Lesson 18: Bible Prophecy

"What Is the Order of Events in bible Prophecy?"

One of the most talked about subjects of the Bible is that of prophecy. Prophecy deals with God's plan for the future of this world. Saved or lost, many people want to know the details of the end of the world as we know it.

The purpose of this lesson is to acquaint you with the order of events of the end times. We will give a brief description of these events and where you can find them in Scripture.

The Rapture

    1. The first major event to occur in the end times is called the "Rapture." Although this term is not in the Bible, it means "transport." The Rapture will take place at the end of the "Church age." This age began after the resurrection of Christ and is made up of people who have been "saved by grace through faith."
    2. The Rapture will occur so God's people will avoid the coming judgment upon Earth. This judgment will be for the nations' rejection of God and His promises to Israel.
    3. There are tow main passages to support the Rapture:
      1. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57: This was a mystery revealed to the Apostle Paul that even Jesus did not speak about. It will happen in a blink of the eye and will give Christians a new body as they go up to Heaven.
      2. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: The bodies of Christians who have already died will come out of their graves, be changed and reunite with their souls in the clouds with Jesus. Those Christians who are alive will follow immediately with changed bodies as well. Notice we are to be comforted with this thought, not afraid of it.
    4. The Bible gives us pictures or types of the Rapture.
      1. Enoch was taken up to Heaven before God's judgment on Earth, the flood (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5)
      2. John was taken up to Heaven and shown God's judgment on Earth, called the Great Tribulation (Revelation 4:1-2).
    5. The Body of Christ (saved people) will be taken up to Heaven before God's judgment on Earth, the Great Tribulation.
      1. This is when the Judgment Seat of Christ takes place (see Lesson 14).
      2. After the Judgment Seat will be the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. This is where Christ will take His bride, the saved of the Church Age (Revelation 19:5-9).

The Great Tribulation

    1. Following the Rapture, there will be a seven year period of God's wrath upon the Earth, known as the "Time of Jacob's Trouble" (Jeremiah 30:7), "Daniel's Seventieth Week" (Daniel 9:24-27) and the "Great Tribulation" (Matthew 24:21).
    2. The details of the Great Tribulation are found in the book of Revelation Chapters 6-19. Jesus also gives a description in Matthew 24.
    3. Among some of the events that will happen at this time are:
      1. Wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6; Revelation 6:4)
      2. Famines (Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6:5-6)
      3. Pestilences (Matthew 24:7; Revelation 16:2)
      4. Earthquakes (Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6:12)
      5. False Prophets (Matthew 24:11; Revelation 13:11-15, 16:13-14)
      6. Rise of Antichrist (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4; Revelation 13:1-8)
      7. Mark of the Beast (Revelation 13:16-18, 14:9-11)
      8. Martyrs (Matthew 24:9; Revelation 6:9, 13:15)

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

    1. Just as the first coming of Christ was a literal, physical event (His birth), so will be the second coming (His coronation). This is not to be confused with the Rapture where Jesus will meet us in the clouds and will not actually touch down on Earth. At the return of Christ, every eye will see Him (Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7).
    2. The first time Christ came, it was in love (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). The second time will be in wrath (Isaiah 63:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). He will clean up the Earth from His enemies and make ready His kingdom. The climax of this event will be what is known as the Battle of Armageddon (Zechariah 12:8-11; Revelation 16:12-16).
    3. The following verses further describe the Second Advent of Jesus Christ:
      1. Acts 1:9-12
      2. Zechariah 14:1-5
      3. Mathew 24:27-51
      4. 2 Peter 3:10
      5. Revelation 6:12-17
      6. Revelation 11:15-19
      7. Revelation 14:14-20
      8. Revelation 19:11-21
    4. As a result of Christ's return, the Beast and False Prophet (two thirds of the Satanic trinity) will be cast into the Lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). Satan (the remaining third of his trinity) will be chained up and cast into the Bottomless Pit for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-3). This will allow Jesus Christ to establish His kingdom on Earth without interference.

The Millennial Reign of Christ

    1. After the Great Tribulation, Jesus will set up His 1,000 year kingdom on Earth, known as the Millennium, where He will rule with a rod of iron (Revelation 12:5, 19:15). He also will allow His followers from the Church Age and Great Tribulation to reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:9-10, 20:4-6). This millennial reign is also referred to in Scripture as the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:3).It will be a time of peace and perfection.
    2. A description of this kingdom is given in the following passages:
      1. Isaiah 2:1-4
      2. Isaiah 11:1-9
      3. Isaiah 33:20-22
      4. Isaiah 40:9-11
      5. Jeremiah 23:5-8
      6. Zechariah 14:8-9, 16
      7. Daniel 7:22, 27
      8. Luke 22:28-30
    3. At the end of the 1,000 years, Satan will be loosed and gather all those who want to rebel against Christ. He once again will be defeated, and this time will be cast into the Lake of Fire forever (Revelation 20:7-10).

The Great White Throne Judgment

    1. The Bible tells us that there will be a resurrection of life and a resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29). The resurrection of life will take place at the Rapture and is for the saved.
    2. The resurrection of damnation is for the unsaved and will take place at the Great White Throne. The lost will be taken out of Hell, brought before God and cast into the Lake of Fire. It is at this judgment they will be told why they must suffer torment - their rejection of Jesus Christ as Savior (Revelation 20:11-15). this judgment will not be for Christians.
    3. Each individual will be judged according to their works and given a different degree of punishment in the Lake of Fire (Matthew 10:14-15, 11:20-24).

Eternity Future

    1. Once the Great White Throne Judgment is complete, Eternity will begin with God and His servants, Revelation 21 and 22:1-5 give us a brief description of what it will be like.
    2. There are three specific places mentioned in Eternity. The following is a possibility of who will abide where:
      1. New Heaven: Gentiles who came through the Great Tribulation and Millennium.
      2. New Earth: Jews
      3. New Jerusalem: Bride of Christ/Church Age Saints.

Key Memory Verses

"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raise incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:52).

"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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).

Additional Thoughts

Some popular teachings in many churches today are:

    1. The rapture of the Church will happen during the Great Tribulation.
    2. Only some Christians will be raptured.
    3. Jesus Christ will not return physically or literally to set up His kingdom (called A-millennialism).
    4. Jesus Christ will return after a 1,000 year period of peace on Earth without Him (called Post-millennialism).
    5. There is no literal Hell fire.

From the Bible principles taught in this lesson, you should understand that these teachings are false, and why.