1. As we approach the end of time and God’s judgment, men and the world will continually get worse and worse.
A. Attitude of people during the end times
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NKJV)
3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure (more) rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! The problem will not just be in the world. It will also be in the church. When the Christians, the lights of the world, cease to reflect God’s glory, the world will be a very dark place.
B. A description of the world in the last days
Matthew 24:3-14 (NKJV)
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Remember 2 things: 1. Dark times are coming. 2. Jesus is coming!
2. Jesus will come to deliver his church and pour out wrath on the world.
Matthew 24:29-31 (NKJV)
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
2 Thessalonians 1:8-10 (NKJV)
8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.
3. The saved Christians will be brought back to life and be raised to meet the Lord in the air.
1 Corinthians 15:52-53 (NKJV)
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 incorruptible, and we shall be changed.53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NKJV)
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
There is quite a bit of debate about when this will happen. Some believe that it will happen before things get too bad. They expect the Lord to rapture the church and then the world will get really bad. This is called Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
Others believe that the church will be here through all the bad stuff and the Lord will deliver them at the end. This is called Post-Tribulation Rapture.
We shouldn’t be surprised that there is some debate about when Jesus will come because He told us that nobody would know for sure.
Matthew 24:36 (NKJV)
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
The main idea is that we should be committed and ready. Christians all around the world are going through persecution right now. It’s possible that we might have to also.
We have to be ready because we don’t know when the Lord is coming for the church or when we might die and go to Him. We must be ready at all times because we never know when we will have to give an account for our lives.
4. After a major battle, Armageddon, the Lord will come back with the church to reign on the earth. The devil will be bound so that he can’t tempt people to sin. This is called the millennial reign.
A. Battle of Armageddon
Revelation 16:14-16 (NKJV)
14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” 16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
B. Jesus will be victorious in battle
Revelation 19:13-14, 19-21 (NKJV)
13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses…19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
C. Jesus and the saints that have been resurrected will rule the Earth for 1,000 years while Satan is bound.
Revelation 20:1-3, 6 (NKJV)
20 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while… 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
5. Satan will be loosed, and the people on the earth will be tempted. They must choose whether to serve the Lord or reject Him. This will culminate with the end of the world as we know it.
Revelation 20:7-10 (NKJV)
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
2 Peter 3:10-14 (NKJV)
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;
Some people believe that Peter was referring to the Lord’s coming in judgment before He reigns for 1,000 years while others believe he was referring to the time after the 1,000 years. Either way, we know that things will be changed when the Lord first comes to the earth as well as when he pours out fire in his finally dealings with men before the Great White Throne Judgment.
6. The Lord will resurrect all men that have ever lived. Everyone will come before His throne. They will be formally sentenced for the sins that they have committed. The unsaved will be cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:12-13, 15 (NKJV)
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works… 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
7. Heaven and earth will be recreated and God’s city will come down. The saved will live there with Jesus for all eternity. Tip: In the Bible, heaven is used many times to refer to the sky or even space. The New Jerusalem is what we typically think of as Heaven our eternal home.
Revelation 21:1-7 (NKJV)
21 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.