Climate change, famine, asteroids, president Trump, and the Zombie Apocalypse are obsessions in this secular age of ways the world could end. For Christians the second coming of Jesus, the tribulation, the end of days, and the eventual destruction of the world are topics that we try to avoid. It seems to be in our DNA the idea that everything will end badly. And our instinct on this topic is right. We can’t save the Earth anymore than we can prevent our own death.
While the end of the world topics may be over dramatic and made for popular entertainment the current and future breakdown society is all true to a degree. This world is not going to last forever. America will not last forever. We know deep down that none of this even our own lives will last and for me I am thankful to God that the evil in this world has an expiration date also.
10 You followed my command to endure patiently. So I will keep you from the time of trouble that will come to the world—a time that will test everyone living on earth. 11 “I am coming soon. Hold on to the faith you have, so that no one can take away your crown. Revelation 3:10-11 ESV
Thank God because injustice and death in this world will end. God has a plan to restore what was lost from the start of creation. In the beginning God saw all that He made and it was “good”. Now after rebellion and a curse God sees his creation as something that must be created new. Lost was the perfection of God’s design. Cursed is this universe and the people living in it. So, thank you God for setting into motion a plan to undo the evil we brought forth. Revelation is an unnerving look at how we get from here, a moment of grace and mercy, to the start of a new creation. Below is a high-level outline of those steps.
Rapture of the church (the saints)
51 But listen, I tell you this secret: We will not all die, but we will all be changed. 52 It will only take the time of a second. We will be changed as quickly as an eye blinks. This will happen when the last trumpet blows. The trumpet will blow and those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we will all be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ESV
Christians both dead and alive will be changed in the blink of an eye and will meet with Jesus. This moment in time is called the Rapture. This supernatural event, at an unknown and unpredictable moment, will take everyone by surprise. The church will no longer inhabit this planet.
Judgement Seat of God for believers (a moment to see what has been done that glorifies God)
Around the time of the Rapture will be the event of the Judgment seat of God. This judgment is for those raptured Christians but it is not a condemnatory judgment but an account of life to see how the person has glorified God. Christians are saved by grace it is at this point we will understand in detail that how we lived and what we did matters.
Seven Year Tribulation
The Tribulation period is an accelerated moment of time where God gives those remaining a chance to repent. Few will do so and life for everyone remaining will be short and painful.
Second Coming of Christ
11 Then I saw heaven open. There before me was a white horse. The rider on the horse was called Faithful and True, because he is right in his judging and in making war. Revelation 19:11 ESV
Jesus days before his death, burial, and resurrection triumphantly rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Jesus at that time came to bring peace and grace. Kings promising peace would enter on a donkey. Kings bringing war would enter on a horse. Salvation is available to all who would trust him. Embrace the good tidings of Christmas and accept the gift that Jesus brings. We are living in that moment of peace and grace. Do not miss this opportunity. Because when Jesus comes the second time he comes on the horse of war and his judgment is righteous.
Kingdom Age 1,000 year rule Millennium
I saw an angel coming down out of heaven. The angel had the key to the bottomless pit. The angel also held a large chain in his hand. 2 The angel grabbed the dragon, that old snake, also known as the devil or Satan. The angel tied the dragon with the chain for 1000 years. 3 Then the angel threw the dragon into the bottomless pit and closed it. The angel locked it over the dragon. The angel did this so that the dragon could not trick the people of the earth until the 1000 years were ended. After 1000 years the dragon must be made free for a short time. Revelation 20:1-3 ESV
Now that the king has arrived Jesus will rule for a millennium on earth fulfilling the remaining prophecy of the Old Testament Jews. At the end of this rule is a final war between Satan and God.
Great White Throne Judgment
11 Then I saw a large white throne. I saw the one who was sitting on the throne. Earth and sky ran away from him and disappeared. 12 And I saw those who had died, great and small, standing before the throne. Some books were opened. And another book was opened—the book of life. The people were judged by what they had done, which is written in the books. Revelation 20:11-12 ESV
This judgment throne is the one for those who have not been saved by Jesus. These people will be taking on the wages of their sin on their own. They have rejected God and now stand apart from him. God’s judgment is righteous and perfect.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared. Now there was no sea…The one who was sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this, because these words are true and can be trusted.” Revelation 21:1;5 ESV
What does this mean to me right here right now. If you are saved by Christ it means live life knowing that at any moment the end of days could be upon us. Are our affairs in order? Are we focused on the right things… eternal things? For those that are not saved and have rejected Christ this is a reminder that Jesus comes to us now in peace and mercy. Salvation is at hand for anyone who believes. That moment of grace and mercy will not last forever.
Peter urged the church to think of the end this way.
10 But the day when the Lord comes again will surprise everyone like the coming of a thief. The sky will disappear with a loud noise. Everything in the sky will be destroyed with fire. And the earth and everything in it will be burned up. 11 Everything will be destroyed in this way. So what kind of people should you be? Your lives should be holy and devoted to God. 12 You should be looking forward to the day of God, wanting more than anything else for it to come soon. When it comes, the sky will be destroyed with fire, and everything in the sky will melt with heat. 13 But God made a promise to us. And we are waiting for what he promised—a new sky and a new earth. That will be the place where goodness lives. 2 Peter 3:10-13 ESV