Q. I was wondering if you would “paint me a picture” of the order of events that transpire as and after the army, the Church, and the Tribulation Saints descend from heaven with Christ.
A. At the Lord’s return several important events take place but the order is not always specified. Here’s how I think it’ll go.
As He comes down out of the sky with the armies of Heaven, the enormous contingent of troops preparing to invade Jerusalem are stopped in their tracks, and those already in the city are quickly dispatched. This happens at the sound of His voice. When He actually touches down on the Mt. of Olives, an earthquake splits the City of Jerusalem in two, going right through the Temple Mount to reach the Mediterranean in the West, and through the Judean wilderness to the Dead Sea in the East.(Zech. 14:4,8)
As that happens water will begin to gush forth from beneath the south side of the third Temple, which the Jews will have built a few years earlier just north of Jerusalem in Shiloh. The water quickly fills the ravine created by the earthquake and creates a mighty river that flows from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea (Ezek.47). The smashed ruins of the Temple Mount with its Dome of the Rock and al Aqsa Mosque will lie forever at the bottom of this river.
The whole Earth will declare Him King, and Satan will be bound and brought before him, to be consigned to the Abyss for 1000 years.The anti-Christ and false prophet will be thrown live into the lake of fire to begin their eternal torment.(Rev. 20)
The new Jerusalem, eternal home of the redeemed Church, will descend from Heaven to take up orbit in the proximity of Earth, becoming its source of light (Rev. 21).
I believe all of the above will take place on the Jewish Feast of Rosh Hashannah.
Ten days later, on Yom Kippur, He’ll have established a judgment seat in the Kidron valley for the judgment of Israel and the re-distribution of its land among the 12 tribes. After that, all tribulation survivors from the nations will appear before Him. The believers among them will be ushered into the Kingdom to begin repopulating the Earth, while unbelievers will be removed from the planet to the the outer darkness (Matt. 25:31-46).
Five days after Yom Kippur, on the Feast of Tabernacles He’ll officially begin His millennial reign on Earth.
Some believe that these judgments will require more time than I’ve indicated here and that the Lord’s dealings with Israel alone will actually last for 30 days. I feel pretty confident that Israel’s judgment will be complete at the end of Yom Kippur, Israel’s Day of Atonement, just as it always has been. If another 20 days are required for the reorganization of the Nation, as seems reasonable, it would be consistent with the timing given in Daniel of 1290 days from the abomination of Desolation to the completion of the judgment of Israel including Old Testament saints (Daniel 12:2-11).
If an additional 45 days are required to complete the judgment and re-organization of the nations, set up the Kindgom, and cleanse the defiled third Temple, then God would descend to dwell among the Israelites in the re-dedicated Temple as He promised on the 1335th day from the Abomination of Desolation (Daniel 12:12). Interestingly, it would coincide with the observation of the 2nd Temple’s re-dedication, the Feast of Hanukkah.