2. Description of Jesus 2nd Coming
3. The Millennium Kingdom
• Is it important to study the End Times? The revelation OF Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. – Rev 1:1 (NIV)
The book of Revelation is ALL about End‐Times events. But the book doesn’t start with “The revelation of End‐Time events,” it starts with “The revelation OF Jesus Christ . . .” Why? Because when Ee study the End Times we are actually studying Jesus, Himself. We are studying His leadership style, we are studying His zeal for righteousness, we are studying His heart, we are studying His passion to come back to earth. You can’t KNOW Jesus, properly, without studying what God’s Word has to say about the End‐Times.
B. An Overview of The Tribulation
- Daniel 9:24‐27: Some of you may be wondering, “How do we KNOW there is going to be such a period of time as a 7‐yr Tribulation?” “Where in the Bible does it explicitly talk about a Tribulation time period of 7 years right before Jesus comes back?”
- Daniel 9:24‐27 is a FOUNDATIONAL End Times passage of Scripture which describes the Tribulation. Background to the passage: It was written in 538 BC (Dan 9:1 tells us what year it was), by the prophet Daniel while Israel was in exile in Babylon. There is no city of Jerusalem at this point, because the city and temple were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar.
- Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.25 “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ [49yrs] and sixty‐two ‘sevens.’[434yrs] (7 + 62 = 69, so 1 set of 7 left over) It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty‐two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He [the Antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. – Daniel 9:24‐27 (NIV)'
◊ 3 Stages to this Prophecy:
Stage 1: At some point in the future (from Daniel’s point of view) a king will send out a decree sending the Jews back to Jerusalem and having them rebuild the city. It will take them 49 years to rebuild it.
Stage 2: After the city is rebuilt it will stand for 434 years at the end of which an Anointed One will come. This Anointed One will have ‘nothing’ and will be ‘cut off.’ After the Anointed One is cut off another ruler will come and destroy Jerusalem again!
• Both these stages have been fulfilled, with 100% accuracy! In 458 BC, Persian king Artaxerxes 1 put out a decree which sent Ezra and a bunch of Jews back to Jerusalem where they began to rebuild the city and their Jewish way of life. In 409 BC (exactly 49 years later!) Nehemiah finished rebuilding the city. 409 BC + 434 years = 26 AD (there was no year ‘0’ which is why we don’t end up at 25 AD). What’s special about 26 AD? It was in that year (or 27 AD) that most scholars agree John the Baptist baptized Jesus and His public ministry started! He was an Anointed one who had ‘nothing’ (He was poor as opposed to rich, like other rulers) and 3 years later He was crucified (‘cut off’). After He was ‘cut off’ the Romans came in and destroyed Jerusalem and the temple again.
ALL of these things were predicted hundreds of years earlier by Daniel!
• Prophetic pause . . . Daniel predicted some sort of prophetic pause after the 62 sets of seven is finished. That’s why he says “After the sixty‐two sevens” and then makes a whole bunch of other prophecies and then in verse 27 starts with the final set of seven. We are living in that ‘Pause’ right now, Daniel didn’t tell us how long the ‘pause’ would be, we’ve been living in it ever since Jesus started His public ministry.
Stage 3: The Tribulation – One final set of seven at the end of the Age when the Antichrist will set up a covenant with many, then in the middle of the 7 he will set up an ‘abomination that causes desolation’
• You say, “But this passage seems a bit vague: how do you know the ‘he’ referred to in this passage is the Antichrist and how do you know this set of seven is the final 7 years before Jesus comes back?” Because in Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:3‐4 and Revelation 13 Jesus, the apostle Paul and the apostle John all allude back to this passage when explicitly describing the Antichrist and the events which are to occur just before Jesus returns.
C. Organizing the Events of the Tribulation:
Let’s use Daniel 9:27 to build a bit of a timeline where we can fit other End Times passages into and make sense of what the Scriptures have to say about the Tribulation and the End Times.
• Ever since Jesus ascended back to heaven and the Holy Spirit came on the Early Church we’ve been in the Church Age.
• Daniel 9:27 is the only passage of Scripture which explicitly tells us how the 7‐year Tribulation time period starts –He [the Antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ – Dan 9:27a (NIV) So the Antichrist is going to confirm a covenant between Israel and many surrounding nations.
