The temporal order of prophetic events
The time of the Rapture
The events associated with the Rapture
World history: a week with days of a thousand years
Table – World history: a week with days of a thousand years
The events of the Millennium
The New Creation
The time remaining until the Millennium
When studying the Bible, and especially when interpreting the Bible, if we
take the matter at all seriously (which means approaching it with persistence and
exactitude) we will recognize in its pages a great many prophecies of events to come. And
as we have already demonstrated here at Immanuel.at, it is definitely possible to find the
logical connections between these different prophecies, so that in the end we can arrive
at a relatively exact picture of what humanity can look forward to in future, in the light
of biblical eschatology.
(See also discourse 13: "Which world empires do the 7 (or 8) heads (or kings) of Revelation 17 represent?")
Of course it is a prerequisite for this that one takes the trouble to
distinguish, as accurately as possible, between prophecies which have already been
fulfilled in the past, and those which are still to be fulfilled in future. This already
helps us to separate the grain from the chaff, and forms the basis for at least an
approximate arrangement of these prophecies in the time frame of reality – this being the
desired result. But what has not been possible to the present day is the more or less
accurate temporal collocation of biblical prophecies – an answer to the question, that is,
where exactly certain prophecies are to be located in the context of the temporal reality
And here we come up against some Christian teachers who – whether out of indolence, or as a matter of principle – repeatedly insist that this kind of temporal specification is completely unimportant (as well as impossible), and claim that from a biblical point of view it is even against the will of God. And they like to quote the statement of our Lord Jesus Christ in Mt 24,36:
Mt 24,36 But of that day and hour no one knows, not
even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Here the Lord is speaking of the time of his Second Coming and of the
Rapture of those who believe in Christ. But the scriptural exponents referred to above
would like to apply this saying fundamentally to all future biblical events that have ever
been prophesied. If we do not take biblical statements too seriously – perhaps because we
have not read them and pondered them closely – this attitude does indeed seem plausible,
and what is more in keeping with the scriptures. But if we are going to start quoting the
Bible, we should also be aware of other statements to be found there (supposing we have
actually read them in the first place), which form the essential basis for our
understanding this remark of the Lord’s, and which give a rather different picture of the
usefulness of this kind of endeavor.
If, for example, we look at a prophecy of John’s in Revelation, where he speaks in Rev 9,15 of an important event in the future:
Rev 9,15 And the four angels, who had been prepared for the
hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of
we recognize at once that this prophecy of the killing of something like
two billion (!) people on this planet can hardly be seen as "unimportant". And of
prophecies of this kind there are a good few – in Revelation above all.
Now it is undoubtedly correct, on the other hand, that according to
Scripture we cannot know the day and the hour of the Second Coming of the Lord, because
our heavenly Father has for the moment decided to keep the information to himself. But
what the opponents of a biblical interpretation that relates to reality – such as we aim
for here at Immanuel.at – repeatedly overlook, when they refer to Mt 24,36, is the fact
that the Lord speaks here of the "day and hour", not of more general temporal
specifications (as of the year and the month, for example)..
For just this is what we learn 7 verses earlier, in Mt 24,29-31, where the Lord prophesies to the disciples, in the course of his discourse on the Mount of Olives, this very event – namely, his Second Coming and the Rapture of the faithful: :
After the tribulation of those days the sin will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky.
Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those
days the sin will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will
fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24,30 "And then the
sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth
will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of the sky with
power and great glory. 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet
and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to
the other. Mt 24,29-31;
We know today that the fulfillment of this prophecy still lies in the
future. But as we can learn from the various biblical reports, the disciples at the time
were altogether convinced that these things would happen in their own lifetime – all the
more so in view of the fact that the Lord at once goes on to urge them to be watchful, to
observe worldly events and compare them with his prophecies.
When you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.
Mt 24,32 "Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when
its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is
near; 24,33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near,
right at the door. 24,34 "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until
all these things take place. 24,35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not
pass away. Mt 24,32-35;
Not only does the Lord here encourage the disciples to be watchful, he
also explains to them, in the parable of the fig tree, how they can easily recognize the
time of his Second Coming, even if they are unable to specify the "day and hour". If we
now examine this indication of our Lord’s, we can take it as a starting point that these
trees, at that period of history, put forth their leaves around the middle of April (today
climate change has speeded up the process of vegetative development by some two weeks).
