EXCITING FUTURE EVENTS
A preview of Coming Attractions
by Bob Thompson
If you have been saved "by grace through faith" from the guilt ("all have sinned" Rom. 3:23) and penalty ("the wages of sin is death" - Rom. 6:23) of sin, by humbly receiving Christ as Savior and Lord ("If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." - Romans 10:9), and If you have obeyed 2 Tim. 2:15 by studying your Bible to show yourself “approved unto God,” you doubtless know that the next world-shaping event on God's Calendar is THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH, after which the saints of God will be given crowns and rewarded according to their works. 2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; 2 Cor. 5:10; Col. 3:23-24.
The Joyful, Long Awaited, Event
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thess. 4:16-18.
When this pivotal event occurs, (the "blessed Hope of every Christian," Titus 2:13) the world will soon be made aware of it by an alarmed, around-the-clock, media. Television, radio and newspapers will share stories of disasters from coast to coast.
POSSIBLE SCENARIO: Six o’clock news - a TV anchorman is speaking: "Ladies and gentlemen, somehow, in some mysterious fashion, there has been a sudden, shall we say, unexplainable evaporation.....an abrupt disappearance....an unnatural, or super-natural wipe-out—whatever you want to call it—of untold numbers of people across the globe. Disaster everywhere has followed in its wake. Hundreds of thousands of reported accidents, injuries and deaths, are, at this very moment, overwhelming Emergency Centers, the Police and Fire Departments, the Paramedics, the Red Cross, the Military—every available public service has been called in to cope with this situation. We will keep you posted as more information is fed into our studios....”
A HALF HOUR LATER: "Citizens of the Global Community, numerous releases from around the world have been coming in to inform us that transportation disasters on land, sea and in the air occurred at the moment millions disappeared.. Here’s an FBI report just in: “Business, industry and commerce have been seriously crippled due to the disappearance of citizens from their work stations. Some distraught, probably hysterical, religious informants, are even now saying something about a rapture that is supposed to have taken place, whatever that means.....”
STILL LATER: Ladies and Gentlemen, the president of the United States: “My fellow Americans, this is, in-deed a tragic situation but not beyond control. I have just been informed by the Justice Department that those people in America who called themselves Christians, probably better referred to now as dangerous, paranoid, religious fanatics, were secret enemies of our New World Order and deliberately brought this violent protest on us by a well-orchestrated deception. If you have ANY information whatsoever as to their whereabouts, where they are hiding, what they are plotting next, please contact your local FBI immediately. If possible, stay home and, above all, stay calm. Starting midnight tonight I’m imposing Martial Law on this country until such time as...etc”
For most of the six billion people on planet earth, our departure will likely generate an interesting sequence of emotions: first, shock and confusion; Second, serious un- answered questions and, third, (as the unbelieving world ponders it) “good riddance!” But for us, the body of Christ, it will be pure, unalloyed joy as each of us rises to meet the Lord in the air, clustering around His glorious Person while He leads us into the fresh air of heaven. 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 John 3:1-3.; Phil. 3:21.
Antichrist, the Man of Sin
“Antichrist,“ also called “the beast” in Rev. 13:2, “the vile person” of Daniel 11:21, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power, signs and lying wonders,” cannot be revealed until the church, the body of Christ, has been caught away, 2 Thess. 2:7-10, Then will the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit be removed. Then will He cease interfering in the affairs of men. Then will He allow Christ--hating, sin-centered worldlings to go their way, to re-live the sins of the fathers before the Flood— as described in Romans 1:21-32.
The Temple Mount
At this time, Israel will have already built, or will shortly build, her desired temple. Ezekiel's description of the temple (chapters 40-43) will likely be Israel’s blueprint for its construction. Ezek. 40-43. Chapters 44-48 touch on the apparel of its future priests, as well as their blood sacrifices (looking back to the cross), the observance of Sabbath days, new moons, feast days, and the division of the land among the 12 tribes of Israel.
“So He carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.........
“And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, and when I saw her I wondered with great admiration.” Rev. 17:3, 5, 6
It appears that the Vatican, with its vast world-wide land and property holdings, in collusion with civil governments (10 horns=10 kings - Rev. 17:3) will play a major role during the first half of the tribulation—after which God will remove her from the scene in terrible judgment.
“Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” (Rev. 18:8) Thus will ecclesiastical Babylon, with her surrogate Mary, her elected Pope—to whom one billion blinded souls bow—her soul-damning doctrines, her priests and prelates, her confessionals, candles, beads, incense, indulgences, scapulars, inquisition offices, torture chambers and prison cells—”IN ONE HOUR,” God says, all will perish from the earth. Read the entire 18th chapter of Revelation.
Who Are the Harlot Daughters of “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT”??
It is my personal conviction that the harlot daughters can be none other than those religious institutions whose spiritual lineage can be traced back to Rome. Certainly Buddhism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, and other ancient religions, did not come out of the Roman Catholic Church. But PROTESTANTISM did.
In the great Reformation that swept Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Huss, Tyndale, and others, led huge blocks of Roman Catholics out of Romanism, protesting the sale of indulgences, confessionals, and other rank heresies. Unfortunately, these brave men brought out with them some of the unscriptural practices of Romanism, including physical ordinances, pagan holidays (such as Xmas and Easter), hireling preachers, the distinction between clergy and laity, all of which are firmly entrenched in Protestant churches today.
Over time, most of the thousands of denominations, branching off from the few institutions initiated by these early dissenters, have degenerated into weak, vacillating, compromising organizations that have ceased protesting the wicked practices of Rome, some even to the point of recognizing Catholics in general as brothers and sisters in Christ, thus reversing 400 years of the Reformation for which millions forfeited their lives. (No doubt there are some truly born-again people in the Catholic Church or Rev. 18:4 would not have been written)
This general acceptance of all Catholics as brethren is accelerating throughout Christendom, in spite of Rome’s official tenets that salvation can only be attained by allegiance to Mary (as co-redemptrix, i.e., co-saviour of mankind), unquestioned obedience to the Pope, strict adherence to the seven sacraments, and a final purifying of the soul in a fabled purgatory.
We are told in Rev. 17: 6 that “Babylon the Great.....has been made drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” Fueled by her fanatical intolerance, hatred and bigotry towards all who refused to support the Pope, Rome’s office of inquisition engaged in the unspeakable slaughter, torture and burning of many thousands of Christians throughout the Middle Ages. As Hunt states in his book, “A Woman Rides the Beast” (p.292) “Catholic Rome has no rival among religious institutions in qualifying as the woman who is “drunk with the blood of the saints and of the martyrs of Jesus.”
The Two Witnesses
In Rev. 11:3-6 we read that God says, “I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy....” These two Jewish men (whom some say are Enoch and Elijah) will prophesy during the first three and a half years of things to come—possibly of those things that the Book of Revelation reveals to those who read it.
We’re told that these two witnesses “have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy, and have power over the waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues” (conceivably the same plagues with which God smote the Egyptians). Rev. 11:3, 6.
Having completed their mission, Antichrist will be allowed to assassinate these faithful servants of God. Once dead, their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days, (no doubt with television cameras focused on them for the world to view) The nations will then make merry, celebrating their death by sending gifts one to another, not unlike “Christmas” today. (Rev. 11:10). After this, the Spirit of God will enter into them: “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, ‘Come up hither,’ and they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” Rev. 11:12.
The Mark of the Beast
Then will Antichrist demand that all, small and great, rich and poor, high and low receive the mark of the beast, without which no man may buy or sell. (Rev. 13:16) This will be a terrifying period to try men’s hearts as in no other time in the history of sinful men. All who receive this “mark,” doom themselves to eternal ruin. (Rev. 14:11).
The Last three and a half years of the Tribulation
For the world, it will be an unprecedented nightmare of terror, confusion, chaos and death, “men’s hearts failing them for fear of those things that are coming upon the earth.” (Luke 21:26) During this time, the wrath of God, in the form of twenty one tormenting, pain-riddling plagues, will be poured out upon the unbelieving inhabitants of the world. (Rev. 6-16)
Antichrist breaks his covenant of peace with the Jews thereby exposing his contempt for Israel and for her sacred ordinances.
In the early days of the last three and a half year period of the tribulation (now ravaged by unprecedented pain and suffering) Antichrist will desecrate the temple of God by supplanting the daily sacrifice with his own image, (referred to in Daniel 11:31 as “the abomination that maketh desolate.”) Then will he declare himself to be God and command all men everywhere to worship his image and receive his mark in their hands or foreheads, or the number of his name, being 666. Those who refuse will neither be able to “buy nor sell.” Rev. 13:17. See also Dan. 9:27; 11:36-39; 2 Thess. 2:4.