When that happens the Countdown Clock officially starts ticking and we have 7 years until Jesus returns. I just want to say two things about this:
1. The Antichrist isn’t going to be wearing a sign that says ‘Antichrist.’ We’re not going to know in advance who this guy is, and the newspaper headlines the next day aren’t going to trumpet “ANTICHRIST CONFIRMS HISTORIC COVENANT.” He’s going to be some government leader and a brilliant diplomat, but we don’t know who he is.
2. The 2nd thing I want to say about this is that this passage doesn’t explicitly say PEACE TREATY. Now many people assume it’s going to be a peace treaty but it doesn’t explicitly say PEACE TREATY. So it could be a peace treaty – I think some sort of peace treaty is implied if these nations are confirming a covenant together, but this could be something else: say a water deal, an oil deal, a sharing of religious holy sites deal or a peace treaty. We don’t know for sure.
• Principle: God’s given us just enough information in His Word so that we can know what we should be looking for, but not so much information that we could figure everything out on our own strength without having to continually rely on His Spirit through prayer and fasting.
• Do you want to know what one of Jesus’ primary End‐Times commands to us in the Gospels is? 6 times in the Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke we are commanded to “WATCH OUT.” Over and over again Jesus commands us “WATCH OUT.” WATCH OUT. What does it mean to “Watch out?” It means, first of all, that we are commanded to KNOW THE SIGNS OF THE END TIMES – how can you watch out for something if you don’t know what it is?
And 2nd that we are then to be PRAYERFULLY VIGILANT watching for those signs to occur.
• Some of you might be thinking “But Jesus is going to come like a Thief in the Night and it’s going to be a surprise, anyway, so what’s the use of WATCHING OUT?” You don’t want Jesus to come like a Thief in the Night to you!
Look what Paul says to the Thessalonians about the End Times in 1 Thess 5:4, But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. – 1 Thess 5:4 (NIV)
When Jesus said He was coming like a Thief in the Night He was talking to un‐believers and worldly believers, and Paul here is warning the Thessalonians – don’t you let Jesus sneak up on you that way. If a thief comes to your house in the night it’s not a good thing – you are going to suffer loss. You don’t want Jesus to come to you like a Thief in the Night and that’s why Jesus says over and over again ‘Watch out!’
That’s one of the reasons we’re doing this series, because we want to be ready and Watching Out for the Day of Jesus’ Return, so that He doesn’t come to anyone at Southland like a Thief in the Night.
• So here’s what’s going to happen: The Antichrist is going to confirm some kind of covenant between Israel and many nations, but many of the believers who are not Watching Out are going to MISS IT! The count‐down clock will start, we’ll be in the final 7 years of human history as we know it, and they will be clueless.
BUT to all those who are WATCHING: they are in the Word, they are studying the Signs, prayerfully vigilant and watching the headlines, a man is going to come along – he won’t have a sign hung around his neck that says ‘Antichrist’ – and he’ll confirm a covenant between Israel and many other nations, and to those who are WATCHING the Holy Spirit will confirm in our hearts, “This is it,” and we’ll know that the Tribulation has started.
D. Two Halves to the Tribulation:
Daniel chapter 9 gives us more information about the Tribulation than just how it starts. He also clearly describes for us how the Tribulation will be divided into TWO PARTS, split right down the middle, 3 ½ years & 3 ½ years:
In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. – Dan 9:27b (NIV)
• Here’s what you need to know about the Tribulation: the Bible has a LOT to say to us about the Tribulation – the majority of the book of Revelation has to do with the Tribulation – but ALMOST EVERYTHING the Bible has to say about the Tribulation is actually about the SECOND HALF of the Tribulation.
Revelation chapters 6 – 19, which talk about all the seal judgments and trumpet judgments and bowl judgments – all of that is happening in the 2nd half of the Tribulation. The Bible says almost nothing, explicitly, about the first half of the Tribulation so we don’t know a lot of details, other than that there is probably going to be some sort of counterfeit peace, most probably associated with the covenant the Antichrist makes, during that time.
• In fact, the title ‘Tribulation’ refers to the full 7‐year time period, but if you ever come across the term ‘GREAT TRIBULATION’ that name does not refer to the 7‐year time period that title specifically refers only to the last half, or 3 ½ years of the Tribulation.