If we now postulate that the start of the summer in the northern hemisphere takes place at the end of June, the Lord here holds out the possibility of recognizing this event as much as two and a half months (!!) before his arrival, and adjusting our expectations accordingly. And this gives us a biblical proof that the Lord not only explicitly indicates that reflections of this kind, with reference to the time when prophecies will be realized, are possible – he also implies that it can be a very big help, above all for Christians living in the Last Days.
So it will be after the beginning of the birth pangs (Mt 24:3-14), and "immediately after the tribulation of those days" (Mt 24:29), that the sun will be darkened and the moon will lose its light. Then the Son of God will appear in the sky so as to be visible to all human beings. Then the dead in Christ will first be awakened, and together with those Christian believers who have been gathered by the angels from humanity yet living, they will be raptured to the Lord on the clouds in the air.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
1The 4,13 But we do not want you to be uninformed,
brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have
no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with
Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 4,15 For this we say to you by the word of the
Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede
those who have fallen asleep. 4,16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a
shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ
will rise first. 4,17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together
with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with
the Lord. 1The 4,13-17;
Referring to the situation of human beings on earth at this time, the Lord
then tells us in the passage below (Mt 24,37-39) that they will be completely taken by
surprise by these events, and will not have been expecting a development of this kind –
just as it was in the time of Noah.
They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark.
Mt 24,37 "For the coming of the Son of Man will be
just like the days of Noah. 24,38 "For as in those days before the flood they were
eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the
ark, 24,39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away;
so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Mt 24,37-39;
These events associated with the Second Coming of the Lord are rehearsed
in somewhat greater detail by Luke in his report. And he gives a few interesting details
here, which actually preoccupied the disciples at the time:
Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
Lk 17,22 And He said to the disciples,
"The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you
will not see it. 17,23 "They will say to you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and
do not run after them. 17,24 "For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one
part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 17,25
"But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
17,26 "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 17,27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 17,28 "It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 17,29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.
17,30 "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 17,31 "On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. 17,32 "Remember Lot’s wife. 17,33 "Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 17,34 "I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. 17,35 "There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. 17,36 [["Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left."]] 17,37 And answering they said to Him, "Where, Lord?" And He said to them, "Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered." Lk 17,22-37;
First of all, the Lord foretells here grievous days for the faithful
(Lk 17,22-23) and warns them of the danger of letting themselves be led astray by false
rumors that the coming of the Son of Man has already occurred. And he says to them, "Do
not go away, and do not run after them", for the appearance of the Son of God will not be
in secret or invisible, but will rather be like lightning that flashes from one end of the
sky to the other – so too will the Lord shine in his glory, on the day when he comes.
And then the Lord compares this day with the days of Noah (Lk 17,26). Just as people at that time ate and drank and did not anticipate any danger, and then all of them, apart from Noah and his family, were destroyed by the Flood, so will it be on the day of the Son of Man. They will be eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the Lord comes and gathers his faithful from all the four quarters and raptures them with the dead who have been raised in Christ.
In this case, of course, those who remain behind will not lose their lives in the Flood, but will be subjected to the coming wrath of God. And as a further rule of conduct the Lord now compares this day with the days of Lot. Then too, they were all living for the moment. But when Lot departed from Sodom, they were all killed.
The text now following (Lk 17,31) is often incorrectly seen as a parallel passage to Mt 24,17-18. But first of all, these statements in Matthew occur in connection with the "abomination of desolation" (Mt 24,15) – and so with the Great Tribulation and the hasty flight into the hills – whereas here in Luke we are already at the time after the Tribulation and on the day when "the Son of Man is revealed" (Lk 17,30) – in other words, at the Second Coming of the Lord.
On the other hand, Luke actually gives us a genuine parallel to this passage (to Mt 24:16-22, that is) in Lk 21:20-24. So whereas Lk 21,23 and its immediate context are concerned with the Great Tribulation, in the above passage (Lk 17,22-37) we are clearly involved with the Second Coming of the Lord (Lk 17,24.30). Here, too, nothing is said about the abomination of desolation, the Great Tribulation or the flight into the hills – on the contrary, we get the impression that the Lord is not advising flight, but is rather urging us to keep still and remain in one place, wherever we may happen to be.
