An end-of-the-world scenario must occur first before the “biblical” global peace of the millennial kingdom can be achieved. It will be nothing like a Hollywood or sci-fi presentation, most of which have little biblical authenticity. But it will be the toughest time the world has ever seen (Matt. 24:21), and it is a prophetic aspect of the Bible that must be fulfilled at some point.
Many, if not most people don’t care to hear about the end days. They either think it is fantasy or too depressing to think about or it will never happen in their lifetimes anyway. So why focus on it? Prophecy regarding the last days has been revealed for our benefits to prepare us. God doesn’t want us to ignore it, and it has to be fulfilled in somebody’s lifetime. Will it be in my lifetime or your lifetimes? We don’t know, but it is possible.
In the decades before this chaotic turmoil occurs, Jesus said there will be signs we should watch for leading up to the final days that would give us an idea that the end is near.
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. – Matthew 24:3-9, NKJV
These are the things we were to see during what is probably a period of decades before the end of the world as we know it. Anyone can research just the last 100 years of history with regards to various kinds of wars, false messiahs, famines, plagues, earthquakes, and Christian persecution to recognize the fulfillment of those signs Christ spoke of. The “beginning of sorrows” has been playing out already and the signs are getting stronger.
After the beginning of sorrows (also interpreted as birth pangs) have come to a conclusion, the end-of-the-world events will be birthed. It was foretold by Daniel (8:13,14) that we will have 2300 days remaining once daily sacrifices begin again in Israel. When we witness that event, it will likely be a part of the counterfeit global peace effort. Three plus years later, this agreement with Israel that enables them to resume their ancient practice of daily animal sacrifices will be broken by the antichrist, who will place the abomination of desolation in the holy place, and command gentile troops to trample Jerusalem for 42 months (see Dan. 9:27; II Thes. 2:1-4; Rev. 11:1,2).
Jesus referred to this last 42 month period as 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. …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. – Matthew 24:15,16,21, NKJV
The antichrist/beast/world leader of that time will then institute world government requirements. People will be forced to worship him as god and take a mark on their right hands or foreheads as proof of their allegiance and as the only means of buying and selling. Anybody who refuses to give allegiance will be killed if they are caught (Rev. 13). So the greatest genocide of human history will take place…the killing of Christians, Jews, and anyone else who refuses the mark of the beast. That is one of the many horrors of the end days. Both Jesus and the apostles promised that persecution and tribulation would be a part of the Christian life, and the end days will be the greatest test of our faith.
We are given multiple prophecies in both the Old Testament and New Testament of these last days. The apostle John was given visions of seals being opened, trumpets being blown, and the bowls of God’s wrath being poured out during this time period. The end days are a combination of Satan having a last-ditch effort to control the world and God purging the earth because of unbelief and idolotry. It all culminates with the day of the Lord, which happens on the last day…just before the millennial reign of Jesus Christ begins after His second coming.
So, in as much of a nutshell as possible, what must happen before the millennial kingdom begins?
There are many opinions concerning interpretation and timing of end-days events. Nobody really knows for sure when the seals or trumpets will begin, but I personally think they will start within the last 2300 days of normal human history (Dan. 8:13,14), but we may already see signs or foreshadowings of their fulfillment. The four horsemen of the 1st four seals pertain to a world ruler who has the power to conquer (seal 1), worldwide violence (seal 2), economic disaster (seal 3), and death to one-quarter of the world by famine, violence, wildlife, and other forms of death (seal 4). When we see a drop in population by about 1.75 billion people, we will know that the seals have been opened. The 5th seal represents Christians who will be martyred for their faith (Rev. 6:1-11).
When the seven trumpets of the end days are about to begin to blow, the world will first see, feel, and hear voices, thunder, lightning, and an earthquake (Rev. 8:2-5). If we recognize that sign, we will at least be mentally prepared for what’s coming next:
7 The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. 8 Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. 9 And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. 10 Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter. 12 Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night. – Revelation 8:7-12, NKJV
The results of all of the trumpets are pretty extreme world events. It will be clear to those watching that the end of the world is upon us just with the first 4 trumpets. But the wrath of God will not be poured out until closer to the end of the great tribulation and on the last day when Christ returns.
The fifth trumpet will bring what seems to me to be a very odd type of locust. Others will interpret this with military symbolism. Whatever it represents, unbelievers will be so tormented by them for 5 months that they will want to die, but will not be able to (Rev. 9:1-11). After the sixth trumpet blows, another 1/3 of humanity is to be killed by fire, smoke, and brimstone released from an army of 200,000,000 horsemen (Rev. 9:13-19).
