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Earth's Last Days


Introduction

We have just covered the time from 1844 to the sealing of God’s people.  Although the events are clearly spoken of in the Bible,  no specific timeline was provided.  But as you see the events just outlined, they follow a logical pattern.  It is fairly obvious that certain events require other events to happen before or later.  As we get into the next set of events, you will see that the Bible does start to link certain events together.  That tells us which of the two came first.


Before We Begin

Dear Jesus.  Thank you for your love and care for us that you have given us all this information so we can trust in you. We know you love us and want us to be saved when you come.  Help us to understand your word.  Amen.


After The Sealing

Let’s review the Day of Atonement services for a minute.  After the High Priest is finished with the cleansing process in the sanctuary he leaves the Most Holy Place and transfers the sins to the head of the scapegoat.  The High Priest then changes His robes. Now that God has sealed His people, their sins are removed from the heavenly sanctuary and are ready to be placed on the head of Satan  Jesus leaves the Most Holy Place and all intercession stops.  Let’s see how Daniel describes this.  Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.  This passage packs a lot of information.  Jesus, also known as Michael the Archangel, is finished with the work in the Most Holy Place.  He stands up and it is time for Him to exchange His  priestly robes for His kingly robes.  Then what follows is the worst time of trouble that ever occurred, but His people will be protected.  Verse 2 talks about the two resurrections that happen after this but no time frame is given at this point.  Rev. 15:5 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:  6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. The seven vials full of the wrath of God  7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. 8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.  The passage above speaks of the tabernacle of the testimony.  The ten commandments were in the ark of the covenant and this was in the Most Holy Place.  So here the passage is saying that Jesus is coming out of the Most Holy Place and is ready to start the seven last plagues. Rev 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.  16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. 18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. 19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.  If we go back to Revelation 11 and look at the seventh trumpet, we see that this coincides with the same event.  The Most Holy Place is opened,  So we see that the seventh trumpet is followed closely by the seven last plagues. Rev. 16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.  2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. 3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.  4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.  5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.  6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.  7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.  8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.  9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.; 10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,  11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.  Revelation 16  talks about the seven last plagues.  Notice that verse 2 says that the plagues are poured out on those who have the mark of the beast and those who worship the image of the beast.  The plagues in Exodus parallel this.  Just as the last of the plagues did not affect the Israelites, the last days people of God are spared these plagues.  At this point it will become obvious who are saved and who aren’t.  The people of God will stand out like a sore thumb.  They will be healthy while everyone around them are being hit with the plagues.  These first five plagues will be literal. 16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.  13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.  . . . . .  16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. Let’s look at the sixth plague.  So far the first five plagues are widespread so logically this plague is also widespread.  However, the river Euphrates is very local.  Do you remember that we studied that waters is a symbol for people?  This plague seems to be best interpreted using symbolism.  An old testament example is found at the very end of Daniel 5 when Belshazzar was slain by Medo-Persia.  Babylon was so protected by its tremendous walls that Cyrus of Medo-Persia redirected the waters of the Euphrates, and marched into the city on the dry riverbed and conquered the city. Rev 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues So let's look at this scenario.  The beast power legislates religious laws and provides a mark which allows people to buy and sell.  Now all the people who accepted that mark are losing  everything they have, including their health.  Obviously they are going to withdraw their support from this power (the waters dry up).  In other words the peoples that supported the power now fall away.  Satan sees that he is losing control so he has to do something drastic.  So in order to get his support back, he commands three demons to work miracles and perform all kinds of signs, including fire from heaven.  Are these “three frogs” literal or  symbolic?  Do they actually come out of the dragon’s mouth?  Verse 16 talks about Armageddon.  This is the only reference to Armageddon in the entire Bible.  So where is Armageddon?   The word broken down means ‘Mount of  Megiddo”.  There is no such mountain.  However, Megiddo is the name of a river.  And the river happens to be near Mt Carmel.  Do you remember the battle between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on this mountain?  God made fire come down from heaven  to honor Elijah’s sacrifice (1 Kings 18).  What an appropriate place for Satan to use to perform the same miracle.  So Satan expects to rebuild his support with these miracles. Rev 16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.  18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.  19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.  The seventh plague is the finale.  The language used in this passage is definitely Second Coming language.  You will see this terminology used whenever Bible writers talk about the Second Coming.