Lk 17,30 "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of
Man is revealed. 17,31 "On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are
in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field
must not turn back. 17,32 "Remember Lot’s wife. 17,33 "Whoever seeks to keep his
life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. Lk 17,30-33;
The two following verses (Lk 17,32-33) then allow this impression to
become a certainty. The warning to "Think of Lot’s wife" is an indication that on this
day, at this moment, we should not look to recover what has been left behind (goods and
wealth, life and limb). And then the Lord states it quite specifically: "Whoever seeks to
keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it." Anyone who tries
to flee will not be there to be caught up by the angels, but anyone who keeps still, while
he may lose his physical life, at the same moment ("in a moment", as Paul says) he will be
given a spiritual body – "clothed with our dwelling from heaven" (2Cor 5,2) – and so
raptured to the Lord. And this is just what we learn in the next two verses (Lk 17,34-35):
On that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left.
Lk 17,34 "I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one
will be taken and the other will be left. 17,35 "There will be two women grinding at the same
place; one will be taken and the other will be left. Lk 17,34-35;
This statement of the Lord’s is the confirmation that the Lord most
definitely is not encouraging us to flee. If, in the Rapture, two people are lying in one
bed, or two women are grinding in one place, and one is taken and the other left, these
people obviously cannot be currently in flight.
(See also Table 05: "Synopsis of the
Lord’s eschatological discourses.")
So this is the time of the Coming of the Lord and the Rapture of the
faithful, as we also find it described in Mt 24,29-31. At this moment they will lose their
earthly lives, their physical body – but they will not die. Instead, as Paul writes below
(1Cor 15,51-53) they will be clothed with their dwelling from heaven "in a moment, in the
twinkling of an eye". And they should not be afraid of this, as the Lord tells them in Lk
17,33. Anyone who tries to flee, in order to save his physical life, will in actual fact
lose it. But anyone who abides, trusting God, will be gathered and raptured by the angels
of the Lord. And then there will in fact be two people in one bed or two women grinding
together, and one will be taken and the other left.
For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed.
2Cor 5,1 For we know that if the
earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not
made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 5,2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to
be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 5,3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not
be found naked. 5,4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened,
because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be
swallowed up by life. 2Cor 5, 1- 4;
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body.
1Cor 15,42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 15,43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 15,44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 15,45 So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam,
became a living soul. (Gen 2,7)" The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 15,46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 1Cor 15,42-45;
For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1Cor 15,50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood
cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
15,51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,
15,52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will
sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
15,53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on
immortality. 15,54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will
have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "death is
swallowed up in victory. 15,55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your
sting?" 1Cor 15,50-55;
When the Lord had finished his explanations, the first reaction of the disciples was to
ask, "Where, Lord?" We recognize here the same misunderstanding that we see in some
interpreters of our own days, who think that a "place of refuge" needs to be sought in
preparation for the Rapture. Apart from the fact that the faithful were to be taken away,
that a Rapture would take place, the disciples had understood nothing at all. As a result
they were eager to learn where it was going to happen, so they could get themselves to the
place in good time without missing the bus.
And whereas in Luke (Lk 17,37) these words of our Lord’s appear in the right order (in connection, that is, with the Second Coming and the gathering of the faithful), in Matthew this sentence (Mt 24,28) is allocated to the Great Tribulation, and should perhaps rather be inserted, here as well, in the context of the Second Coming of the Lord (between verses 31 and 32).
And answering they said to Him, "Where, Lord?" And He said to them, "Where the body
is, there also the vultures will be gathered."
(See also discourse 12: "Must the congregation of the Last Days seek out a place of refuge for the Rapture?")
But this misunderstanding – both by the disciples, and by the biblical
commentators of our own day – is certainly not to be put down to any lack of clarity in
the statements made by our Lord. Just the fact that the Lord tells us, in Mt 24,31, that
his angels will gather his elect "from one end of the sky to the other" makes it
sufficiently plain that the faithful are not expected to repair to any particular place,
but that the angels will find them in whatever place they happen to be.
And while we can sympathize with this lack of comprehension on the part of the disciples, in their own times and in a situation where they were faced for the first time with a completely new world view, in contemporary interpreters of the Bible it seems a proof of negligence and superficiality. Just consider the suggestion that at a specific time ("But of that day and hour no one knows" - ?) something like a hundred million Christian believers (that would be as many as could be expected, out of seven billion of the world’s population) should have to travel by all modes of transport (car, train or airplane) to a quite specific place (and where would that be?). This would be a recipe for global traffic chaos, and in any case most of them would arrive too late.
(See also discourse 38: "What awaits Christians and Jews on the
Second Coming of the Lord?")
