Perspective by Jack Kelley
(Note: This narrative is a summary of dozens of end times prophecies from both the Old and New Testaments. Its objective is to present a readable overview of the times ahead from a Biblical perspective. )
One day soon when many are not expecting it, there will be a sudden attack against Israel. Even the Israelis will be caught by surprise, carelessly thinking themselves to be at peace. Israel will have recently defeated its next door neighbors as foretold in Psalm 83, and destroyed Damascus, ending its reign as the world’s oldest continuously populated city (Isaiah 17:1). Iran’s proxy Hezbollah and Egypt’s stand-in Hamas will have also been defeated putting an end to the Palestinian issue for good. In a kinder, gentler world the Jews would have had a little time to catch their breath and enjoy a period of peace.
But without warning a coalition of Moslem nations, armed by Russia and led by Iran, will attack Israel with overwhelming force. Were it not for one unforeseen factor this force would have easily been sufficient to totally destroy its target. But long ago the God of Israel chose just this time to reveal Himself through Israel to the nations. With the considerable force at His command He’ll intervene to decimate the Moslem armies. As He does the conflict will go nuclear and warheads will fall on the Middle East, Russia, Europe and perhaps even the USA.
As the battle comes to an end, the Israelis will recognize the Author of their supernaturally wrought victory and joyously petition the Lord to renew their covenant relationship with Him. Jews from all over the world will begin coming to Israel as the reality of their reunion with the Lord begins to sink in. Indeed not a single Jewish person in the world will be left behind in this historic return to the Promised Land (Ezekiel 38-39).
The Missing People and The Man Of Peace
Two other astonishing events will accompany this battle. Just prior to its beginning untold numbers of Gentile Christians and Messianic Jews will suddenly disappear with out a trace (1 Thes. 4:16-17), and just following it a rising leader will offer the world a plan he says will finally bring peace to the Middle East and prevent anything like this battle from ever happening again (Daniel 8:25, 9:27). It’s a good thing the church will be gone because they would have recognized him immediately as the anti-Christ.
The disappearance of the Church will bring the Age of Grace to a close, allowing the last seven years of the interrupted Age of Law to play out (Daniel 9:27, Romans 11:25). In seeming to put an end to the hostilities, this rising leader will help the Jews rebuild their temple so they can return to their ancient worship system as their covenant requires. He’ll do this, not because he has any love for the Jewish people or the God they worship, but because the unseen power behind him has plans to appropriate the Temple for his own use.
Following directions from the book of Ezekiel, the Israelis will construct their new temple in an area the Lord had him designate some 2600 years ago. It’s about 20 miles north of the present Temple mount in a place called Shiloh, where the tabernacle sat for 400 years (Ezekiel 48:1-10). In following Ezekiel’s instructions instead of trying to share the Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock, they will avoid the peace shattering problems they would otherwise have had with the recently defeated Moslem nations.
Peace, Peace, When There Is No Peace
Unbeknown to most of the world’s remaining inhabitants, who will think the Utopian Age has finally arrived, the authorization to build the Temple will begin a seven-year count down to the 2nd Coming (Daniel 9:27). At first, this man of sin will have most of the world convinced he’s a real peace maker, even though he commits his forces to war after war, and causes enormous hardship on Earth (Rev. 6).
Half way through the last seven years he’ll implement Satan’s nefarious plan for the Temple. He’ll stand in the Holy Place and exalt himself above everything that is called god or worshiped, declaring himself to be God (2 Thes. 2:4). With this declaration, the full force of God’s wrath will be unleashed on Earth, beginning a period of time known as the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:15). Satan will be expelled from heaven and will personally in-dwell the anti-Christ as the final contest for Planet Earth begins in earnest (Rev. 12:9, 13:2). For 3 1/2 years warfare and persecution on Earth will be augmented with catastrophic judgments from Heaven making it the worst time the human race has ever had to endure (Matt. 24:21, Rev. 13:5).
Following the rapture of the Church, multitudes will give their hearts to the Lord and be martyred for their faith as the anti-Christ seeks to wipe out all opposition to his rule (Rev. 7:13-14). If the Lord didn’t return when He promised to put an end to it, not a single person would be left alive (Matt. 24:22). But believing His promise to return, hordes of post-rapture believers will flee from Israel into the mountains of southern Jordan, where they’ll be supernaturally protected, to await His Glorious Appearing (Matt. 24:16, Rev. 12:6).
The War To End All Wars
For his part the anti-Christ will amass huge forces for the coming battle of Armageddon, with a wary eye on a great army from the East that will try to sneak in and steal away his victory (Daniel 11:44, Rev. 16:12). By some estimates several hundred million combatants will be gathered in and around Israel for this battle, said to be the climax of the War for Planet Earth (Rev. 16:16).
