Love Jesus - the Key to Heaven!
Sequence of Events
Sequence of Events
The Lord Jesus Christ has given us the signs of what must happen before He returns and of the end of the age:
HE BEGINNING OF SORROWS (BIRTH PAINS)
1) Deceivers Will Misuse Jesus’ Name, Claiming That They Are The Christ (Matthew 24:4-5). This is the opening of the first of the seven seals (Revelation 6:1-2). The first four seals each have a horse and a rider. They are known as the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. With the opening of the first seal comes a white horse, bringing a false peace and a time of deception. People are deceived by false Christs because they do not know the true Christ. You will not be saved unless you have a personal friendship with the Lord and really know who Jesus is.
2) Wars And Rumours Of Wars (Matthew 24:6-7a). This is the opening of the second seal which releases a fiery red horse that is given power to take peace from the earth (Revelation 6:3-4). People are constantly fighting among one another and unfortunately some of the worst wars are still yet to come.
3) Famines And Earthquakes In Various Places (Matthew 24:7b-8). This is the opening of the third and fourth seals (Revelation 6:5-8). This is the black horse and then the pale horse, whose rider was named Death. Hades was following close behind him. Jesus likens this time to the beginning of birth pains. As we get closer to the end of the age the birth pains will increase, meaning that deception, wars, famines and earthquakes will increase right up until the return of Christ.
4) The Temple In Jerusalem Is Rebuilt (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 11:1). The Antichrist will take away the daily sacrifice, pointing to how there must be a restoration of the Jewish Temple before the final reign of the Beast (Daniel 12:11). The Antichrist will position himself in the holy place and the temple will be trampled for 42 months (three and a half years).
5) The Reunited Roman Empire Emerges In A Ten-Nation Confederation (Revelation 17:12-13). This is prophesied in the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation. Ten kings will give their power and authority to the Beast. Three of these kings will be subdued by the Antichrist and the other seven will submit to him without a struggle (Daniel 7:7-8,24). The Roman Empire will be overrun by the Antichrist. As he rises to power the world will blindly follow him.
THE PERIOD OF SORROWS
6) The Persecution Of Christians (Matthew 24:9). This speaks of the opening of the fifth seal where the apostle John was shown a vision of those who were martyred for their faith (Revelation 6:9-11). Those who hate the Lord will persecute His people (John 15:20-21). Those who refuse to listen to God will refuse to listen to the preaching of the gospel.
7) Many Will Turn From The Faith (Matthew 24:10). They will be like Judas who betrayed the Lord with a kiss (Matthew 26:14-16,25,47-49), and like Demas who left the work of God because he loved the things of the world (2 Timothy 4:10). There are false converts in the churches, people who say they love God with their mouths but by their actions they deny Him, and in due time they turn away from the Lord.
8) False Prophets Will Deceive Many (Matthew 24:11). This is a repeated warning. A main reason people become false prophets is due to the fact that they deny the Sovereign Lordship of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:1; Jude 4). They fail to understand the true nature of God and that He is a Holy Trinity (Matthew 28:19). We are created in the image of God by the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The one true God is three, eternal, distinct persons. Jesus humbled Himself and became a man yet Jesus is God in the flesh (John 1:1). Jesus is Lord and Jesus is God (John 20:28).
9) Wickedness Will Increase, Causing the Love Of Many To Grow Cold (Matthew 24:12). We are warned: ‘There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them’ (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
We are also warned: ‘Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:4-5). Lust and greed are two of the main sins in the last days. Babylon is pictured as the mother of prostitutes and the kings of the earth commit adultery with her in order to become rich (Revelation 17:5; 18:3). The desire to get rich has caused many to wander from the faith (1 Timothy 6:9-10).
Faith in God leads to sexual purity and looking to Him for our daily provision. If you know that you have been falling into the sins of lust and greed please humble yourself before the Lord and repent. Ask Jesus to wash away your evil deeds and commit your life into the hands of God so that you can really trust Him. Jesus can give you a pure heart when you put God first in your life.