But this misunderstanding of the "place of refuge" is in most cases the
consequence of another faulty interpretation. This involves taking the "woman" of
Revelation 12,6-14, incorrectly, as the congregation of the Last Days, and so
understanding her flight to the place prepared by God as a "place of refuge". This however
is not the case. The woman in Revelation 12,6.14 with the crown of twelve stars stands for
the people of Israel with its twelve tribes, as explained in the Excursus "The woman in
(See also Excursus 10: "The woman in heaven.")
In the response by the Lord to this question of the disciples in Lk 17,37:
"Where, Lord?" (somewhat inaccurately placed by Matthew), it looks at first sight as if he
had completely failed to register the question – he seems to be speaking of something
quite different when he says, "Where the body is, there also the vultures will be
gathered". And yet it is just this answer which the disciples – and even more the faithful
of the Last Days – need to be told.
The Lord’s meaning in this passage (Lk 17,30-35) is twofold. For a start, at this crucial moment no one should look back – not even in spirit (and above all not in spirit!) – or take rapid steps to get their worldly possessions, the things to which they are attached, together. Where they are going now, they can’t take earthly goods with them, and they certainly aren’t going to need them.
And secondly, these faithful at this moment should stay right at the place where they happen to be at the time. Whether they are on the housetop, in the house, in bed or in the field. Wherever they happen to be found, they will be gathered, transformed and "clothed" (as Paul puts it in 2Cor 5,4) and taken away, together with the dead in Christ who have been raised, to meet the Lord in the clouds.
This clothing or transformation will be accomplished "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" – and as a result, this "perishable body... is raised an imperishable body", as Paul writes in the above passage (1Cor 15, 52-53). But this means that these faithful, at this moment, will die physically. They will not drop down dead, but they will undergo this phase of biological death – in a moment, but all the same they will undergo it – and then find themselves again with an immortal spiritual body. And this is confirmed by the following biblical passages:
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Jn 3,6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that
which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Jn 3,6;
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.
Heb 927 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die
once and after this comes judgment. Heb 9,27;
So in the Rapture these living faithful of the Last Days (just like the
believers in Christ who have died) will be "born of the Spirit", in other words
reborn. In their case the resurrection – the true rebirth – will be anticipated,
and so they must die first in the flesh. This is the real biblical rebirth in the
resurrection and the subsequent world judgment. This by contrast with the so-called
"rebirth" in the lifetime of the human being,
as taught in many Christian congregations.
In the regeneration (rebirth) the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne (The last judgment).
Mt 19,28 And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you,
that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration
(rebirth) when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall
sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Mt
Mt 25,31 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory,
and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 25,32 "All
the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another,
as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; Mt
Anyone, however, who seeks to avoid this death and tries to save his or
her physical life will nonetheless lose his or her biological body, but will be unable to
receive a spiritual body and so will in actual fact be physically dead. And this is just
what our Lord warns us of in the above passage (Lk 17,33), when he says: "Whoever seeks to
keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it".
(See also Chapter 062: "The Return of
the Lord – Part 2: The Rapture.")
With this short presentation of the Second Coming of the Lord and the
Rapture, we can at least see the sequential arrangement of these two individual events.
But we are still lacking (and this has likewise been the case in previous interpretations
along these lines) any concrete allocation of these events to our own real temporal
dimension. We know that all this will happen in the future. But in what future? In a
thousand years, in ten thousand years, in a century or in a decade?
Hitherto in biblical exposition it has not been possible to find a halfway concrete – by which we mean realistic – interpretation which would be subject to scrutiny (especially and above all in the light of the Bible). Those "biblical researchers" had a quick way of putting the kibosh on such attempts, by quoting Matthew’s "But of that day and hour no one knows" (Mt 24,36).
Now, however, it has proved possible – here at Immanuel.at – to anchor
this kind of approach in Scripture and as a result to develop an interpretation that
accords with reality. In the following table Peter’s statement that "with the Lord one day
is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day" is taken as the basis, and
combined with the biblical count of years (still included to the present day in the Jewish
calendar). This is then supplemented by the biblical circumstance that the Millennium, the
thousand years Kingdom of Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, is "that rest" (Heb 4,3-6) and
the Sabbath of God (Israel will dwell in security, Jer 23,6; 33,16; Isa 38,14; Micah 5,3;
Zach 14,11), they will no longer learn war ( Isa 2,4; Micah 4,3). And finally we are also
faced with the consideration that the judgments of seals, trumpets and bowls in Revelation
are likewise based on this "weekly scheme" of a unit of 6+1 "days".
(See also Table 14: "The Great
Tribulation – classified by events.")
