Christ’s Second Coming and the Tribulation

The Christian Mark of the Beast Survival Manual Copyright © 2014 by Erik K. Olinger All rights reserved.

READERS: This is a rough-draft of the manuscript.  It is unedited and contains errors that will be corrected at the final release.


Christ’s Second Coming and the Tribulation


Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen (NIV Rev. 1:7).

Whenever the secular world gossips about the end-times, it usually is a far-fetched imminent doomsday that looms on special calendar days of the year such as the passing of a millennium, or better yet perhaps it is when the solar system aligns a certain way at the close of the Mayan calender. They would like one to fancy robots taking over earth or maybe even the resurrection of Hitler or Elvis as the sign that the end is near. There is no a mention of Jesus Christ’s return and the rise of the beast system, and if there is, it is misinformation with no biblical basis whatsoever to substantiate it. One certainly will not hear anything worthwhile on television. There need be no confusion about what will happen in the end, and yes there is an end of this age. Jesus Christ, a man who really walked this earth, was crucified, resurrected, and ascended to heaven, and shared the plan with the world via prophecy. Skeptics may be quick to dispute the existence of Jesus, and therefore not believe in the testimony of the N.T. They have not investigated the predictive prophecies or historical facts surrounding the life of Jesus. The Hebrew prophets sent by God had powers that they would use to prove the existence of God to those without faith. Now that Christ has interceded, we have been given additional detailed descriptions and warnings about a time of trouble, and the congruity between the old and the new is maintained. If someone were to not trust the N.T., they probably wouldn’t trust the O.T. either, but at least the two are in harmony. Why are they in harmony? Because God sent the message, and God has never lied. There is an apocalyptic scenario that will test the world.

The Apocalypse

The Apocalypse is the end of this age, and features a period of time known as the Great Tribulation. Christ will unexpectedly return in vengeance as King, and the Second Coming will preempt the age to come, the thousand year reign of Christ (Rev. 20:4, 7—the major views discussed later in this chapter) also known as the Millennium. A new heaven and new earth will come about sometime after the wrath (remember to refer to the chronology written in a previous chapter). The day of Lord refers to the time preceding the Second Advent. The earth will be ravaged, and everything laid bare,

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells (NIV 2Pe. 3:10-13).

The tribulation is known by other horrendous names. That day that is coming quickly is a day of distress and anguish and a day of vengeance and wrath,

The great day of the LORD is nearnear and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the LORD is bitter; the Might Warrior shouts his battle cry. That day will be a day of wratha day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blacknessa day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers. “I will bring such distress on all people that they will grope about like those who are blind, because they have sinned against the LORD. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like dung. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD’s wrath.” In the fire of his jealousy the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth (NIV Zep. 1:14-18).

The day of the Lord will be gruesome and will cause massive panic in every part of the world,

Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Because of this, all hands will go limp, every heart will melt with fear. Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame (NIV Isa. 13:6-8).

Nothing will be left to the wicked during this time,

“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day this is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them (NIV Mal. 4:1).

This will not be a good time to be evil-minded. Those who think up evil will figuratively be taken away to the vultures,

I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” “Where, Lord?” they asked. He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather” (NIV Lk. 17:34-37).

The Lord’s Return

Earth will experience changes prior to the return of Christ. There will be increased sin, signs in the sky and on earth, and an increase in false Christs who will claim to be the Lord (for an idea of what the world will be like around the end, finish reading this chapter and see Up against the Mark—What Can be Expected?). The false Christs should not be believed upon nor sought after. When Christ returns, no one can mistake His presence,

At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. “Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other (NIV Mt. 24:23-31).

As the lightning comes from the east and can be seen to the west, so the Lord will return in the clouds with his angels. Every person will see Him,

For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other (NIV Lk. 17:24).

Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him” (NIV Rev. 1:7).

At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory (NIV Lk. 21:27).

The Lord’s return will be a dramatic unexpected appearance. People will not be ready for His return. They’ll continue going about their business up until when He appears as did the people in the days of Noah and the Flood. No one should try to save their life on that day. They will lose it. Anyone who loses their life, and this means that they will have humbled themselves before Christ by following His instructions, will save it. Christ reminded His listeners about Lot’s wife who did not follow instruction to not look back at Sodom, and she became a pillar of salt,

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it” (NIV Lk. 17:26-32).

When Christ will return, no one can be certain of. Date-setting has proven in history to be disastrous and erroneous. One should affirm that the end is near, and look hopefully to its coming without erring the way of false-predictions. Christ shared that the angels in heaven do not know the date, nor He Himself. Christ will come like a thief in the night,

but about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (NIV Mt. 24:36).

You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him (NIV Lk. 12:40).

Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and shamefully exposed” (NIV Rev. 16:15).

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night (NIV 1Th. 5:1-2).

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray (NIV 1Pe. 4:7).

Preterism or One Day a Thousand Years, a Thousand Years a Day?

Preterism is an eschatology view that some hold that finds the past fulfillment of Bible prophecy. They believe that most of the events of Revelation took place by 70 A.D. (preterism will be discussed later in this chapter). Preterism is mentioned here briefly while a few more verses about the return of Christ are presented. The Lord shared some warnings that appear as if Jesus meant that He would return in the lifetime of the disciples, and a few of those verses are given here,

When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes (NIV Mt. 10:23).

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom (NIV Mt. 16:27-28).

Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened (NIV Mt. 24:34).

The previous three verses are used by preterists as time-indicators that Christ was to return in the generation of those alive in Christ’s time in the first century. Preterists find the fulfillment of the Second Coming of Christ in the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. However, it is this author’s assessment that Christ was preparing that generation to be ready for His unexpected return, and thus starting a tradition to be taught to future generations so that they will be prepared for the visible dramatic return Christ promised. Christ is to return soon and unexpected as He said He would, but preterism can by disputed by one fact, among others, the knowledge that the early apostles still looked for Christ’s return after what many, though not all, historians believe to be past 70 A.D. One must remember and understand, as the author of Second Peter did, that a delayed appearance can still be according to God’s time-plan,

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”…But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (NIV 2Pe. 3:3-4, 8-9).

The Parables

Jesus, believe it or not, was a master story-teller. He gathered large audiences and shared with his listeners stories about heaven, morality, love, and some about the end-times. The parables, life-lesson allegories, should not be discredited as only fables of morality. To keep with the motto shared earlier of interpreting Scripture literally with the first sense, and if that doesn’t make sense then to seek the second sense, lest the result be nonsense, the parables must be integrated into anyone’s view of Jesus and the end-times.

The parable of the weeds is a story about when Christ comes to execute judgment, a time when He says He will separate the righteous who are the wheat, and the wicked who are the weeds. The harvest in the parable is the Second Coming,

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn’” (NIV Mt. 13:24-30).

The parable of the net allegorizes that the angels are God’s fishermen, who separate and gather in the end,

Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fisherman pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in the baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (NIV Mt. 13:47-50).

Christ told in typical colorful and understandable fashion a parable of ten virgins at a wedding. It illustrates that we must be prepared and patient while waiting for the bridegroom Christ,

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour (Mt. 25:1-13).

When Jesus returns, He will gather the sheep and separate the goats. It is this parable that shows that those who are loving toward the brothers and sisters of Christ will receive their reward. The goats who do nothing for the brothers and sisters are punished,

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (NIV Mt. 25:31-46).