It seems that 30 days after the daily sacrifices are cancelled, the antichrist is given power to reign on earth for 1260 days during the period of the great tribulation. It is possible that when the bowls of God’s wrath begin to pour out, his rule will be rendered irrelevant because the whole world will be in the greatest turmoil yet. I personally speculate that God’s bowls of wrath begin 45 days before the day of the Lord ushers in the beginning of the millennial kingdom.
11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. – Daniel 12:11,12, NKJV
The “blessed” who have waited until the end of 1335 days is probably referring to the surviving Jews who never took the mark of the beast and then enter the millennial kingdom as mortals after God’s wrath has been poured out on the earth. After the prophet Zephaniah prophecies against a disobedient Israel because of breaking the Law, he seems to speak exactly of these survivors.
8 “Therefore wait for Me,” says the Lord, “Until the day I rise up for plunder; …All the earth shall be devoured With the fire of My jealousy. 9 “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all may call on the name of the Lord, To serve Him with one accord. – Zephaniah 3:8,9, NKJV
What happens during these last 45 days (or whatever time period it takes)? Out of the first six bowls of God’s wrath come the following: 1) boils infect everyone who worshiped the beast and took the mark, 2 & 3) all waters are poisoned, resulting in the death of all sea-life, 4) the sun scorches people with fire, 5) darkness falls upon the kingdom of the antichrist/beast government, and 6) …the armies of the world begin to march in preparation of the “great day of God Almighty.” (Rev. 16:1-14)
Then comes the day of the Lord when Christ returns to complete the end-of-the-world events before taking His throne on earth for the next thousand years of true global peace…God’s way! From multiple scripture passages, I have pieced together much of what happens on this last day of normal human history…when the 6th seal is opened, the 7th trumpet is blown, and the 7th bowl of God’s wrath is poured out onto the earth:
When the seventh angel sounds, a declaration is made that the millennial reign of Jesus Christ is about to begin. “There were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’ …Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.” (Rev. 11:15,19, NKJV)
We see the same phenomena when we read some of the events of the 6th seal:
12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. – Revelation 6:12-14, NKJV
I believe that the 6th seal is talking about the same earthquake referred to when the seventh trumpet was sounded. When the 7th bowl is released upon earth, it also reveals identical events to the seventh trumpet. “And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. …Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men.” (Rev. 16:18-21, NKJV). The 7th bowl also refers to the mountains and islands being moved out of their places, as described in the sixth seal.
And we know that all this takes place after the tribulation is over at the time Christ returns to earth from the following passage:
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. – Matthew 24:29-31, NKJV
Just like those verses were obviously tied together with timing at the last day of the end days, I will attempt to construct a general timeline of events that happen on the day of the Lord, that fill in more details as I have compared additional scripture to each other. It is a big day and occurrences on this particular day will happen rapidly and overlap each other.
Terror in the sky and environment
When Christ returns on this last day of what I believe to be God’s 6000-year plan, the lights will go out in the sky. Neither the sun, moon, nor stars will shine. Stars (perhaps meteors) will fall from the sky. The sky will shake and actually roll up like a scroll. (Who could really explain that one?) There will be lightning, thunder, and an earthquake like nothing that has ever been seen. The earthquake will not only be felt in Israel, but worldwide. It will cause every mountain and island to move out of their places. Mountains and steep places will fall, every wall will fall to the ground, and the cities of the nations will fall. Hail that weighs between 75 and 100 pounds will fall and kill people. It is prophesied that all sea-life, birds, beasts, creeping things, and humans will shake at the presence of God.
Second coming of Christ
Jesus Christ will return like a thief at the same time as all this is happening. He returns like a thief to those who are not expecting Him (mostly unbelievers). But believers are told to watch the signs and be prepared for the day of the Lord so they are not caught off guard like the rest of the world.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. – II Peter 3:10, NKJV
The Bible also describes Christ’s second coming in other ways, by other of His divine titles:
He is called the Son of Man as He appears in heaven on a white cloud. He is called Faithful and True, the Word of God, as He rides on a white horse to earth. On His way here, He gathers all believers dead and alive in the resurrection and post-tribulation rapture. (Note: there is no rapture until the return of Christ after the tribulation. Only Christians who have endured and survived the great tribulation will be resurrected/raptured alive when Christ returns to become King on earth.) The Bible also says that the Lord my God will come will all His saints. All saints (believers) will return as a great army with Jesus Christ when He descends to earth upon the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Now, the only ones alive on earth are unbelievers, some who had received the mark of the beast and others who did not.