So if the last thousand years of this world are the "Sabbath of God" and a
thousand years with the Lord are like one day, then the six thousand years before this
(according to the biblical / Jewish count of years) correspond to the six days of the
week. And so it becomes possible to present the time of world history from a biblical
point of view in a frame of seven thousand years, and to arrange relevant events of a
worldly and biblical nature in a "real time" perspective.
day of the week
THE MILLENNIAL WEEK
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 2Pet 3,8; (Ps 90:4)
day of the week
Creation of Adam and Eve
Death of Adam
Birth of Noah
Dispersion (confusion of languages in Babel)
Birth of Abram
Death of Noah
Death of Abraham
Birth of Moses
Exodus (Ex 12:1-20)
Death of Moses
Destruction of the Solomonic Temple
Jerusalem is being rebuilt (Dan 9:25)
Birth of Jesus Christ
Death of Jesus Christ
Destruction of the Herodian Temple
Bar Kokhba Revolt - Israel in the Diaspora
End of the Western Roman Empire
Start of the Crusades
Discovery of America
The Great Tribulation (Rev 6:1 – Rev 20:6)
Start of the Millennium
They shall not enter My rest.
The end of the world
The Resurrection / The Last Judgment
(See also Table 01: "Chronological table from Adam to Jacob.")
As we can recognize from this time scheme, in a biblical perspective we
are just 224 years away from the start of the Millennium, the thousand years’ Kingdom of
Peace of the Son of God as the last world empire of this planet. And in these 224 years,
based on biblical prophecies, all the dreadful events of the Great Tribulation are going
to take place (Mt 24,1-51; Rev 6,1-20,5). The only question that for the moment still
remains open is the start of this Great Tribulation on earth, the "beginning of birth pangs".
(See also discourse 05: "The parallel
course of events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7.")
But there is another terrifying aspect to these biblical prophecies
relating to the Great Tribulation: at this time a great many people are going to be
killed. First of all in Rev 6:8 we have around 2 billion people (1/4 of the earth) who are
killed "with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the
earth". This is the death toll of the famines, pestilences and natural catastrophes caused
by human beings themselves through wars and environmental pollution.
And then, out of the 6 billion people who are left, we have those 2 billion mentioned above – the "third of mankind" of Rev 9:15. This is now the "Wrath of God", the judgments of God on the Day of the Lord. God’s mercifulness has waited a long time – for millennia. But now it is at an end. People in their megalomania have rebelled so radically against God and all those who give God the glory, they have killed all Christian believers and now are worshiping a devilish "God" in the form of the Second Antichrist (the beast from the sea, Rev 13:1-8) together with a false prophet (the beast from the earth, Rev 13:11-18).
Thus around half of the world’s population has been killed. But at the conclusion of these "Last Days", when in the Battle of Armageddon yet more millions of soldiers of the Antichrist’s hosts and the hosts of the nations allied with him have been killed, and the Antichrist himself – the beast from the sea – and his false prophet have been thrown into the lake of fire, God will reorganize heaven and earth once more (Isa 24:1-6). In order to clean up all the environmental devastation caused by human beings (accumulations of atomic waste, atmospheric contamination, crude oil pollution in the earth and in the oceans, plastic pollution of the seas etc.), in the truest sense of the word everything will have to be turned upside down (with an earthquake? or impact of an asteroid, Rev 8:8?), in order to make available, for the ensuing start of the Millennium on this planet, a completely fresh, fertile and unconsumed environment (Amos 9:11-15).
(See also Chapter 07: "The Battle of Armageddon.")
(See also Chapter 08: "The reorganization of heaven and earth.")
And in connection with this event as well there will be billions of dead.
This finally results in a situation where only a small remnant of the former human race
remains on the planet, in order to enter into the Kingdom of Peace of the Son of God on
earth, the last world empire of this creation. This is also the reason why those biblical
passages which refer to this time always speak of the "rest" (Eze 36:3-5) or of a "remnant"
(Jer 23,3) - which
makes it considerably easier to assign such passages to this period.
(See also Chapter 09: "The return home of the remnant of Israel and the rest of the nations.")
(See also Chapter 10: "The Millennium."
At the end of these thousand years of peace and justice on earth, Satan,
who has been bound during this period, will be released again, in order to tempt humanity
one last time. And although one might think that these people, who after all have now
enjoyed a thousand years of just and peaceful rule by the Son of God (in the Millennium
people will again live to be a thousand years old, as in the time before the Flood), would
remain faithful, nonetheless Satan will succeed once again in leading millions of people
astray ("like the sand of the seashore", Rev 20:7-10) and inducing them to join him in the
"holy war" against God in Jerusalem. But they are all annihilated at a stroke by fire from
heaven, and the devil who led them astray is thrown into the lake of fire, where the
Antichrist and his false prophet already are.