The parables shared above are only the parables of Jesus concerning the end-times. They are expressive and meant to captivate the minds of those who will listen and try to understand. Jesus used parables to speak to people who couldn’t understand Him, and there are many other fine non-apocalyptic parables that he spoke. He clearly wanted to forewarn of impeding danger for those who want to live wickedly. Best of all is that Christ promised to gather the righteous to Him! This is a guarantee that those who live righteously will be rewarded in the end.

Is the End Near?

Today, crisis after crisis occurs leading people to believe that the end is close. Today, those who believe the end is drawing close are witnessing the infancy of crisis that preempts the near return of Christ. Shortly before His return, people will do themselves the disservice of doing things like pretending to be the savior, engaging nations in warfare, destroying the earth, creating chaos, and persecuting the saints heavily. The saints should not be alarmed by this. Because the time of the end is a judgment against the people of earth, God has noticed the destruction the beast system has caused and will reign his wrath down on the wicked and the beast system. This necessitates the Lord to end all peace with earth, accompanied by weather and strange phenomena on earth and in space (weather and environmental phenomena coming from both the beast and God). Those who are in Judea are to flea, there will be some kind of abomination there. People will be deceived and in great distress,

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again (NIV Mt. 24:4-21).

The abomination that causes desolation must be a future event that will occur before the Second Coming, and may be “an idolatrous act, object, or person that makes the temple desolate of worshippers.1” Jesus indicated that the abomination that causes desolation was yet to come, and it is clear that the fulfillment of the desolation was not in Daniel’s time. The forewarnings of Jesus above will be manifest some time before His return. The forewarnings are to give an affirmation of imminent judgment for the attentive eye. This generation’s beliefs and ways are corrupt and the end is close enough to see.

A Seven Year Tribulation?

The goal of reading this manual should be to better be able to form one’s own opinion about the topic. With that in mind, a theory of a seven year period of tribulation will be shared here to get an idea of a belief that has become increasingly popular. This author neither fully accepts the belief, nor rejects it. One can read every part of Scripture and come to a general conclusion of what school of thought to subscribe to, and then still disagree with a possible match at some points that are implicated. Sometimes not having the same answer as everyone else is best. Beyond basic pre-millennialism, dispensationalism is a belief that the end-times can be broken up into certain dispensations, and is starkly one group that is of the pre-millennial school of thought. Dispensationalists and some miscellaneous pre-millennialists hold that the tribulation is a seven year period of time, basing this on the book of Daniel and on the book of Revelation using the thirty days in a month Jewish calender. Daniel says a covenant is made that becomes broken. This covenant is presumed by dispensationals to be between the antichrist and Israel as a peace treaty that begins the seven year tribulation (or is this covenant with many countries?). The seven year period is deduced from the following passage in Daniel, and from the “forty-two months” and “1260 days” of Revelation 11:2-3 and 13:5,

“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place. “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him” (NIV Da. 9:24-27).

The seven “sevens” plus sixty-two “sevens” is 483 years (Da. 9:25). 483 years was to be between the time word went out to rebuild Jerusalem and the time the Messiah would come. Dispensationalists believe on basis of the historical Cyrus Decree, that it was exactly 483 years until the Messiah came, thus validating part of the prophecy in Daniel. The official dates of the Cyrus Decree have been historically lost and it is anyone’s guess. From after the 483 years until the one “seven” (Da. 9:27) is an indeterminate length of time, however during this period the Messiah was to be put to death, Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed, and war and desolation would continue to the end (Da. 9:26). The Messiah truly was killed as we know, the Fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple took place in 70 A.D., and wars and trouble have not desisted. After an unknown length of time, the one “seven,” which represents seven years, will commence when the “ruler to come,” the antichrist, is supposed to confirm a covenant with many for seven years. Around what some believe will be three and a half years into the seven year tribulation, the antichrist will desecrate the temple and set up an abomination that causes desolation (Da. 9:27). The antichrist will put an end to sacrifice and offering, which would imply that sacrifice will have been reinstituted, which requires the Temple be rebuilt (for difficulties of why the Temple cannot readily be restored according to proper procedure in the Hebrew Bible, please see the heading Building a Temple Unlikely?” in the chapter, The Old and New Covenants). Take note that the seven year tribulation theory implies that either it takes less than seven years to receive the mark of the beast, or that those who refuse the mark verbally are disposed of quickly (which probably has truth to it). That is the typical dispensational pre-millennial pre-tribulation seven year tribulation theory and some of the associated dilemmas.

Further Lengths of Time

From this point forward for simplicity and literalness, some of the time lengths given in Revelation will be referred to as they appear in Scripture. That means that if forty-two months is written in Revelation, forty-two months is how it will be referenced (three and a half years is also appropriate, forty-two months equals three and a half years using the thirty day Jewish calendar the O.T. used and that was still in use when Revelation was written). This will be a good foundation, but if anyone is able to precisely decrypt Revelation with certainty, God be with Him! No one method of interpretation will yield flawless precision. The literal approach and seeking the next sense if needed is great. What happens though when time lengths are all taken literally, yet one length of time is obviously a symbolic representation? For instance, the thousand year reign of Christ is translated from the Greek word for the numerical value of thousand. The time length seems to be a literal millennium, but some of the other numbers do not. What are we supposed to think when there is an inconsistency in the Bible’s use of measurements, such as using days or months to measure the same amount of time (was the thirty days in a month calender really used, or were some months 29 days)? The Bible specifies that the amount of time the Holy City will be trampled on is forty-two months, three and a half years with the thirty day calender,

But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months (NIV Rev. 11:2).

The amount of time two witnesses (discussed later in this chapter) will prophesy is 1,260 days. Notice that this length of time is specified in days, not months (this verse is situated only one verse from the previous verse that used months), even though it equals to three and a half years as well using the thirty day calender,

And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth (NIV Rev. 11:3).

The witnesses will be killed, but will be resurrected from the dead after three and a half days, and will return to heaven (Rev. 11:11-12). In the latter-day events, an important symbolic woman flees to the wilderness from the antichrist and is taken care of for 1,260 days,

The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days (NIV Rev. 12:6).

The 1,260 days of Revelation 12:6 are a time, times, and half a time, an expression borrowed from Daniel,

The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach (NIV Rev. 12:14).

The time that the antichrist (the beast out of the sea) will be permitted to blaspheme and glorify himself is also forty-two months (the Bible switches back to using months again instead of days to describe apparently the same amount of time, not concurrently with the presence of the two witnesses, but consecutively—the two witnesses first, then the proud words of the beast),

The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months (NIV Rev. 13:5).

Every single occurrence of “one hour” in Revelation appears to just mean a short while, not one literal hour. Would one say “Wait a minute,” and expect someone to count sixty seconds? Three occurrences of “one hour” refer to the destruction of the latter-day Babylon commercial/economic system, which prophecy exclaims “In one hour your doom has come!” (NIV Rev. 18:10), and “In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!” (NIV Rev. 18:17), and “In one hour she has been brought to ruin!” (NIV Rev. 18:19). Clearly the prophecy does not intend to communicate that it takes sixty minutes for God to destroy Babylon, but rather that it happens “overnight,” another figurative allusion to “quickly.” Consider the ten kings who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast (Rev. 17:12). I hardly think these kings will rule with the beast for sixty minutes, unless a television interview brings them to power whereupon at the end of the show they all lose their kingdom and power. Perhaps the time lengths in Revelation are not all literal, but then interpretation yields to abstraction. At least they are God’s way to give people forewarning and proximity to what to expect. Another ray of light God promised that we can rely upon, and we should truly thank God for this one, is that the tribulation will not be an extended length of time,

If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened (NIV Mt. 24:22).