But suddenly the skies will open and the Lord will appear with all His holy ones to reclaim that which He’s bought and paid for with His own blood, shed on the cross (Rev. 19:11-16). In hardly any time at all the battle will be over, the enemy vanquished, and the Lord will be established as King of the whole Earth (Zechariah 14:9).
The moment the Lord’s feet touch the Mount of Olives, a great earthquake will occur. It will split the Mount of Olives in half from East to West (Zechariah 14:4) and the old Temple Mount, located directly in its path, will crumble into the earth to disappear forever. Suddenly a gushing spring will bubble up massive amounts of clear fresh water from under the New Temple, just 20 miles to the north (Zechariah 14:8). The water will emerge from under the south end of the Temple and flow southward into the ravine created by the earthquake. Soon the water will become a mighty river, branching west to the Mediterranean and east to the Dead Sea, filling the ravine. Fruit trees, bearing a different fruit each month, and whose leaves are for healing, will line its banks. The inflow of so much fresh water will cause the Dead Sea to come alive, teeming with fish. Only the southern tip, where Sodom and Gomorrah once stood, will remain a salt marsh (Ezekiel 47:1-12, Rev. 22:1-2).
Judgment Day 1 … The Tribulation Survivors
One of the Lord’s first official acts after assuming His role as King of the whole Earth will be to have Satan bound in chains for the duration of His 1000 year reign (Rev. 20:1-3). At that time the martyrs from Daniel’s 70th week will join Old Testament believers in receiving their resurrection bodies (Daniel 12:1-2, Rev. 20:4)
The Lord will summon the tribulation survivors from all over the world to the Kidron Valley for a series of judgments (Joel 3:1-2). Using their actions as evidence of their faith, He will separate the believers from the unbelievers. He’ll welcome the believers into His Kingdom while consigning unbelievers to the outer darkness (Matt. 24:45-25:46). These believers, still in their natural human state, will repopulate Earth during the Kingdom Age.
A time of absolute peace and tranquility will ensue, with Satan bound and all unbelievers taken away, and the Earth will flourish in a way not seen since the creation (Isaiah 35). Having finally recognized Jesus as the true Messiah (Zechariah 12:10) Israel will arise and shine, once again the pre-eminent nation on Earth (Isaiah 60). In the skies above, the New Jerusalem, eternal home of the Church, will circle the Earth in a low orbit and serve as the source of light for the world (Rev. 21:9-27). Its unfathomable riches and spacious accommodations will allow members of the Church to dwell, in a level of luxury and comfort to be envied even by royalty, with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ forever.
The inhabitants of Earth will soon discover that the final judgments of the Great Tribulation have served to correct the ancient errors introduced into the Earth’s axis and orbit. As a result a luscious sub-tropical climate will again bless the whole Earth. The water-vapor canopy that collapsed during the Great Flood will be restored to prevent life shortening ultra violet rays from entering the atmosphere and Earth dwellers will once again see life spans nearly 1000 years in length. Earth will be the Garden Paradise it was always intended to be (Isaiah 65:17-25. Rev. 21:1).
Judgment Day 2… The Great White Throne
During the Kingdom Age, the offspring of Earth’s natural inhabitants will have the same opportunity to accept the pardon purchased for them at the cross as people born in the past have had. As the Kingdom Age comes to an end, those who’ve refused His pardon will rise up to rebel against the Lord, and upon Satan’s release will be drawn into his final attempt to unseat the Lord and re-capture the planet. In just a few moments the rebellion will be quashed, the rebels destroyed, and Satan will be thrown into the eternal fires to suffer forever with those who sided with him (Rev. 20:7-10). All the unsaved dead from the beginning of time will be resurrected to stand before the Great White Throne in judgment. As their lives pass in review it will be obvious that they failed to do the one thing God required of them, and that’s to believe in the one He sent. They too will be consigned to the eternal fires (Rev. 20:11-15).
The Bible, being the handbook for the Age of Man, does not address Eternity except to say that there is one, where the saved will dwell in bliss in the presence of the Lord forever (life) while the unsaved suffer never-ending punishment (death). You see, everyone ever conceived exists forever. We all inhabit eternity, the only question being where we’ll spend it. There are just two destinations, life or death, and we all have to choose for ourselves. If you haven’t decided yet, there’s still time but you’d better hurry, because one day soon the final bell will ring, and remember, the default choice is death. But for those who choose life, the greatest victory in the history of mankind is just over the horizon, and if you miss out you’ll literally regret it forever. If you listen carefully you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 05-12-11