10) Endurance On The Part Of Believers Is Essential (Matthew 24:13). We must be faithful to Jesus and never deny that we belong to Him. Jesus said, “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned” (John 15:6). If people turn away from Jesus they will lose their salvation. God doesn’t want us to turn away from Him. Through faith in Jesus we can overcome the world, the flesh and the devil (1 John 5:5). We must remain in Christ by simply trusting and believing in Him.
The book of Revelation was given as a testimony for the churches (Revelation 22:16) and it warns believers to endure throughout the reign of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:10). If the Church was supposed to know that she would be raptured before the majority of the book of Revelation takes place (pre-tribulation) then Jesus could have easily told us that clearly and plainly. Instead, what Jesus does tell us is that His followers need to patiently endure and remain faithful to Him until the end. These people were faithful to Jesus and then they are called to remain faithful to Jesus (Revelation 14:12-13). They had ministries and had laboured for Christ, yet these faithful believers were not raptured at the beginning of the Tribulation period. Those who endure are blessed.
11) The Gospel Of The Kingdom Will Be Preached As A Testimony To All Nations (Matthew 24:14). This is our responsibility. Jesus has commanded us to go into all the world and preach the good news of salvation throughout all nations (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19). We have to be involved in the work of missions and evangelism. We need to pray, we need to give and we need to go. We as Christians do need to make sacrifices for supporting missionaries and for printing and broadcasting the gospel message. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37-38).
12) The Two Witnesses (Revelation 11). God will raise up two prophets in Jerusalem, known as the Two Witnesses. They will prophesy for 1,260 days (roughly three and a half years). The Tribulation has been divided into two parts: the first three and a half years and then the second three and a half years which is referred to as the Great Tribulation. In the first half we have the ministry of the Two Witnesses. At the end of their ministry they will be martyred by the Beast, yet God will raise them from the dead and they will be taken up to Heaven in the full view of their enemies.
THE GREAT TRIBULATION
13) Breaking Of The Covenant (Daniel 9:27). The Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel and invade the land, also plundering Egypt, Sudan and Libya. An uprising in Israel will cause the Antichrist to return from North Africa to Israel to kill and destroy many people (Daniel 11:40-44).
14) The Antichrist Will Set Up The Abomination That Causes Desolation (Matthew 24:15). This will take place in the middle of the seven years after the Antichrist has broken the covenant and killed the Two Witnesses (Daniel 9:27; 11:31-32; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:5).
15) Those In Judea Have To Flee (Matthew 24:16-20). Jerusalem shall be trampled upon by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luke 21:20-24). In times of war there are often many refugees and in such times Jesus does encourage people to flee for the safety of their lives.
16) Antichrist’s Fatal Wound Is Healed (Revelation 13:3,12,14). An assassination attempt is made upon the Antichrist from which he recovers and amazes the world. He should have died but he didn’t. It could be that he does die and that he rises from the Abyss back to life for a short time. People will worship the Beast as he proclaims himself to be God.
17) The Mark Of The Beast (Revelation 13:14-18). The False Prophet will force everyone to receive a mark, which is the name of the Beast or the number of his name. The False Prophet promotes worship of the Antichrist, as the Antichrist dominates the world politically, religiously and economically. We must warn people to never take the mark of the Beast on their right hand or on their forehead. Those who take the mark have aligned themselves with Satan and will be tormented forever (Revelation 14:9-11).
There is a lot of speculation about how this will eventuate, but with the advance of technology the time will probably come when we have a cashless society, a one world government and a great world leader who is in fact Satan’s right hand man.
18) Martyrdom Of Many Believers (Revelation 20:4). Many believers will be beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. We overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony; not loving our lives so much as to shrink from death (Revelation 12:11). Christians must be willing to go the way of the cross, which leads to death before the resurrection. Are you willing to live and to die for Jesus Christ?