The elect the passage above refers to are those who either entered the tribulation as faithful servants of God, or who became so during the time of tribulation. The 144,000 servants of God, who will be discussed shortly, are elect and present during the tribulation. Some may see a discontinuity in the passage above with the dispensational pre-tribulation rapture theory.

The Man of Lawlessness

The antichrist is not a fictional character. He is termed “the man of lawlessness” (NIV 2Th. 2:3), and emerges as a world ruler in the end. The “false messiahs and false prophets” (NIV Mt. 24:24) that Jesus forewarned of, culminate in the antichrist. The beast out of the sea (Rev. 13) describes the antichrist, however the beast out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads (Rev. 13:1) are elite powers that the man of lawlessness arises from, and represent evil government. The antichrist has a supreme pivotal position of power. Considering that the beast is going to be a global power, the United Nations is the closest power we have today that the antichrist can arise from. The European Union has also joined as one large economic power, and with those two powers expanding, the beast will have a powerful system to control. The antichrist is given power and authority by the dragon, complementary with the dragon’s throne (Rev. 13:2). He will have a counterfeit gospel and will be a ruler for many, deceiving with signs and miracles,

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness (NIV 2Th. 2:1-12).

One can find connections to a similar man in the book of Daniel, a personage who an overwhelming number of scholars link to the antichrist. Drawing attention to the fourth beast of Daniel 7 (unrelated to the beast of Revelation), described prophetically is beast which was “terrifying and frightening and very powerful” (NIV Da. 7:7). The fourth beast is commonly thought among commentators to be the Roman Empire, and is symbolically possessing of ten horns. A little horn came up among the ten horns, and uprooted three of the first horns. The little horn “had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully” (NIV Da. 7:8). This little horn in Daniel 7 is widely understood as representing Antiochus Epiphanes IV, or is sometimes seen as the future antichrist himself. Antiochus IV can also be coupled to Daniel 8. The typological view is that Antiochus, who in history did acts that the antichrist will do in the future, is a type of the future antichrist to come. Antiochus stopped the Jewish daily sacrifices, desecrated the sanctuary, and was boastful and elevated himself as if he were God. Historically, he sought to outlaw Jewish customs and was successful in his escapades. The little horn of Daniel 7 is also arguably linked to the Catholic Papacy or to Islam, as manifestations of the antichrist. The future antichrist will work passionately hand-in-hand with Satan, a false prophet, and world rulers, as a dictator in what some understand will be a revived Roman Empire (Da. 2, 7). He certainly will be fierce, and will succeed at whatever he does,

In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power (NIV Da. 8:23-25).

The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place (NIV Da. 11:36).

As we see, the man of lawlessness will claim to be God much like Antiochus IV (2Th. 2:4), and will use his intellect and power given to him to be a strong leader (Da. 8:23-24; Rev. 13:3-8), even possibly bringing temporary peace to many with a seven year covenant that is broken half way through (Da. 9:27). The man of lawlessness is “the man doomed to destruction” (2Th. 2:3), and he will bring swift destruction on himself (2Th. 2:8; 2Pe. 2:1).

The beast that arises out of the sea is spear-headed by the antichrist, but is composed of many rulers under authority of their king. The beast out of the sea is described as resembling animals. In Daniel 7 is a similarity. The animals of Daniel 7 represent world kingdoms, which may indicate the global control we know the antichrist will have. After he is revealed he will have a fatal wound that is healed,

The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns in its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. People worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” (Rev. 13:1-4).

Readers may wonder why the antichrist is able to succeed at everything he does. Simply, the man of lawlessness is held back until the end of this age, and he isn’t revealed until God has had enough of mankind’s wickedness and ends His peace on earth. Subsequently, the enemy will have great power during this time to control the world, however God will not give the antichrist unlimited time to do this. He will only be granted authority to conquer for forty-two months (lengths of time were investigated earlier and for simplicity are referred to literally),

The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. Whoever has ears, let them hear. “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on part of God’s people (NIV Rev. 13:5-10).

After invading many countries, the antichrist will apparently be engaged by other rulers in the end and will come to his demise (his capture is described later). There is reason to believe the following passage, the climax of the Daniel prophecies, is regarding the antichrist’s demise,

At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in great rage to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him (NIV Da. 11:40-45).

The antichrist will:

  • Claim to be God.

  • Be a strong leader.

  • Bring temporary peace with a covenant that becomes broken half way through.

  • Is doomed to destruction.

  • May have a fatal wound that is healed.

  • Be boastful and slanderous.

  • Conquer for a period of time.

  • Accept self-worship.

  • Invade many countries.

  • Come to his end without any help from anyone.

Who Is the Antichrist, and Who Is the Restrainer?

Before the antichrist can be revealed, the restrainer that holds him back from coming must be removed (2Th. 2:6-7). Yet, many see any loathed personage, whoever it may be, as fulfilling the antichrist. When he comes, there will be the displays of power discussed already (2Th. 2:9; Rev. 13:13-14). The beast is here forming to full power, but the antichrist is not. When there are pressing warning signs accompanied by strong biblically grounded evidence, then perhaps the antichrist has been revealed. It is true that many like the future man of lawlessness will come forth through many acts of evil even before the end (Mt. 24:24). Preterists (post-tribulationists) come to the understanding that the fulfillment of the antichrist (the beast out of the earth) was in Emperor Nero, who reigned from 54-68 A.D. The book of Revelation, which for futurists (pre-tribulationists are futurists) has yet to be completely fulfilled, was written in 81-96 A.D. much after the death of Nero in 68 A.D. It still looked for the emergence of the antichrist (Rev. 1:19). The literal approach to interpretation, as well as the Epistles, reveal that he has yet to come. The identity of the restrainer is unknown, but perhaps he is the Holy Spirit.

The False Prophet

A second beast comes forth out of the earth that has the purpose of making the inhabitants of the earth worship the first beast. The beast out of the earth represents false religion, and will be headed by a false prophet. The second beast has two horns like a lamb, which symbolizes innocence, but he speaks like a dragon and will use his innocent appearance to deceive. He will have the authority of the first beast, which is Satan’s authority, and will perform great signs as a false prophet,

Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And it performed great signs, even causing first to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people (NIV Rev. 13:11-13).

This false prophet, a man as dangerous as the antichrist, will further the lie of the first beast. They are hideous con-men who will stop at nothing to boaster themselves onto the lips of the people of earth. There have been false prophets in the past, of which this false prophet will be the pinnacle. Many will be deceived by the signs that the false prophet will do in full view of the people of earth, and the people will believe the lie of this lamb-like man. He will quickly erect an image, and will give breath to it so that it can speak. All who refuse to worship the image will be killed. The false prophet will enforce, alongside the antichrist, world leaders, and followers of Satan, that whoever does not have the mark will be unable to buy or sell (please see Abstaining from Practice: Meat, Electricity, and Commerce),

Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666 (NIV Rev. 13:14-18).

The Woman Who Rides the Beast

A “woman who sits on a scarlet beast” is seen by John “drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.” The beast she rides is described as having seven heads and ten horns but is scarlet in appearance. Part of the seven heads is an eighth king who once was, but now is not, and who will come up out of the bottomless pit but go to his destruction (Rev 17:8, 11). The woman who rides the beast represents the false religion and idolatry that has spread from Babylon (Babel) which was built by Nimrod (Ge. 10:8-10). This Babylonian idolatry will become a worldwide ecumenical church that the rulers and people in the end (and even now) follow, and was introduced in Introduction to the Mark of the Beast and Prophecy,

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.” Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. The name written on her forehead was a mystery: BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come. “This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages (NIV Rev. 17:1-5).