After the Millennium all human beings who have ever lived – and who have not yet risen, as in the Rapture – will rise in the General Resurrection (the true rebirth) and stand before the throne of God. The judge will be the Son of God, and then the deeds and thoughts of every single human being will appear to all others in the spirit, so that every single one of these billions of resurrected people can recognize the truth about all other human beings (Lk 12:2-3). And then the Son of God will pass judgment on each of these human beings – judging them either to eternal life with God, or to eternal existence in the lake of fire.
(See also Chapter 11: "The end og the world.")
(See also Chapter 12: "The Resurrection.")
(See also Chapter 13: "The Last Judgment.")
Likewise immediately after the Millennium heaven and earth – the first
creation of God – will pass away, and God will create a new earth and a new heaven. And
onto this new earth the new city of Jerusalem will come down from heaven (Rev 21:1-4).
Those people will now enter this eternal city who have been found worthy, in the Last
Judgment, to enter into eternal life with God.
So much by way of a fairly brief outline of biblical world history. A more detailed presentation can be found in the documents referred to by the links given here.
(See also Chapter 14: "The New Creation.")
If we now come back to the main theme of this essay, the remaining 224
years until the Millennium, it may be stated that the events referred to above – the Great
Tribulation, the Second Coming of the Lord with the Rapture, the Day of the Lord up to the
Battle of Armageddon and the reorganization of heaven and earth – should take place in
these 224 years. And whereas, to begin with, we might have been inclined to sit back with
relief and conclude that this leaves us with a whole lot of time in hand, now it rather
looks as if the time available to us might actually be a bit short.
If we roll up events from the end, working backwards, and contemplate the reorganization of heaven and earth, this latter must certainly be a time-consuming affair. Irrespective of whether we have to do here with asteroid impacts, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or other catastrophes, since its creation some 4.5 billion years ago this planet has already experienced a similar phase, and it took billions of years on that occasion before its surface became habitable and fertile, so that God could create human beings and settle them there.
The asteroid hit on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, which is thought to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs (at the end of the Cretaceous period), was a similar event, which however in terms of duration and effect was actually much more similar to this prophecy in Rev 8,8. With global incidents of this kind you always need a few generations of time until the earth’s surface has recovered again from worldwide earthquakes and geological upheavals (Isa 40:3-4; Isa 49:11-12; Ps 97:5; Bar 5:7; Isa 54:10; Lk 3:3-5; etc.). And for this reason we should probably estimate something like 100 years for this phase. But this means that the time remaining to us has already been reduced practically by half.
Continue working backwards, and we come to the Battle of Armageddon. Again, this is not going to be over in just one or two years. There needs to be a "run-up" period – the situation must first escalate, to the point where a battle becomes conceivable. And then the Antichrist must assemble his own host. After all, he will have to convince all the nations who are allied with him and persuade them to go to war with him and send their armies (Rev 16:13-14). This too could take as much as 10 to 20 years.
Before this, we then have the Day of the Lord, with the judgments of God. These seven judgments each of trumpets and bowls will surely also extend over a good few years, since after all the effects of the various plagues will take time to make themselves felt. So here again we can in all probability postulate 20 years for this.
As a result, in the worst possible case we have just a period of 80-100 years left until the beginning of the time of the Tribulation. But if we now also take into account what the Lord tells us in Mt 24:3-8, that before the actual Tribulation in the Last Days the "beginning of birth pangs" – the first three judgments of the seals – are to be expected, and these too (with their wars, famines, earthquakes and pestilences) can also be expected to last for several decades, we can conclude that we are actually right on the brink of the beginning of the Last Days – if we are not already in the midst of them!
(See also discourse 1133: "How and why the Great Tribulation begins: "The beginning of birth pangs".")
When we now reflect that next year is already the tenth anniversary of the
start of the financial and global economic crisis, we realize that a decade – above all in
our swiftly moving times – is very quickly over. On the other hand, based on experience it
takes longer than you expect to make due preparation (whether physical or mental) for
times of uncertainty. But whether we are now just thinking of ourselves and our further
earthly and eternal existence, or our thoughts extend to our children and our children’s
children – it would be advisable to make a start of getting to grips with these matters,
and seeing what the Bible has to say.