The Second Coming of Christ
At the close of the tribulation, the Lord will return with His saints and destroy the armies of God-hating men gathered against Him on the plains of Megiddo. This slaughter of the enemies of God is called THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON. See Psa. 2:1-4; Rev. 16:12-16; 19:11-18.
NOW FOLLOWS, THIS SEQUENCE OF EVENTS.
CHRIST PLANTS HIS FEET ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES. ZECH. 14:4; Ezek. 38:19, 20; 48:2,11.
DELIVERS ISRAEL FROM THE MASSIVE ARMIES OF THE NORTH. JOEL 2:18-20; ZECH.14:3
ESTABLISHES HIS KINGDOM IN THE CITY OF JERUSALEM. ISAIAH 9:6-7; JER. 3:17.
JUDGES THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD IN THE VALLEY OF JEHOSAPHAT. JOEL 3:2
AND REIGNS OVER THE EARTH FOR 1000 YEARS, JOEL 2:18-20; REV. 20:6.
RULING WITH A ROD OF IRON. REV. 2:27; REV. 12:5; 19:15.
After the Lord Jesus Takes His Throne in Jerusalem
HE will first move to bring His people back to their land. “Hear the Word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock....Behold, I will bring them [Israel] from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither....and they shall not sorrow any more at all.” Jer. 31:4 -14; 31:23-28; “And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob....for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (“irrevocable” RV) Romans 11:25-29.
Thus the New Covenant cannot go into effect until Israel’s restoration
Jeremiah 31:33-34 informs us that “after those days, (i.e., only after the rest of the scattered remnant of Jews has returned to Palestine (Jer. 31:4-14; 31:23-28)) will God make a new Covenant with His people, Israel.. The last promise of the covenant states, “And they [Israel] shall no more teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” (vs. 34) ....for the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9) These prophecies MUST be fulfilled before the New Covenant becomes effective.
All efforts, then, to teach people to know the Lord (as is now being done) will have ceased, for Christ Himself will be resident on earth, ruling the world from Zion (Jerusalem) . “And the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 2:44; 4:3; Rev. 12:5; 19:15.
Christ’s 1000 Year Reign on Earth
At the end of the 1000 years, Satan will be loosed from the bottomless pit (where he abode during the millennium reign of Christ) and will be permitted to go forth to deceive the nations. (Rev 20:7-8) Soon vast hordes of unsaved souls (born during the reign of Christ) will marshal themselves together to follow Satan’s unholy spirit, “the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” Rev. 20:8. Once quiet, law-abiding citizens of the Kingdom, they now, in their new-found freedom from the “iron” rule of Christ, will have become an army of revolutionaries, rising in proud rebellion against the sovereignty of Christ. Satan’s design is to use his army to capture “the beloved city” of Jerusalem by force. It is met with fire coming down from God out of heaven, decimating the mutinous insurgents. Rev. 20:9.
This will be earth’s last rebellion against the sovereign authority of Christ.. The devil will then be taken and cast alive into the lake of fire “burning with fire and brimstone,” —where he will remain forever. Rev. 20:8-10.
The Great White Throne Judgment
Apparently we Christians will stand behind the throne as witnesses (1 Cor. 6:1-2) while the unsaved, who will appear one by one before the throne of His majesty, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, will be judged, “every man according to his works.” Then, they, too, will be “cast into the lake of fire....and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night....this is the second death.” Rev. 20:13-15; 14:11 with Isaiah 33:14.
FINALLY, THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;
and there was no more sea.” Rev. 21:1.
THE NEW JERUSALEM
“And He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God....and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the  foundations of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones.....” Revelation 21:10-19.
As “...heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,” (Romans 8:17) brethren, we can read with grateful hearts this exhilarating, breath-taking account of your future home. (Revelation 21:10-27). Here is God’s unbelievable real estate holdings reserved for you and me, and for the redeemed of all ages.
Christ said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place [a home] for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2-3.
As Elizabeth Barrett Browning, one of England’s revered poets, once wrote, “...the best is yet to be.”
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