Recalling from Introduction to the Mark of the Beast and Bible Prophecy, the Babylonian idolatry symbolically sits on a beast, and is called “the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.” In an indomitable movement, the antichrist and the ten rulers who are to receive authority for a brief time (Rev. 17:12), will bring the Babylonian religion of idolatry to ruin. They “hate the prostitute.” Odd, considering they harbored her for ages. This is when the antichrist commences enforcing the worship of himself. This Babylonian idolatry is active today, as it will be in the future, until the beast brings her to ruin and God ultimately destroys her. The Roman Catholic Church has centuries of Babylonian tradition embedded in her that is a threat to Christianity. Freemasonry and the secret cults engage converts in Babylonian Paganism, and are striving for international organized control. Until they demand explicit worship of themselves (when they have Satan’s authority), these cancers imbibe in the ancient mystery religions.

Pre, Post, and A-Millennialism, and Pre, Mid, and Post-Tribulation Rapture

Noteworthy is that theologians academically identify three mainstream differing views of eschatology and relation to the point in time the Lord returns/returned and the millennial reign of Christ. They are:

  1. Pre-Millennialism.

  2. Post-Millennialism.

  3. A-Millennialism.

Post-millennialists come to an understanding that Christ returns after the Millennium, the thousand years spoken of in Revelation (Rev. 20:4, 7). They interpret the events of Revelation as all having past fulfillment, with most events fulfilled in the first century. Preterists are post-millennialists. Preterism maintains the imminent return of Christ and that He was not delayed in doing the things He said He would. They hold that all events had truly taken place before the generation of Jesus’ day had passed away (Mt. 10:23, 16:27-28, 24:34). Preterists believe the fulfillment of Matthew 24:1-35 was in 70 A.D. when Jerusalem fell. Because they affirm the past fulfillment of the millennial reign of Christ, they consequently place the return of Christ after the thousand years, and so they spiritualize the Millennium and make it symbolic. For the sake of brevity, in isolated doctrine preterism admittedly answers to some of the eschatological questions that arise, but more glaring problems arise such as completely rearranging the timeline of events and not causing anyone to have any hope or preparedness when the beast system does take over the world. Pre-millennialism better answers matter of eschatology. The post-millennial chronology doesn’t add up in this author’s mind, and using a literal approach selectively and then a metaphorical approach at other times to have an explanation fit without a logical formula behind it, works contrary to Scripture when one could reasonably assume that a part of Scripture can be taken literally. Then again, no one will ever be able to interpret Scripture with flawless precision using any formula, as mentioned earlier in this chapter.

A-millennialists, too, do not support the idea of a literal thousand year reign. A-millennialists heavily spiritualize prophecy. Many of the people and events of Revelation are for them, symbolic. For instance, the Church Age ended in 70 A.D. for the a-millennialist, and we are now in a symbolic thousand year reign of Christ not actually having anything to do with an amount of time close to a thousand years. They believe that the two witnesses are really the symbolic spreading of the Gospel in the first century. The Great Tribulation is persecution in John’s time against the Asian Christians, and is something that all Christians throughout history experience. Verses about the Battle of Armageddon are symbolic of the power of God’s word throughout history. Albeit Revelation uses symbolic imagery, yet something literal and tangible can usually be applied to a verse for a sensible literal interpretation. When one is able to disregard sensibility and put in place a loose and hypothetical application, suddenly Scripture becomes anything. Presbyterians, Lutherans, Congregationalists, the Church of Rome, and Methodists are a-millennialists. Martin Luther was the person who brought us a revolution in Christ, and a teacher of solid doctrine, yet these institutions have a different approach to eschatology and usually are silent regarding the coming end.

Pre-millennialists are futurists, and they understand Christ’s return is before the millennial Kingdom is established. They acknowledge that there will be an event known as the “rapture,” where the righteous are caught up to meet the Lord (1Co. 15:51-53; 1Th. 4:16-17; etc.). Furthermore, within pre-millennialism are three different thoughts about when Christ raptures, or “snatches away” believers in relation to the tribulation, which dispensational pre-millennialists hold is a seven year period of time (Da. 9:27).

The three different views within pre-millennialism regarding the snatching away of the church are:

  1. Pre-tribulation.

  2. Mid-tribulation.

  3. Post-tribulation.

Pre-tribs hold that Christ raptures/snatches away saints before the tribulation, thus taking the church to Him before He unleashes judgment upon the earth. This view confirms the promise of Jesus to the church in Philadelphia that, “I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth” (NIV Rev. 3:10). A biblical group of 144,000 will remain on the earth to convert the world (Rev. 7:1-8, 9:4). A pre-trib rapture maintains the imminence of the return of Christ by placing the rapture before the scheduled wrath begins. Dispensational pre-tribs separate the resurrection into three distinct phases: the church, the Old Testament saints, and the tribulation saints. Pre-tribs correlate the removal of the restrainer who holds back the man of lawlessness from being revealed (2Th. 2:6-7) with the Holy Spirit. For them, the Holy Spirit is taken away with the church (the saints) and is absent during the tribulation.

Mid-tribs understand that the saints will be raptured half-way through the tribulation, saving them from the last half of the tribulation.

Post-tribs believe that the Lord returns to earth and snatches away, or “translates” the righteous at the end of the Great Tribulation. They recognize that the righteous have to suffer on earth during this time, however believers will be protected from God’s wrath.

The Rapture

With so many conflicting views, it is easy to become frustrated and disbelieving of maybe even all the views. Rest assured, pre-millennialism fits the world events and prophecy closely. The pre-trib, mid-trib, and post-trib rapture is the question to dispute. Not everyone is going to agree about every point, but sometimes people just have a different understanding of the same concept. A classic exemplar of this is that many Christians will refute the rapture, but will admit to a snatching away of the saints. All Christians do not unanimously believe in the word “rapture” and are correct when they point out that the word “rapture” is not in the Bible. They usually do recognize the following verses which depict a snatching away, but these are also the verses from which pre-tribs derive the rapture,

For 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 the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever (NIV 1Th. 4:16-17).

We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality (NIV 1Co. 15:51-53).

(The trumpet spoken of above is rarely linked to one of the seven trumpets of God’s judgment, see Rev. 8-9, 11:15-19).

The rapture is the harvest of earth, a time when the righteous living and righteous dead saints are resurrected to vastly improved bodies of some kind (for an in-depth analysis of the bodies we are raised in, please see The Resurrection and the 1000 Year Reign of Christ). In order to be resurrected in the first resurrection, one must had been beheaded because of one’s testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God, and/or had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on the forehead or hand (Rev. 20:4-5). The rest of the dead do not come alive until the millennial reign of Christ is complete (Rev. 20:5—please see The Resurrection and the 1000 Year Reign of Christ).

The Judgment Seat of Christ

Every person will stand before Christ for judgment. He has a hot-seat, a bema in Greek, where every person will give an account before God. Many dispensationalists reason that the bema must take place before the Second Coming. For most post-tribs, the Judgment Seat chronologically takes place at the Second Coming. For it, the righteous will receive or lose rewards, but salvation will not be determined at the bema because salvation is not by deeds (Eph. 2:8-9),

For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “’As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God (NIV Ro. 14:10-12).

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (NIV 2Co. 5:10).