19) There Will Be Great Distress (Matthew 24:21-22). The trumpets are blown and the bowls of God’s wrath are poured out upon the earth, which speak of different judgments and plagues that come upon the world (Revelation 8-9,16). That can include tsunamis, earthquakes and other natural disasters. People will be gripped by fear and they need to hear the gospel.
20) False Christs And False Prophets Will Perform Counterfeit Miracles (Matthew 24:23-26). This is the third warning that Jesus has given of false prophets and it is something that He emphasizes in the last days. This group of false prophets release demonic powers. The work of Satan will be displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). God’s true miracles are far greater than the devil’s counterfeits, yet we do need to realize that there are demonic spirits that seek to demonstrate their power. Jesus has commanded us to drive out demons in His name (Mark 16:17). Ultimately the devil is not going to win and we must stand in the power of the Lord.
21) Signs In The Sun, Moon And Stars (Matthew 24:29). Horrific things will be happening in the heavens during the Tribulation. After the distress of that time there will be darkness and then Jesus will return. When the sixth seal is opened the sun is darkened and the moon turns red. Stars fall from the sky, which could speak of dramatic meteor showers (Revelation 6:12-17). On June 30, 1908, in Russia the shockwave from the explosion of a meteor knocked over an estimated 80 million trees covering 2,150 square kilometres (830 square miles) of land below it.
When the third angel sounds his trumpet a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky upon a third of the rivers and springs, causing the waters to become bitter. Many people who are reliant upon that water will die from drinking it (Revelation 8:10-11). When the fourth angel sounds his trumpet the sun, moon and stars turn dark and lose a third of their light (Revelation 8:12). The prophet Isaiah spoke of this about two thousand, seven hundred years ago, that there will be a time of darkness in the heavens just before the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 13:9-11).
22) The Campaign Of Armageddon Begins (Revelation 16:12-14,16). Demonic spirits that look like frogs come out of the mouth of the devil, the Antichrist and the False Prophet to seduce the rulers of the whole world to gather against the Lord and His people. We are then warned that Jesus will be coming soon like a thief in the night, which tells me that the rapture has not yet taken place (Revelation 16:15).
23) Babylon Is Destroyed (Revelation 18). The great city that rules over the kings of the earth will be destroyed in a single hour. A voice has spoken from Heaven: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes” (Revelation 18:4-5).
24) The Marriage Supper Of The Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9). The Bride has made herself ready. The apostle Paul spoke of how marriage contains a profound mystery in regard to the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32). Jesus laid down His life for us and we are called to submit ourselves to Him. Those who do this will be the Bride of Christ. Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb! This speaks of a great feast and a great celebration.
THE RETURN OF CHRIST
25) Jesus Returns In His Glory (Matthew 24:27-28,30). When Jesus returns, He is coming in all His glory, in the glory of the Father and in the glory of the holy angels (Luke 9:26). Every eye will see the Lord when He returns. The great and glorious appearing of Jesus Christ is likened to a flash of lightning that races through the sky. “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him” (Revelation 1:7).
26) The First Resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6). Those who are faithful to Christ, especially in laying down their lives for Him, qualify to rule and reign with Him. The apostle Paul wanted to know Christ so that he could attain to the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:10-11). All people will be raised from the dead at the final judgment, yet only those who qualify will partake of the first resurrection.
27) The Gathering Of The Elect (Matthew 24:31). The rapture of the Church takes place at the last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:51-58). The church cannot be raptured before the Tribulation, for the Antichrist has to be revealed before the coming of the Lord and our being gathered to Him (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). The resurrection from the dead takes place before and in conjunction with the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
28) Defeat Of The Antichrist (Revelation 19:11-21). The Lawless One will be overthrown by the breath of the Lord’s mouth and destroyed by the splendour and the radiant manifestation of His coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8). The Antichrist and the False Prophet are then cast into the lake of fire. The rest of his army is also killed by the sword that comes from the Lord’s mouth.
