by Tad Lindley
Suck in your stomach on this one. I am going to attempt to squeeze in 1,007 years of human future (as opposed to human history) into a single column. For that reason, I will not include any scriptures in here, only the references. Please grab a Bible before you read this so you can go to the verses as I mention them.
End time time line
Shortly before Jesus went to the cross his disciples asked him when the end time would be and what the signs of his return would be (Matthew 24:3). Jesus then spend the rest of Matthew 24 discussing the end time (please stop and read it now). I will attempt to show you the time line that he is discussing using references from many other places in the Bible.
The beginning of sorrows
Jesus explains that there will be wars and rumors of wars, nation against nation, tribe against tribe, famines, pestilences, earthquakes in diverse places and so on. He describes these as the beginning of sorrows, but not the end (Matthew 24:4-8). Then he says that Christians will be afflicted and killed, hated by all nations, sin will increase, many false prophets will come on the scene, and then Gospel will be preached to all the world. At that point the end time shall come. (Matthew 24:9-14)
World War III
At some point there will be a major war. One of the sides will field an army of 200 million soldiers. A third of the people on the planet will be killed in this war. This is not the war of Armegeddon. This war is described in Revelation 9:13-18.
The Antichrist arises
At this time there will be a treaty that is signed by representatives of many nations. This treaty will be the beginning of a 7 year period which is described in Daniel 9:27 (see Daniel 9:24-27 for full context). It will not be obvious who the Antichrist is at that point. We may not even know which treaty the Bible refers to, but there is an event that will irrefutably reveal the identity of the Antichrist.
Abomination of Desolation: Antichrist revealed
Jesus refers to the Abomination of Desolation in Matthew 24:15. He makes it plain that he is referring to Daniel 9:27. Half way through the 7 year period this world leader will cause the Jewish animal sacrifices in a rebuilt Jewish temple to be stopped, and he will step into the temple and proclaim himself to be God (II Thessalonians 2:3-4). In Matthew 24 Jesus warns the people of the West Bank (Judea) in Israel to flee.
After the Abomination of Desolation, there will be great tribulation (Matthew 24:21-26). This will be a terrible time for the people of God. The Antichrist will war against Israel, and against Christians (Revelation 12:13-17).
Mark of the Beast: 666
The Beast is a term that is used to describe the Antichrist. The world government will implement a cashless system. Only people who pledge allegiance to the Antichrist or to his image (such as a symbol or a flag) will get a mark in their right hand or forehead. Like a credit card, this mark will be used to buy things. (Revelation 13:16-18) In fact without it people will be forced to live entirely off of the land.
Battle of Armageddon
At the end of the 7 year period, the armies of the world and the Antichrist will gather against Israel (Revelation 19:19, Joel 3:2,13-14, Revelation 16:14). At this time it will appear as though Israel is finished.
Then as prophesied Jesus will return and cast down the Antichrist and his forces. His return is discussed in these passages: Matthew 24:27-31, Revelation 1:7, I Corinthians 15:51-57, I Thessalonians 4:13-17, II Thessalonians 2:1 (from which we get the word rapture in Latin translation). The saints having been gathered up to meet Jesus in the air will follow after him as he descends to earth (Zechariah 14).
At this time Satan will be bound for 1,000 years, and the world will be ruled by Jesus. It will be a time of peace. Revelation 20 clearly describes this and has a surprise ending which I will not tell you. Read it for yourself and see.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the Bethel United Pentecostal Church.