The Wedding of the Lamb

After the saints have been snatched away (pre, mid, or post-trib) and the destruction of Babylon is complete (later in this chapter), the Wedding of the Lamb will commence. Christ is the bridegroom (Mt. 9:15; Jn. 3:29) and the bride is the Holy City, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2, 9-10, 22:17). The saints are guests and friends of the bridegroom (Mt. 9:15; Lk. 5:34-35) and are blessed and invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9). The Holy City is “…prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (NIV Rev. 21:2) and “…his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her and wear.’ (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people)” (NIV Rev. 19:7-8). Most dispensational scholars come to the conclusion that the bride is the church, and they link Rev. 19:7-8 to the saints who they believe are the bride of Christ. In one other verse of the Bible is the church compared to Christ as His “pure virgin” bride (NIV 2Co. 11:2). The idea that the church is the bride seems to stem from the certainty that the Holy City will contain the saints who have been sanctified and brought in complete union with God.

The Throne in Heaven

The book of Revelation, along with the book of Daniel, are apocalyptic literature that foretell of latter-day events, as I’m sure is already clear by now. The book of Revelation was given by Christ and by angels to John who was “in the Spirit” (NIV Rev. 1:10) and told to “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later” (NIV Rev. 1:19). After John was given the message that he was to deliver to the seven churches (Rev. 1:20, 2:1-29, 3:1-22), he was in an instant astoundingly taken up to a throne in heaven. What he saw there was something that no living person deserves the privilege of laying eyes upon. There he saw God and Christ seated on a throne, surrounded by twenty-four other thrones (Rev. 4:2-4). Seated on those thrones were twenty-four elders. Imagine the splendor of that glistening room, and the surprise of John. The identity of the twenty-four elders is unknown. They could be ranking angels (although elder denotes older, and as far as we know all angels were created at the same time), or they could be a symbolic representation of the twelve patriarchs and twelve apostles, or redeemed men. John also saw four strange living creatures that had six wings, and who were covered with eyes (Rev. 4:6, 8). Seraphim angels have six wings (Isa. 6:2), and angels are called watchers, and they use their eyes to observe earth and heaven, although the meaning of the “eyes” that the living creatures had is uncertain (the Lamb has seven eyes, and the meaning of them is given in Rev. 5:6, however the meaning of the eyes in that passage cannot apply to this passage). The living creatures are probably four special seraphim angels. The four living creatures never cease worshiping God, and the elders lay their crowns before the throne,

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.” Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (NIV Rev. 4:1-11).

Chronology, Scroll of the Lamb

John was shown things he probably couldn’t relate to anyone in words. He was shown splendid things of heaven, and also graphic horrendous revelation about the time of tribulation for the earth. For this wrath, through the prophecy we know that God will unleash seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls (or vials) of judgment. If one accepts the prophecy as having some form of chronological order (although the whole prophecy cannot), then the seals, trumpets, and bowls are opened, sounded off, and poured out respectively. All seven seals are usually considered sequential by pre-tribs, however the sealing of a group of 144,000 (Rev. 7:1-8—discussed momentarily) takes place in-between the opening of the seals. The angel and the little scroll event takes its place (in John’s writings) in-between the seven trumpets. The arrival of the two witnesses (Rev. 11:1-12) also seems to be slated between the seals and trumpets of the first half of the tribulation, but its possible that they will come around the pouring of the bowls of wrath (discussed momentarily). Multiple events written in the prophecy coincide with the seven bowls that are poured out during the last half of the tribulation. Some pre-tribs see the sounding off of the seventh trumpet as taking place at the end of the Great Tribulation.

The scroll that contains the seven seals that kick start the tribulation can only be opened by someone worthy enough. It would be a waste of time to find someone worthy enough to open it, considering that not even the angels can break the scroll’s seal. Only the Lamb is worthy enough to open the seals, however the trumpets that are sounded off are apparently given to the angels by God to sound off (Rev. 8:2), and one of the four living creatures is given charge over the bowls that are to be poured out (Rev. 15:7). The opening of the scroll that has the seven seals is described by John, but keep in mind that John experienced it while it was happening, but that it has not yet happened on earth,

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped (NIV Rev. 5).

The First Six of Seven Seals (Rev. 6:1-17)

The first seal:

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest (NIV Rev. 6:1-2).

The second seal:

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword (NIV Rev. 6:3-4).

The third seal:

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” (NIV Rev. 6:5-6).

The fourth seal:

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth (NIV Rev. 6:7-8).

The fifth seal:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been (NIV Rev. 6:9-11).

The sixth seal:

I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” (NIV Rev. 6:12-17).

The 144,000 and the Seal of God

At this point in the prophecy coming through John, which this chapter chronologically attempts to follow (this chapter is also chronologically written in a close order to a pre-trib scenario), it is revealed to John that 144,000 people are to receive the seal of God before “the land or the sea or the trees” are harmed (NIV Rev. 7:3). This places the sealing of the 144,000 after perhaps the fifth or sixth seal, or it could be even earlier. Because more than four angels harm the earth after the sixth seal is opened, it is difficult to discern the specific outcome of the destruction the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and sea. The “four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates” (NIV Rev. 9:14) are not the four angels of the land and sea, but rather they have been kept ready “to kill a third of mankind” (NIV Rev. 9:15). Reasonably, the sealing of the 144,000 may occur sometime during the opening of the seven seals at the beginning of the tribulation.

The seal is put on the forehead. Remember that this is the same location as the mark of the beast (Rev. 13:16). The seal is God’s special sign of ownership and protection. Once sealed, the 144,000 saints are spiritually invulnerable to the devil and his angels. The 144,000 are servants of God (Rev. 7:3) and are from the twelve Jewish tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:4). There will only be 144,000 saints whom God seals. They will be dedicated to God in their thoughts and actions, and will preach to the multitudes to convert whomever they can during the tribulation. Notably and thankfully, the enemy will not be able to harm their spirits, which God will have claimed ownership of. It seems that because the 144,000 that are sealed are from the tribes of Israel, that they will be initially Jewish at the start of the tribulation and will come to Christ quickly. This explains how they will have remained on the earth unsnatched away during the tribulation, if a pre-tribulation rapture unfolds. They may also be Christians of Jewish descent,

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000, from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000, from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000 (NIV Rev. 7:1-8).

The Last of the Seven Seals (Rev. 8:1-5)

The seventh seal:

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake (NIV Rev. 8:1-5).

The First Six of Seven Trumpets (Rev. 8:6-13, 9:1-21)

The first trumpet:

Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them. The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up (NIV Rev. 8:6-7).

The second trumpet:

The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed (NIV Rev. 8:8-9).

The third trumpet:

The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water—the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter (NIV Rev. 8:10-11).

The fourth trumpet:

The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, 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 turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night. As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blast about to be sounded by the other three angels!” (NIV Rev. 8:12-13).

The fifth trumpet:

The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them. The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their hands they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek Apollyon (that is, Destroyer). The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come (NIV Rev. 9:1-12).

The sixth trumpet:

The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their numbers. The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury. The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood-idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immortality or their thefts (NIV Rev. 9:13-21).

The Little Scroll

Before John was shown the sounding off of the seventh trumpet, he saw a mighty angel coming down from heaven. This angel had a little scroll in his hand that John was instructed to take from the angel and to eat. Like the Prophet Ezekiel who was given a scroll to eat and told to, “go now and speak to the people of Israel” (NIV Eze. 3:3-4), John was told after eating the scroll that, “’You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings’” (NIV Rev. 10:11). This scroll is perhaps symbolic of digesting what the prophet is to prophesy, and when eaten the prophet can prophesy with supernatural ability. Some scholars believe that the little scroll of Revelation 10 is the no longer needed scroll that had seven seals from Revelation 5, however there are two different Greek words that are used to describe the scroll of Revelation 5 (biblion) and the little scroll of Revelation 10 (biblaridion). Biblaridion is defined as little scroll, indicating that the two scrolls are of different size, and thus separate scrolls unless the difference in the Greek denotes not a change in size, but a lesser importance of the little scroll now that it is not needed past the seven seal judgments. The former is more likely,

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.” Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings” (NIV Rev. 10:1-11).