29) Satan Is Bound In The Abyss (Revelation 20:1-3). The devil is captured by an angel, chained up, locked and sealed within the Abyss, which is a prison for demonic spirits. Smoke and flames arise within the Abyss; it is simply another part of Hell (Revelation 9:2).
30) The Millennial Reign Of Christ (Revelation 20:4-6). The knowledge of the glory of the Lord will fill the earth and for a thousand years there will be a time of righteousness and peace. The lion and the wolf will lay down with the lamb and longevity of life will be restored (Isaiah 65:20,25).
31) Satan’s Final Revolt And Defeat (Revelation 20:7-10). At the end of the thousand years Satan is released from the Abyss and he immediately goes right back to fighting against the Lord. History is repeated and once again the nations are gathered for battle. The prophet Ezekiel predicted that Gog will invade Israel at this time when God’s people are living in safety. There shall be a great earthquake in the Promised Land and then Gog and Magog will be struck by many plagues, including fire which will fall from the sky and devour them (Ezekiel 38:19-23).a
32) The Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). The dead are raised and the books are opened. Each person is judged according to what they have done. Whoever’s name is not found written in the Book of Life is thrown into the lake of fire. Every person needs to prepare themselves for the Day of Judgment by having an awareness of our accountability to God and by living for Christ while we have the chance.
33) The New Heavens And The New Earth (Revelation 21:1). The full restoration of the whole universe will be complete. The New Jerusalem, which is the city of God, will also come down from Heaven upon the earth. The throne of God is in that city (Revelation 22:1-2). This is the fulfillment of God’s promises (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13).
34) Eternity (Revelation 22:1-5). God will dwell with His people face to face, forever and ever.
Those who long for the appearing of Jesus will receive the crown of righteousness, no matter when He comes (2 Timothy 4:8). Even if He doesn’t return for another thousand years we still have to be ready for Him today. If you were caught in the plagues of the end-times, would you be ready for the return of Jesus Christ? If you were enticed to take the mark of the Beast, would you be ready for the Lord’s return? Do you long for the return of Jesus because of your great love for Him?
There is a battle between good and evil, Heaven and Hell, Jesus Christ and Satan. Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me” (Luke 11:23). When Jesus comes back He will convict the ungodly of every hard word they have spoken against Him (Jude 14-15). Many people have used Jesus’ name as a swear word because they don’t fear God, but the punishment will be horrific for those who have used the Lord’s name in vain. They are wicked and evil. Even though they can outwardly be very nice people, they are enemies of God. There are many beautiful people who are lost.
Those who have not given their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ are in the kingdom of darkness. Only those who belong to the King of Heaven will be saved. People need to realize the urgency of accepting the Lord and living for God now. Have you opened your heart to Jesus and accepted Him as your Lord and Saviour? Will you enter the heavenly kingdom? Do you have a close and personal friendship with Jesus? I want to give you a challenge right now: Where are you in your walk with Jesus Christ today?
Preaching on the end-times is for the purpose of making sure that every person who hears the message is saved. If you know there is a gap in your heart between you and God then make a fresh commitment to Jesus Christ. If you have never made a public confession of making Jesus your Lord and Saviour then you need to confess that Jesus is Lord! If you know there is a sin that is causing a barrier between you and God then you need to humble yourself before the Lord and be cleansed of that sin. It is a personal thing between you and God because He looks into your heart. He knows if you are saved or not and He knows who He is calling to come and follow Him. If you need to surrender your life to God do it right now by asking Jesus to come into your life:
“Lord Jesus, I need You to save me. I believe You died on the cross for my sins and shed Your holy blood as a sacrifice to cover me. I confess my sins to You now….. (name those sins). I believe that You rose from the dead and that You are alive forever. I believe that You will return to judge the world in righteousness. Jesus, remember me when You come in Your Kingdom. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord! Jesus is my Lord, my Saviour and my King. Amen.”
IT IS WONDERFUL TO BE SAVED!
For deeper study and to purchase my book on the end-times - CLICK HERE