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. – Zechariah 14:1-4, NKJV
The wrath of God
A big part of the day of the Lord’s return is so God can pour out His wrath on the earth for rebellion, unbelief, and the worship of false gods. The counterfeit global peace of the antichrist will no longer be a hope for the deceived. He will first punish Israel and Jerusalem as He gathers armies from every nation against them at what is called the battle of Armageddon. God is using these nations to pour out His “indignation” and “fierce anger” on Israel because they never accepted Jesus as their Messiah. Instead, they started to sacrifice animals again in the end days and many will have received the mark of the beast, probably because the antichrist deceived them into thinking he was their long-awaited Messiah.
Although God is responsible for gathering the nations to what is also called the Valley of Jeshoshophat and the valley of decision to punish Israel, He also calls Israel His heritage. When Christ returns, He will turn His judgment against the attacking armies and show mercy to a portion of Israel, probably those who never received the mark of the beast.
When Jews see Christ coming in the sky, they mourn because they now know that their ancestors had crucified their Messiah about 2000 years ago (Zech. 12:10). All unbelievers on earth will see the Lord coming from heaven and agonize over what’s coming next. But it is too late to be part of the resurrection. It is now a game of survival for all. Perhaps all will truly realize it is the end of the world as they know it.
15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” – Revelation 6:15-17, NKJV
This one day (Zech. 14:7) is when unbelieving humanity will experience the full wrath of God. The whole earth will be devoured with the fire of God’s fury, jealousy, indignation, and vengeance “on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (II Thessalonians 1:8)
The Bible describes a sharp sword coming from the mouth of the Lord that strikes the nations, and that the slain will be many. The armies coming against Israel will be like a winepress that the Lord tramples in, causing blood to flow up to the horses bridles (Rev. 14:19,20; 19:15; Joel 3:13)
In other scripture, it is said that as the nations go against Jerusalem, they will become like they are drunk. The horses will be struck with blindness, and riders will become mad (probably a sense of insanity). The Lord will plague the “people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths. 13 It shall come to pass in that day That a great panic from the Lord will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, And raise his hand against his neighbor’s hand.” (Zechariah 14:12,13)
The Lord calls birds and beasts to devour the dead on the open field of the mountains of Israel – kings, princes, the mighty, captains, horses, riders, and all the men of war…as well as the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.
Judgment against the beast and all who received the mark
As the beast/antichrist commands armies to war against Christ when He returns, we know what happens to the armies. But what happens to the world leader who deceived humanity for the last few years with a false sense of security?
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. – Revelation 19:20, NKJV
And what about the people throughout the world who worshiped the beast and took his mark?
9 If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. – Revelation 14:9-11, NKJV
I really suggest that you confess faith in Christ today if you haven’t already. But if you just can’t do it, please remember…don’t take the mark of the beast. You may still have a chance of survival and be among those who enter the millennial kingdom alive.
Jesus Christ fights for and protects a remnant in Israel
It sounds like two thirds of Israel will die on the day of the Lord’s wrath, known as the time of Jacob’s trouble (Zech. 13:8). But God will then have mercy on one-third remnant as He tries them with fire. They finally recognize Jesus as their Messiah upon His return and He pours on them a Spirit of grace. His remnant in Jerusalem will be victorious with Christ as He conquers the armies going against them. Then Israel will return to their land from every country as the millennial kingdom gets under way.
The millennial kingdom begins
Everything that I have described from scripture in the last part of this article when Christ returns happens during part of one day, with darkness covering the earth. But then the end-of-the-world scenario will be over, and God’s true new age of global peace will begin.
6 It shall come to pass in that day That there will be no light; The lights will diminish. 7 It shall be one day Which is known to the Lord– Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen That it will be light. …9 And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be– “The Lord is one,” And His name one. – Zechariah 14:6-9, NKJV
Jerusalem will be rebuilt and safely inhabited for the next thousand years. All the surviving Israelites will return to their land from every country and know that Jesus Christ is the Lord their God. All Gentile survivors will know that Jesus is the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. The millennial kingdom reign of Christ has begun.
(This article pieces together the following scripture references: Isaiah 66:14-16; Ezekiel 38:9-23; 39:1-29; Jer. 30:4-11; Joel 3:1-16; Zephaniah 3:8,9; Zechariah 12:1-10; 13:8,9; 14:1-14; Matthew 24:29-31; I Thessalonians 5:1-6; II Thes. 1:7-10; 2:1-8; II Peter 3:10; Revelation 6:12-17; 11:15-19; 14:9-20; 16:15-21; 19:11-21)
In the next article, we will see more details regarding the remnant of Israel. The millennial kingdom IV, the surviving remnant of Israel