The Two Witnesses

The seven seals and six trumpets so far unleashed are devastating, but are not all in God’s arsenal that is sent to earth. The 144,000 evangelists that have been vehemently converting the people of earth during the first half of the tribulation will receive additional aid in preaching to the multitudes. Sometime during the tribulation, the Lord will send two witnesses that will affect the people of earth in two ways. If these are two literal people who come to earth to witness, they will be prophets who warn of the future and convict the ungodly of their blaspheme, and they will torture those who do not repent. The people of earth will apparently hate them. They will prophesy for 1,260 days (please remember from the chapter Christ’s Second Coming and the Tribulation that time lengths are referred to literally for simplicity and that an investigation was performed). The Bible does not disclose who the two witnesses are, but if they are not two new prophets they may be Elijah and Moses. Elijah and Moses were present at Jesus’ transfiguration (Mt. 17:1-13; Mk. 9:2-13; Lk. 9:28-36), which pairs them as candidates. The people of earth will dislike the two witnesses, but these are the people who will not repent. After prophesying for 1,260 days, they will be temporarily overcame and killed by the beast who will have come out of the Abyss (bottomless pit KJV) by the time the witnesses finish their testimony (Rev. 11:7, 17:8). The witnesses will be resurrected from the dead after three and a half days, and will return to heaven (Rev. 11:11-12),

I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon (NIV Rev. 11:1-14).

The Last of the Seven Trumpets (Rev. 11:15-19)

The seventh trumpet:

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and an earthquake and a severe hailstorm (NIV Rev. 11:15-19).

The Woman and the Dragon

Disclosed after the seventh trumpet to John was a summary of the ongoing engagement of good versus evil. Parts of the following prophecy have already taken place. A great sign appeared in heaven, a woman pregnant and about to give birth (Rev. 12:1-2). Another sign appeared in heaven, the dragon who swept a third of the stars (often viewed as the angels) to earth, stood before the woman to devour her child (Rev. 12:2-4). The child born that will rule all the nations (Rev. 12:5) is Christ. The dragon is the devil, and the woman may be symbolic of the nation that strove to give birth to Christ, Israel (this author’s belief is not that Israel has been replaced by the church, but that Christians are part of spiritual Israel through Christ). The woman’s child was snatched up to God and his throne (Rev. 12:5). In the end, Israel will flee into the wilderness where she is taken care of for 1,260 days (Rev. 12:6) or time, times and half a time (NIV Rev. 12:14). The woman is given two wings of some kind of great eagle, and will fly to the wilderness (Rev. 12:14). The serpent attacks the woman after the 1,260 days and may cause the wilderness to flood, however the earth helps by “swallowing” the water the dragon caused. The war that broke out in heaven between the holy angels and Satan’s angels is part of this prophecy (Rev. 12:7-12), however many dispensational scholars believe that the war in heaven has yet to come and that Satan’s access to the throne where he accuses the brothers and sisters (Rev. 12:10) will end during the tribulation (see Introduction to the Mark of the Beast and Bible Prophecy). The dragon will pursue Israel and the saints, and is waging war against the remainder of her offspring (Rev. 12:17). This is war is waged against the racial and spiritual remnant of Israel, those who keep God’s commands and follow Christ, and is not limited to physical Israel (Christians are considered descendants of Abraham—see Ro. 9:8, Gal. 3:26-29; etc.),

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus (NIV Rev. 12:1-17).

The 144,000 in Heaven

A group of 144,000 saints appeared to John in heaven where they sang a new song before the throne. This group of 144,000 is in heaven, whereas the 144,000 with the seal of God are still possibly experiencing the tribulation. In comparison, these groups are somewhat different, however this author’s opinion about the 144,000 group in heaven revealed to John at this point in prophecy has come to a resoluteness as of completing this section. My original argument was that the group of 144,000 in heaven was “purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb,” whereas the 144,000 evangelists with the seal will be from twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:4), and also that Scripture seems to introduce the two groups of 144,000 at different times instead of the first time the 144,000 appears. The Lamb purchases men for God, and they are purchased from “every tribe and language and people and nation” (NIV Rev. 5:9) and not only the twelve tribes of Israel. This group of 144,000 seen in heaven could be from non-Jewish tribes, although surely more than 144,000 from every nation will be redeemed by the end. This author settled on believing that this group of 144,000 is the same 144,000 with the seal of God, but that they will have been slain by roughly the mid-point of the tribulation,

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless (NIV Rev. 14:1-5).

Song of Moses and of the Lamb

Halfway through the tribulation, before “the seven angels with the seven last plagues” that complete God’s wrath are poured out, those who have been “victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name” will be, according to prophecy, in heaven and endearingly given harps by God. This group is not exclusively composed of the 144,000 and is not limited to those who experienced the tribulation. Anyone ever victorious over the beast and its image up to this point in time will be merrily playing harps and singing before the seven bowls of God’s wrath are poured out. Is every mark refusing saint present here and eradicated off of the earth? Perhaps they have all been killed by this point for refusing the mark, or perhaps a mid-trib rapture has taken them to heaven. Because more people are to come out of the Great Tribulation (Rev. 7:13-14) after this, perchance only the dead saints who refused the mark are present at this scene. The full number of saints that are to refuse the mark may yet be increasing further into the tribulation (Rev. 6:9-11). A noteworthy point is that if all who refuse the mark are in heaven before the seven bowls are poured out, that they all will have been slain between the time the false prophet emerges and makes it mandatory to have the mark to buy or sell, and before the completion of the sounding off of the seventh trumpet. A Christian can only be quickly physically overcame (see Up against the Mark—What Can Be Expected), not spiritually, and the tribulation will be marked by violence especially for those who will not comply with the beast’s desire to be worshiped,

I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” After this I looked, and I saw in heaven the temple—that is, the tabernacle of the covenant law—and it was opened. Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed (NIV Rev. 15:1-8).

The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath (Rev. 16:1-21)

The first bowl:

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” The first angel went and poured out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image (NIV Rev. 16:1-2).

The second bowl:

The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died (NIV Rev. 16:3).

The third bowl:

The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: “You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, you who are and who were; for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments” (NIV Rev. 16:4-7).

The fourth bowl:

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him (NIV Rev. 16:8-9).

The fifth bowl:

The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done (NIV Rev. 16:10-11).

The sixth bowl:

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon (NIV Rev. 16:12-16).

(The Mount of Megiddo, or har megiddo in Hebrew, is the location of the last battle fought between Christ and israel, versus the antichrist and his army).

The seventh bowl:

The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible (NIV Rev. 16:17-21).

The Fall of Babylon

Those who hold to a literal interpretation of Scripture are looking for the fulfillment of every piece of prophecy. Prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled must in some way be fulfilled in the future, unless there is another explanation. Some authors speculate that the literal city of Babylon will be rebuilt before the day of the Lord. There are unfulfilled O.T. passages concerning the destruction of Babylon (Isa. 13-14; Jer. 50-51). Babylon is not just a literal city in the Bible, though. It also represents a commercial/economic system. Babylon, whatever powerful and profitable nation and commercial system it is representing, will fall toward the end of the tribulation and be completely destroyed,

With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again (NIV Rev. 18:21).

Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants (NIV Rev. 19:1-2).

