kingdom of God.” In John 14:20, Jesus explains to the disciples the indwelling of spirits:” I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” The born again experience is explained in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; all things have become new.” The old and new things are the spirit of the person who has been born again. When the rapture of the church occurs, all born again/redeemed people of the world will be taken out of the world. The only people who will remain on the earth will be those who have not been born again. That statement is important to show that sin will remain on the earth in the spirits of those who remain. God will judge sin, so only those who have retained sinful spirits will be present when the judgment of sin comes upon the earth. God does not have a problem with those who have been born again, redeemed, and found to be, in their spirit, as righteous as the Spirit of Christ, per 2 Corinthians 5:21: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Going back to 1 John 1:5, we recall that no darkness is in God. Those who have not been born again are, present tense, sin. That is their state of spiritual life. God’s judgment will come upon the sinful world. Human beings who have not been born again can not be raptured out of the world; so, they will be present when the judgment of God begins. Remember this truth: God does not have a problem with His redeemed saints, who are those who have been born again. They have been found to be faithful and will not come under the testing requirement of Revelation 3:10: “I will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” The word “from” is from the Greek “ek,” which means “out of.” Again, those of us who have been born again, have been found to be faithful. There is no need for those of us, who have been born again, to be present with the unredeemed when:”there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be (Matthew 24:21).” “Dwell” implies that their home is earth, not heaven, which relates to all mankind, except the redeemed. As believers, our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). The outpouring of God’s wrath is not the future that the Bible promises to the church, for Paul says that believers are not destined for wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
At the beginning of the seven-year tribulation, the Anti-Christ will enter into a peace treaty with the Jews. During the middle of that time, he will break the treaty. Times will become greater in affliction on mankind than what has ever happened seen since the creation of the world. During that time, there will be a tremendous time of salvation of Jews and Gentiles, but with the result of many martyr deaths taking place at the hands of the forces of the Anti-Christ. Those martyrs will be resurrected at the end of the tribulation, and will join the raptured saints who will have returned from Heaven with Jesus. The bodies of the unredeemed saints of all times will be resurrected at the end of the Millennium, where they will go before the Great White Throne Judgment.
The object of the hatred of the Anti-Christ is Israel. He, and his forces of other people who also hate Israel, will mount an assault on Israel, which will be known as the Battle Of Armageddon. When Jerusalem is surrounded by those Satanic forces, Christ will return from heaven, with all of us who had been raptured to engage those enemies of God. The battle will be a spiritual one, and will end quickly. The Anti-Christ and False Prophet (a religious enabler of the Anti-Christ) will be cast into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone. All of their accomplices will have been killed in the battle.
A thousand-year period of Godly peace will begin. Satan will be bound for that time, which is known as the Millennium. The believers of the true God of all ages, will rule and reign with Christ during that time, which Jesus also spoke of as being the Kingdom of Heaven, as opposed to the Kingdom of God, which is the spiritual body of Christ. There will be people, who will be alive during the Millennium, who are not believers in Christ. They may not have been involved in the Battle of Armageddon. Those people will have been left behind from the rapture, and will have lived during the thousand-year reign of Christ. Children will be born during the Millennium; not all of them will become believers in Christ (See Zechariah 14:16-19, Mac Arthur’s note).
At the end of the Millennium, Satan will be loosed by God for a short season to deceive the nations. Another attack on Jerusalem will be mounted by the enemies of God in The Battle of Gog and Magog. Satan and his forces will be crushed by God in a quick assault of fire from Heaven. I’ll let you read, as Paul Harvey used to say, “The Rest Of The Story.” From this point forward, please check out the points that I have indicated as being on the road to eternity. Please remember the words of Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy.”
THE COMING OF CHRIST IN THE AIR FOR THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH – THE CATCHING UP OF THE SAINTS (Notice the wording of each passage. None of them show Jesus coming to Earth to pour His wrath on a sinful world. Instead, He is shown as coming to receive His people to Himself and take them out of this world. Notice that the Rapture will catch up people who have been born again. )
John 14:1-3 (New King James Version)
1“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
1 Corinthians 15:50-53 (New King James Version)
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (New Century Version)
13 Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about those Christians who have died so you will not be sad, as others who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and that he rose again. So, because of him, God will raise with Jesus those who have died. 15 What we tell you now is the Lord’s own message. We who are living when the Lord comes again will not go before those who have already died. 16 The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And those who have died believing in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive will be gathered up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.
