It is always difficult to predict the future. This is why God declares that He alone can do it accurately, “I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning”. This is also why prophecy is the greatest evidence for divine revelation of His Word. Even with the perfect revealer of things to come as the author, proper understanding of His revelation is still a challenge. With His Spirit as our teacher and guide, we can begin to get a picture of what is to come.
My understanding of future events has come directly from study of Scripture, led by the Holy Spirit. This influences my decisions as well as my recommendations to others. I will tell you there are more in the church who disagree with my perspectives than those who agree. However, I fear most believe as they do because a few teachers have studied and found a message the masses would want to hear as opposed to the one given regarding what is coming. Their message convinces there is nothing to prepare for; such as no persecution of Christians coming, but rather deliverance from every difficulty; no falling away from the faith, but rather revival; no enemy for us to worry about, but rather that the enemy is afraid of every Christian. Who wouldn’t prefer that message?
The problem is, we don’t get to choose what the truth is, but only if we are willing to accept it and what our response will be. To sit in the dark, with fingers plugging ears, avoiding all uncomfortable information, is NOT preparation of any kind.
Caution!!! Do not ever think you understand future events so well that they cannot vary from your understanding!
This is the very reason the Jewish people as a nation missed their Messiah 2,000 years ago and are still looking for His first coming. They thought they had prophesies of their Messiah so figured out that when His perfect fulfillment of them looked differently than they anticipated, they could not recognize them.
Glean as much understanding as you can from God’s revelation, but do not become religious about it thinking you alone have all understanding. You will have some things wrong; count on it, but that’s okay. It is still well worth the investment of time and effort.
Many events are inevitable, but opinions about their timing and sequence vary greatly. Let’s look at some events that ARE going to happen before this era comes to an end.
- A. Disasters;
Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, pestilence, famine, wars etc. and their consequences are predicted in many places throughout the Bible to increase in both frequency and intensity as we get closer to the end. While they are listed as some of the earliest signs of the end they may continue until the very end as well. Some believe recent events are the beginning of this increase. Even if true, it’s going to get much worse.
- Great Deception;
This is going to be a HUGE problem that is currently ignored almost completely by the church. It may already be taking place in part, but even if that is so, it too is going to get much worse. Jesus warned about this in every discussion of end times. This is likely going to be the thing that causes more to lose their faith than anything else. It WILL involve very effective undermining of the authority of God’s Word, the source of the Christian faith. It may come from an elaborate story from the Vatican revealing “Hidden Truths”. It may be a story of extraterrestrial origins coming from space travelers themselves (manifesting demons) which will explain away the origins of Scripture.
Whatever the story, it will not be laughable as it now seems it could be. It will be convincing, having provable evidence supporting its claims. Satan himself will be powerfully behind it.
- One World System;
There will likely be a large enough threat to the survival of the world as we know it, to cause sovereign nations to submit to a one world system for the sake of “peace and safety”. World religions will piggyback on the governmental system of the antichrist under the leadership of the false prophet to form the one world religion. He will most likely come from within the Catholic Church; either the Pope himself or the Superior General of the Jesuits (The Black Pope). Much work has been ongoing for decades to prepare for this “New World Order”.
Some form of allegiance oath to the world system and its leader will be required to receive the “identifier” which will be necessary for buying and selling of any kind (the Mark of the Beast). This will likely be an implanted scannable chip or tattoo, again for the sake of peace and safety.
Christians who are holding strong, who have not fallen for the great deception, will also not be willing to make the oath or take the identifier, thus making them an “intolerant enemy” of the world government and religion.
Before these events begin to happen, it is very easy to believe you will never be tempted to take the Mark of the Beast, but when the time comes, it is going to be a VERY hard decision. Not just for physical reasons, but intellectual and spiritual as well. Hard enough that Jesus felt it necessary to warn us of the consequences ahead of time. In addition to His warning 2,000 years ago, when the time of wrath comes He will have an angelic messenger supernaturally warn the entire world once again…
“If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too,
will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.
This appears to occur before the rapture, so this warning is relevant to the church that exists today. He follows the angelic worldwide announcement with this declaration…
“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.”
- Christian Persecution;
Old Testament prophets, the Gospels, New Testament epistles, and the book of Revelation all indicate that God’s people, Christians, will be handed over to this system of the antichrist and false prophet for persecution, some go as far as to indicate it will be for 3.5 years specifically. The texts about this are undeniable. Understandably people don’t like this message of persecution.
An entirely new group of people were created in the imaginations of teachers and preachers to explain away the uncomfortable clear message of Scripture. I call this created group the, “post rapture tribulation Christians”. Whether it was dishonesty looking for a softer message to share, or a deception straight out of hell, I don’t know, but this group does not exist in the scale taught. Neither do they take the place of Christians living today, excusing us from the persecution to come.
We are not to suffer the wrath of God, but we are told the world will hate us, persecute us, kill us, just as it did Jesus. “Friendship with the world is hatred towards God”, after all. While this has been true since Jesus taught this, it is going to become worldwide and universally accepted in the last days, even within our own families.
There is a Biblical event that has come to be known as the rapture. It is described from the earthly perspective as well as the heavenly. It will happen, before the wrath of God is poured out, but it is NOT promised to save us from the wrath of the antichrist’s system. When it happens most all true believers will be miraculously sucked out of their graves as well as off the face of the Earth to meet the Lord in the air. Given new bodies in an instant, they will then be taken to heaven, but again I say most, not necessarily all.
I believe God leaves a remnant of His true followers behind to work the harvest while His wrath is being poured out on a disobedient, unbelieving world. Even at this time, He never stops looking for the repentant heart, and “how can they believe if they do not hear?” I believe this group is identified by the 144k discussed in Revelation 7 and 14. Whether this number is literal or not I do not claim to know.
- Israel will be saved;
All of Israel is going to come to an understanding that they have missed for 2,000 years; that Jesus is their messiah, “They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child”. Let us not forget the Jews are still God’s chosen people. The end of this age is both the culmination of their story, their God’s victory as well as the Christian’s, since He is one and the same.
I believe theirs is the harder journey as they will be here to the very end of the troublesome time known as the great tribulation, unlike the Christians who will be raptured before Israel comes to believe.
- God’s Wrath;
God’s wrath will be poured out on an unbelieving and disobedient world, as it has been in the past. This will be a time of the worst disasters ever seen in the history of the world. Many come to God when they see the love of God displayed, others who will not respond to love will cry out for help when they are desperate and in pain, still others will never cry out to God, but He will do EVERYTHING He can to reach ALL He can to bring them into His family. I believe His wrath being poured out is a last attempt to reach those who would come to Him by no other way. Amid His wrath He continues to say, “And STILL they would not repent!”
- Jesus’ Return;
Jesus is going to return just as He promised. When He does it will bring a quick end to all that is happening on this Earth, wars, persecutions, Satan’s activities, wrath being poured out. He will move us from this current era into the next which begins with His reign on Earth for a thousand years.
There are many other specific events that are described for our future, but this big picture overview will suffice for our purpose. I know the above described events are going to happen, and I BELIEVE they are in order, but who knows for sure? Either way, let’s discuss some specific preparation actions for these events.