Although it cannot be discussed in depth in this chapter, increasingly so it is gaining credence that the United States of America in many ways fits the description of commercial Babylon. Although the general population is becoming poorer and poorer to debt, the country is commercially and militarily the mightiest in the world. The oil petrodollar contributes to growing the nation rich, and the U.S. business men and investors are crafty and full of greed and deceit. Unfortunately, the top 1% of the population is taking in growing astronomical figures and most of the wealth. Slowly the upper and middle-class is disappearing to the elite.

The Great Multitude

The Bible calls those who come out of the Great Tribulation, “the great multitude in white robes.” They are from every kind of nation and people and are not limited to the special 144,000 Jewish evangelists. Coming “out of” the tribulation is a term that implies separation from, in this case the glory of the world will not overcome those who come out of the Great Tribulation. The Great Multitude are a plethora of redeemed men and woman of every type, confirming that Christ rewards those who overcome (please see For Those Who Force the Mark on Others),

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’” (Rev. 7:9-17).

Wrath for the Wicked

With all the destruction, pain, and death the tribulation will bring, it may seem that God will have forgotten His people. If the wrath is against earth, what about God’s loyal people on earth? Not everyone is wicked. The wrath is, however, unmistakably for the wicked. The parables verify this (Mt. 13:24-30, 13:47-50, 25:1-13, 31-46), as do both the O.T. and N.T. In the book of Isaiah, the sinners are portrayed as who are destroyed in the end,

See, the day of the Lord is coming—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. I will make people scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of his burning anger (Isa. 13:9-13).

On the day that the Lord acts the righteous will reign,

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty (NIV Mal. 4:2-3).

Those who have their names written will be delivered, the wicked will not,

There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered (NIV Da. 12:1).

The Parousia

All the events of the tribulation lead up to a momentous occurrence that Christians have eagerly awaited for over the centuries. The righteous long for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13), the time when our mighty savior returns with power and glory. Battles between Satan’s forces and Christ’s hosts will be waged, but victory belongs to Christ. The beast, the false prophet, and Satan will be absolutely demolished at the time of Christ’s return and renewal. The first coming of Christ was in patience and servitude, however the second time He comes will not be the same. He will come in splendid glory, furious wrath, wise judgment and to harvest souls. The angels will be alongside Christ gathering the elect from the earth, the righteous who remain after the tribulation (Mt. 24:27-31). The saints will wear fine white linen and will appear with Christ and the angels in glory (Col. 3:4), of which there will be thousands upon thousands,

See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him (NIV Jude 1:14-15).

The Greek word parousia is used in the N.T. to denote Christ’s Second Coming, and it means a coming, arrival, or presence. Undeniably there will be a presence seen when the glorious Christ and heavenly angels come down from heaven in the clouds to quickly gather the saints. For pre and mid-tribs, the raptured saints will also be present at this arrival. Not all Christians do agree about specific order of events, nor about literalness, however the return of Christ is a Christian tenet justified by Scripture. Preterists are the exception in that they find past fulfillment of the return of Christ. A-millennialists do not hold to a literal return. The glorious appearing of Christ is vividly described,

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (NIV Rev. 19:11-16).

The Great Supper of God

After the Lord returns, the Supper of God will unfold. The birds flying midair are called upon to eat the flesh of all people. These seem to be literal birds. The birds are called upon before the armies of earth are fully roused to attack the coming Christ,

And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small” (NIV Rev. 19:17-18).

The Final Battles

The world will see Christ come, and many will unwisely be prepared to wage war against Him. The remaining inhabitants will be filled with anger and will group together for battle. These forces will be under the authority of the antichrist, but they stand no chance against Christ. The battles will be exceedingly bloody and are compared to a grape winepress,

I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia (NIV Rev. 14:14-20).

Precise order of the battles is not able to be determined from either the O.T. or N.T. The O.T. does make known the location of some of the final gruesome battles. The O.T. prophecy of Isaiah depicts the Messiah as wearing a blood stained robe in Edom, which is south of Jerusalem,

Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save.” Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. It was for me the day of vengeance; the year for me to redeem had come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm achieved salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground” (NIV Isa. 63:1-6).

Somewhere in the sequence of events following Christ’s parousia, there may be a battle in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (an unknown biblical valley, or the present day Kidron Valley east of Jerusalem),

“In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land…“Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow—so great is their wickedness!” Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!

For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel (NIV Joel 3:1-2, 3:9-17).

During the tribulation, Jerusalem will be besieged. They will not, however, remain weak from attack, but will be made an immovable rock. Yet, the antichrist’s army will surround and engage Jerusalem despite the approaching return of Christ. When Christ does return, He will set out to protect and fortify Jerusalem. The nation of Israel will be restored to power, and Christ will destroy all the nations that attacked Jerusalem. None of the O.T. predictions about this will go unfulfilled. God promised the restoration of Jerusalem through the prophets,

A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’ “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place. “The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem (NIV Zec. 12:1-9).

The nations that attacked Jerusalem will severely regret their decision. The Lord will attack them, and will crush them. Those against Jerusalem, and even their animals, will be plagued,

This is the plague with which the Lord will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. On that day people will be stricken by the Lord with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another. Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps (NIV Zec. 14:12-15).

The most famous of all the battles is where the word Armageddon is derived from. The final battle of the second Advent will take place in the Mount of Megiddo, or har megiddo in Hebrew,

They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty…Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon (NIV Rev. 16:14, 16).

In all the battles fought, the wicked are slain (Isa. 11:4, 34:1-17, 66:15-16; Jer. 25:29-33; Mic. 4:13; Zec. 14:2; 2Th. 2:8; Rev. 19:15, 17, 20, 21) by the word and breath of Christ and His splendor, the “sword” that comes out of His mouth,

Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter” (NIV Rev. 19:15).

He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked (NIV Isa. 11:4).

The Beast and the False Prophet Captured

The armies under authority of the beast will asininely attempt war with the holy army of Christ, however Christ will be the victor. The beast and false prophet will be captured forever. Their fate is well-deserved,

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur (NIV Rev. 19:19-20).

Any Wicked Left?

Disputable is whether any of the wicked are left on the earth after Christ returns and tramples the winepress. The rest of the wicked seem to be killed by Christ’s “sword,”

The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh (NIV Rev. 19:21).

The O.T., however, seems to impart that a few inhabitants (possibly including the wicked), will remain,

See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitant…The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The Lord has spoken this word…The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left (NIV Isa. 24:1, 3, 5-6).

Focusing upon Zechariah 14, the probability of very few heathen remaining on earth after Christ’s appearance is sustained (please see The Resurrection and the 1000 Year Reign of Christ). The O.T. also confirms that animals and plants will inhabit the earth in the age to come (Isa. 34:2, 11, 13-15).

How Does Christ Return?

After Christ returns in the clouds (Mt. 24:30; Lk. 17:24, 21:27; Rev. 1:7), He will descend the way He ascended to heaven during his first Advent, placing Him on the ground,

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (NIV Ac. 1:11).

His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, and the ground will be split in two,

A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south (NIV Zec. 14:1-4).

The Patriarch Job confirmed that the Redeemer will stand on the earth,

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth (NIV Job 19:25).

A Particular Day?

Violence and chaos will stretch across each day of the tribulation, accompanied by warning signs and dangers in the atmosphere. When Armageddon is fully apparent, each event that occurs will cause the wise to read their Bible for more information about their current dilemma, although the beast will have eliminated as many Bibles as possible. But is there anything particular about the exact day the Lord will return? What will be the sign? The tribulation preceding the appearance of Christ is an unquestionably easy to spot time characterized by judgments. People will see the signs and flee. The actual day that the Lord returns will have a brief warning itself. That day will be marked by average weather, but the sign is that the dark of the night will not come,

You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter (NIV Zec. 14:5-8).