THE TRIBULATION AS DESCRIBED BY JESUS (It is important to notice that Jesus is speaking to Jews.)
Matthew 24:3-28 (New King James Version)
The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
The Great Tribulation
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. 23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
THE RAPTURED SAINTS IN HEAVEN DURING THE TRIBULATION
The Marriage And Marriage Supper Of The Lamb (The marriage is that of the raptured church and Jesus, the Lamb.)
Revelation 19:7-9 (New King James Version)
7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”
The Judgment Seat Of Christ – Rewards For The Raptured Saints
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (New King James Version)
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
2 Corinthians 5:10 (New King James Version) (It is important to read the verse carefully. Don’t put more into the scripture than what is actually contained within it.)
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
THE TRIBULATION – THE REDEEMED IN HEAVEN – THE UNREDEEMED ON EARTH
The Tribulation As Prophesied By Daniel (The church has been raptured up, and is with God in Heaven.)
The 70th Week Of Daniel – 7 Years – Daniel 9:24-27
Daniel 9:24-27 (New King James Version) (Notice the confirming and breaking of the covenant.)
24 “Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”
The Anti-Christ Makes A Covenant With Israel And Breaks it after 3 1/2 years, midway during the 70th week (See Daniel 9:27, above).
The Last 3 1/2 Years Of The 70th Week Of Daniel – The Great Tribulation – Daniel 7:25 (New King James Version)
25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.
(A time and times and half a time equal three and a half years.)
THE TRIBULATION AS REVEALED BY CHRIST TO JOHN – THE UNREDEEMED AFFECTED
Seal, Trumpet And Bowl Judgments; Battle Of Armageddon (Please read)
THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST TO THE EARTH
As Described By Jesus – Matthew 24:29-31 (New King James Version)
The Coming of the Son of Man
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
As Prophesied by Zechariah – Zechariah 14:1-4 (New King James Version)
The Day of the Lord (This passage relates to Jesus returning to Earth at the end of the tribulation.)
1 Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.
As Revealed By Christ To John – Revelation 19:11-16 (New King James Version)
Christ on a White Horse (Raptured saints accompany Jesus.)
11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON/THE BEAST AND HIS ARMIES DEFEATED
Revelation 16:14-16 (New King James Version)
Battle Of Armageddon (The forces of Satan gather for battle against God and His forces.)
14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” 16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
Revelation 19:17-21 (New King James Version)
The Beast and His Armies Defeated (This is a quick spiritual battle.)
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”
19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
Satan Bound 1000 Years – Revelation 20:1-3 (New King James Version)
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
The Saints Reign With Christ 1000 Years – The Millennium – Revelation 20:4-6 (New King James Version)
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
Satan Released/The Battle Of God And Magog – Revelation 20:7-10 (New King James Version)
Satanic Rebellion Crushed (The battle is quick and spiritual.)
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
The Great White Throne Judgment – For The Unredeemed Of All Times – Revelation 20:11-15 (New King James Version)
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who 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, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire.
All Things Made New – Revelation 21:1-8 (New King James Version)
1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
The New Jerusalem – Revelation 21:9-13 (New King James Version)
9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. 12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.
The Glory Of The New Jerusalem – Revelation 21:22-27 (New King James Version)
22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
The River Of Life – Revelation 22:1-4 (New King James Version)
22 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
The Time Is Near – Revelation 22:6-11 (New King James Version)
6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place. 7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” 8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. 11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”
Jesus Testifies To The Churches – Revelation 22:12-17 (New King James Version)
12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” 14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”
A Warning – Revelation 22:18-19 (New King James Version)
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
I Am Coming Quickly – Revelation 22:20-21 (New King James Version)
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Now, let’s enter into a time of worship and praise of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.