Today, I will write what I believe will be the next to the last blog in the current series about the last days. In these blogs, I’ve presented what I consider to be an overview of what will happen at the end of this age. Some topics we’ve looked at up to this point include characteristics of the last days, the rapture, and the tribulation.
Now, let’s look at the Second Coming of Christ and the events leading up to His return.
At His first appearance, Christ came as a baby. He grew into a man with His purpose being to redeem humanity back to God. The next time He comes will be different from the first. Jesus will not come as a baby but as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He will be coming to destroy the forces arrayed against God and to deliver His people.
In order to get a good grasp upon His second coming, let’s take a look at the events leading up to His appearance.
Before Christ’s return, the world will be in a terrible period called “The Tribulation.” Terrible judgments from the hand of God will be poured out upon the earth during this period. As we said last time, one of the most terrible judgments will be the rising of a satanic leadership team which will rule most of the known world. Known biblically as the Antichrist and the False Prophet, these two men will seek to change the laws of the world under the guise of peace.
In the middle of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will come up with a plan to put a stop to the Jewish sacrifices that are being offered in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. Whether this is a response to animal activists demanding the stop of animal sacrifices or for another reason, the Antichrist will enter the Temple, stop the sacrifices and declare himself to be God.
Daniel 11:31-32: “And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”
While this is happening on earth, there will be a war in heaven. Michael and his angels will defeat Satan and his angels, confining them to the earth. (Revelation 12) This is the beginning of the three and one-half years in when Satan will persecute Israel and the true church of Jesus Christ. Jesus said of this period of time:
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matt. 24: 15-21
During this period, God will send two witnesses who will prophesy, perform miracles, smite the earth with plagues, and destroy any who try to stop them. At the end of their ministry, the Antichrist will kill them. Their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three and one-half days. At the end of these days, the Lord will raise them from the dead and call them up to heaven.
At the end of the final three and one-half years of the Tribulation, the seven final plagues or judgments of God are poured out upon the earth. The sixth judgment is the gathering of the armies of the Antichrist together to invade Israel. The battle will be joined at the Plain of Megiddo, a place biblically known as Armageddon.
It appears, according to Zechariah, chapters 12-14 that Israel will fight valiantly but lose ground. The IDF will make its final stand in the city of Jerusalem; possibly even losing half of the city in the battle. With defeat appearing certain, the seventh judgment will be poured out upon the earth; Jesus will appear at the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4). When His feet touch the mountain, a great earthquake will occur splitting the Mount of Olives in two, killing seven thousand people in the process. Israel will recognize their Messiah and receive Him as Lord and God, fulfilling the word of the Lord given by Paul in Romans 11:25-26 – “and all Israel shall be saved.”
During this time, great hailstones will fall from the sky with each hailstone weighing approximately 75 LB. With the armies of heaven with Him, Jesus will but speak a word and the entire army of the Antichrist will be destroyed. Revelation 14:19 tells about the extent of the victory:
“So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside of the city and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.”
One thousand six hundred furlongs is approximately 200 miles!
Then comes the end of the Tribulation.
The Antichrist is captured, along with the False Prophet. They are cast alive into the lake of fire. And the rest of the Antichrist’s army is killed with the sword from the mouth of Jesus.
The final event of the Second Coming is the captivity of the devil.
An angel comes down from heaven with a great chain in his hand. He binds the devil and casts him into the bottomless pit until the end of the millennium.
This ushers in the final period of the End Times called the Millennial Reign of Christ. This we will look at next time.