Satan Bound

All sides of the war will have their hands busy during the tribulation. Satan will be hastily involved in every evil act he can further, but he can not scathe the kingdom of God. The Bible is our ally in truth, and it teaches that the power of Christ will finally overcome the devil. The final act of the parousia will end his reign and tyranny in this age. The head of the counterfeit trinity, Satan, will be bound by an angel and thrown into the Abyss (bottomless pit KJV) for a thousand years. This is not where he will indefinitely reside. He will be released again and promptly and ultimately destroyed (see Satan’s Final Battle and the Great White Throne Judgment),

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time (NIV Rev. 20:1-3).

Not Discussed

For the sake of brevity, many passages that concern the latter-days are not discussed throughout this entire manual. Not discussed are some O.T. passages concerning Israel, battles in the end, the burial of the dead, the burning of weapons, and some verses concerning the antichrist.

Final Remarks

Christ’s return will be a blessing for those ready for Him, however anyone caught unprepared will not find the end entirely pleasant. Victory does belong to Jesus, and all are invited to wash their robes and join Christ. One should wholeheartedly ready oneself for an imminent return. Then Christ’s Second Coming will not be a time of shame, but a time of joy and participation.

Chapter Summary

  1. The tribulation is the day of the Lord, among other aliases, and coincides with the return of Christ.

  2. Summarizing the chapter Chronology of Latter-day Events, the pre-millennial order of events is usually considered:

    a. Tribulation.

    b. Second Coming.

    c. Age to come/Millennium.

  3. The tribulation will be an unpleasant time, and the wicked will have nothing left.

  4. Many will claim to be Christ in the end, but Christ’s return will be accompanied with great signs.

  5. Christ’s return will come unexpectedly.

  6. The day when Christ will return is not know, not even by Christ Himself.

  7. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise to return. With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

  8. The parables of Jesus illustrate that:

    a. Christ and the angels separate and gather people in the end.

    b. One must be prepared and patiently wait for Christ.

    c. Those who help the brothers and sisters help Christ.

  9. Warning signs from Jesus that become manifest near the end were shared.

  10. The popular belief that the tribulation may span a seven year period was identified and investigated.

  11. Issues with understanding the lengths of time in Revelation were discussed.

  12. The man of lawlessness, the antichrist, will be a ruler for many deceiving with signs and miracles.

  13. The typological view of history’s Antiochus Epiphanes IV, is that he is a type of the future antichrist to come.

  14. The antichrist will be a master of intrigue and may become a dictator in a revived Roman Empire, as per Daniel.

  15. The antichrist will:

    a. Claim to be God.

    b. Be a strong leader.

    c. Bring temporary peace with a covenant that becomes broken half way through.

    d. Is doomed to destruction.

    e. May have a fatal wound that is healed.

    f. Be boastful and slanderous.

    g. Conquer for a period of time.

    h. Accept self-worship.

    i. Invade many countries.

    j. Come to his end without any help from anyone.

  16. Before the antichrist can be revealed, the restrainer that holds him back must be removed.

  17. A false prophet will have the authority of the antichrist (Satan’s authority), and will perform great signs and cause all who refuse to worship the image of the first beast (antichrist) to be killed.

  18. A woman who sits on a scarlet beast represents the idolatry that becomes an ecumenical church. The antichrist’s coalition will eventually bring the woman to ruin for purposes of self-worship.

  19. That idolatry is present today and active in:

    a. The Catholic Church.

    b. Freemasonry.

    c. Throughout other religions, throughout the world.

  20. The three major views regarding the point of time that the Lord returns in relation to the Millennium are:

    a. Pre-Millennialism.

    b. Post-Millennialism.

    c. A-Millennialism.

  21. Within pre-millennialism are three different views about the snatching away/rapture:

    a. Pre-tribulation.

    b. Mid-tribulation.

    c. Post-tribulation.

  22. Verses from which the rapture is derived, although the word rapture is not in the Bible, were shared.

  23. The Judgment Seat of Christ was identified chronologically.

  24. The Wedding and Supper of the Lamb were introduced. Christ is the bridegroom, the bride is the Holy City, and the saints are guests and friends of the bridegroom and are invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.

  25. The book of Revelation was written by John and is apocalyptic literature that foretells of latter-day events.

  26. The throne in heaven and the twenty-four elders were disclosed.

  27. The opening of the seven sealed scroll was revealed.

  28. The first six of the seven seals of God’s judgment were revealed.

  29. 144,000 will receive the seal of God on their foreheads. They are from twelve tribes of Israel.

  30. The seventh seal was shared.

  31. The first six of the seven trumpets of God’s judgment were shared.

  32. John was given a little scroll and told to eat it and then prophesy about peoples, nations, languages, and kings.

  33. Two witnesses will be sent to earth who will prophesy and lead people to salvation, but will torture those who do not repent.

  34. The seventh trumpet was shared.

  35. The prophecy of the woman and the dragon was given to John. The dragon is Satan, the pregnant woman is possibly symbolic of Israel, and the male child who will rule the nations is Christ.

  36. A group of 144,000 purchased from mankind will be standing on Mount Zion singing a song before the throne by the mid-point of the tribulation.

  37. The dead victorious over the beast and its image will be playing harps and singing in heaven half-way through the tribulation.

  38. The seven bowls of God’s wrath were revealed.

  39. There are unfulfilled Bible passages concerning the destruction of Babylon, which could indicate that the literal city of Babylon may be rebuilt in some way. Toward the end of the tribulation, the commercial/economic Babylon will fall and be completely destroyed.

  40. Those surviving the Great Tribulation are known as “the Great Multitude in White Robes,” and are from every nation and people.

  41. The seven seal, seven trumpet, and seven bowl judgments unleashed will be devastating, but the wrath is unmistakably for the wicked.

  42. At the end of the tribulation, the Lord will return while the saints will wear fine white linen (for their righteousness) and will appear with Christ and the angels in glory. Christ will ride a white horse and will judge and wage war.

  43. The birds flying in midair will be called upon to eat the flesh of all people.

  44. The battles of the great winepress of God’s wrath are portrayed as exceedingly bloody.

  45. The precise order of events following the return of Christ are not known, however Christ will be in a battle in a few locations that are known. They are:

    a. Edom.

    b. The Valley of Jehoshaphat.

    c. Jerusalem.

    d. The final battle in the Mount of Megiddo (Armageddon).

  46. In the battles fought, the wicked are slain by the word and breath of Christ and His splendor, the “sword” that comes out of His mouth.

  47. The beast and false prophet will be captured and thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

  48. Disputable is whether any of the wicked will be left on earth after Christ returns. The remaining wicked seem to be killed by Christ’s “sword,” however the O.T. seems to impart that a “few” will remain, possibly including the heathen.

  49. After Christ returns in the clouds, Christ will descend the way he ascended to heaven, placing Him on the ground. His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, and the ground will be split in two.

  50. Those who attacked Jerusalem during the tribulation will be struck by plague.

  51. The day the Lord returns will be marked by average weather, but the sign is that the dark of the night will not come.

  52. Satan will be bound by an angel and thrown into the Abyss (bottomless pit KJV) for a thousand years, however he will be released temporarily.

  53. One should wholeheartedly become ready for Christ’s imminent return, and then Christ’s Second Coming will not be a time of shame, but a time of joy.