• So the first 3 ½ years pass by, there’s relative peace in the world, and then a momentous event happens: the ANTICHRIST GOES INTO THE TEMPLE AND HE DOES 2 THINGS – he stops the Jews from sacrificing in the temple and he sets up what this passage calls an ‘abomination of desolation.’ Now this verse doesn’t explain to us, exactly, what that ‘abomination of desolation’ is, but Revelation 13:11‐18 fills in a whole bunch of details for us.
Basically, what he’s going to do is he’s going to set up some kind of image in the Temple and demand that the whole world worship him as God.
• Note: Now, for any of you who knows anything about Israel today you know that this prophecy could not come true right now because the Jews don’t have a Temple, right now – there are no sacrifices happening. The Romans bulldozed it in 70AD, and the Jews haven’t been able to re‐build it since they re‐took Jerusalem in 1967 because the Muslims built their Dome of the Rock temple on the site where the Temple used to stand and is supposed to be rebuilt.
One of the things, then, that we can be watching for in the coming years and decades is that at some point in the future the Jews are going to bull‐doze the Dome of the Rock and then re‐build their temple. There already is a world‐wide movement at work among orthodox Jews of raising money and getting ready to do exactly this.
Now let me tell you, the Muslims are NOT going to like it when the Jews do this, and this issue has the potential to set off a major world fire‐storm when it finally does happen.
• Two Key events at the Mid‐point of the Tribulation:
1. Physical Event: Abomination of Desolation – Antichrist demands worship. The final half of the Tribulation will be all about worship – Satan wants worship and Jesus wants worship, and people will be forced to choose (though a few will escape without choosing sides – more on that in the Millennium message).
2. Spiritual Event: Devil thrown down to earth. ‘Spiritual’ event not in the sense of ‘less real’ or ‘unsubstantial’ but spiritual in the sense that we won’t see it with our physical eyes, it won’t be reported in our newspapers.
This is the pivotal event which leads to/causes the physical event of the Antichrist demanding worship and which is the driving force causing the last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation to be so awful.
"And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. . . . When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time [a way of saying 3 ½ years], out of the serpent's reach. . . . Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus." – Rev 12:7‐9, 13‐14, 17 (NIV)
• “Why is Satan trying so hard to kill the Jews?” I certainly don’t know all of his reasons, I’m sure, but I think I know one of his primary reasons – he’s trying to escape JAIL (the bottomless pit)! Look at this prophecy Jesus made about His 2nd Coming in Matthew 23:39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' – Matt 23:39 (NIV) – so he’s trying to thwart this prophecy, by making sure there are no Jews left to occupy Jerusalem and welcome Jesus back!
The logic would be: if there are no Jews to welcome Jesus back, Jesus won’t break His Word, so then He wouldn’t be able to return. He knows he can’t beat Jesus head to head, but he’s hoping to thwart the prophecies and perhaps escape that way. Of course, he is going to fail – you can’t thwart God’s prophecies any more than you can defeat God.
E. 3 key things happening in the final 3 ½ years of Tribulation:
1. Satan trying to kill all Jews (and Christians)
2. God releases 21 supernatural judgments on Satan & Antichrist in partnership with the Church (Rev 6 – 19)
3. Armageddon World War – Armageddon is more than one battle, it is actually a world war that starts when the Antichrist demands worship. The climax of this war will be a final battle when Jesus returns to Jerusalem with all of us in tow and smashes the Antichrist once and for all. But there’s more to this war than just that one battle – after the Antichrist demands the worship of the world, the nations of the East (China and a number of those Eastern countries) are going to rise up in rebellion. They won’t be fighting for Jesus, but they will think that this whole worship thing is going way too far, so they will march out against the Antichrist with an army that the Bible says has 200 million men.
On their march towards the Antichrist’s army the Bible says they will commit their own atrocities and will kill millions of people. Some other nations from the North and South will also join them and the war between them and the Antichrist’s army will rage for 3 and ½ years.
Pockets of Shelter – Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD's anger. – Zeph 2:3 (NIV)
These pockets of shelter afford protection IN ADDITION to the promise of protection God has already made to each and every believer in the Tribulation (see part 4 of this message series), but these pockets of shelter will only be enjoyed by some, not all. These pockets of shelter will provide some extra protection from the persecution to come on believers in the End Times.