The Second Coming of Jesus

Now that the seventh plague is being poured out, it is time for Jesus to return to get His people.  Remember we still have the 144,000 who will be alive when He comes.  More on this in a minute.  Let’s look at some texts about His return.  1 Thes. 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Paul writes about the coming of Christ.  There will be some alive to see Him.  Notice that this is not a quiet event, no secret rapture here.  A shout, the voice of the archangel and the trump of God and the righteous dead are raised and both the righteous living and the righteous dead go to heaven together. Rev 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;  13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;  16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?  As we jump back to the sixth seal,  we can see that it starts in 1755 with the great Lisbon earthquake, then covers the early 1800’s with the signs in the sun, moon and stars, then in verse 14, it jumps to the Second Coming. Rev 14:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.  15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.; 16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. 17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.; 18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.  19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.  20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. Revelation 14 describes the coming of Jesus as a time for judgment on the wicked who are still alive.  So we can see that the seventh plague is part of the Second Coming of  Jesus.  Let’s look at another view of this in  Revelation 19.  Each of these gives us another little piece of the puzzle.  Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  12  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.  13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.  14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.  17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.  19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.  20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.  21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.  In this passage, Jesus returns as a conquering king to destroy the wicked who are living.  Notice verse 20, it talks about the last two powers being thrown into the lake of fire.  The beast in Revelation, unless otherwise qualified always refers to the papal system.  The false prophet refers to the system that spoke for the beast.  This would be the apostate protestant church that rejoined the papal system of worship and promoted it.  Notice that this is happening at Christ’s coming.  The lake of fire in Revelation 20 is another occurrence that happens later.  So we have an event involving the lake of fire at the Second Coming and an event involving the lake of fire at the Third Coming.  The Second Coming event involves the beast and false prophet, while the Third Coming event involves Satan, his angels and the wicked.   More on this later.  Daniel 9 describes this event with different details. Dan 9:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.  12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.5  13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. The Second Coming of Jesus is the same as when the rain started during the flood and people then realized it was too late. It is also the same when the homeowner wakes up in the morning and finds that he has been robbed.


The Thousand Years

We just read a few paragraphs ago about the Second Coming of Jesus in Revelation 19.  Let’s continue on with Revelation 20.  Rev 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.  2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. ; On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest came out of the Most Holy Place after the sanctuary was cleansed.  His next step in the sanctuary service was to  transfer the sins of the people to the head of the scapegoat and the goat would then be led into the desert and not killed.  In the same way, the next task that Jesus had to do when He came out of the Most Holy Place was to transfer the sins of His people onto the head of the scapegoat, or in this case Satan. We don’t see that particular event  being described in the Bible, but the chaining of Satan in the bottomless pit certainly follows the symbolism of the scapegoat being led into the desert. We start out the thousand years with Satan being chained.  Literally?  Probably not.  With no one alive on this earth and no where else to go, you might as well say he was chained, and with no one alive, who could he deceive? This passage shows that during the thousand years; 1. Satan is bound 2. The righteous live and reign with Jesus 3. They will judge When we first started these lessons, we talked about the reason that Jesus created man.   Here we see it happening.  The righteous who are saved, will be judging the wicked dead and the wicked angels and Satan. 1 Cor 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? After the thousand years are over: 1. Satan is loosed for a short time 2. The rest of the dead (the wicked) are raised Verse 5 can be confusing because we have a parenthetical statement inserted at the beginning of the verse.  We know that the righteous dead are raised at Jesus Second Coming, and this passage says clearly that the wicked dead are raised after the thousand years.  So if you take the last sentence and put it at the beginning, the verse reads correctly.  The first resurrection is the resurrection of the righteous and the second resurrection is the resurrection of the wicked.


After the Thousand Years

After the thousand years are up, things start to get interesting. The first thing that happens is that Jesus and the saints return to this earth with the New Jerusalem.  After all, this earth is going to be remade and this is where we will live and Jesus will be living with us.  Let’s trace this through some bible texts. Zechariah 2:10  Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. Rev 21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.. . .  8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Rev 3:12  Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. The text in Zechariah is just one of many that indicate that Jesus will be living among us, not in some mythical heaven, far removed from His people.   The two passages in Revelation show that the New Jerusalem will be here on earth.  As we read the next passage, we will see that this happens before the next set of events.  Revelation 20:9 shows that the city is on earth before Satan is destroyed.  Also if you  Read Rev 21:2-8, you will see that the Holy City comes down and the destruction of the wicked is still in the future, “shall have their part”. As the thousand years are completed, the Holy City comes down to this earth, Satan is loosed and the wicked dead are resurrected.  When you wake up in the resurrection, you certainly don’t want to see the New Jerusalem on this earth because that means you have woken up in the wrong resurrection.  You will remember that we read earlier in Rev 20:5 that the wicked dead are raised in the second resurrection. Rev 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,  8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.  10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.   11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. When Jesus returns the third time with the saints and the Holy City, the wicked dead are raised.  When they are raised, Satan now has a people that he can deceive again.  If you read verses 7-9 carefully, you will realize that there is going to be some time between the resurrection of the dead and the great army that Satan pulls together from the entire earth.  There will be enough time so that Satan can collect an army, train them, make plans and try to conquer the Holy City.  Notice that the army is numbered as the sands of the sea, in other words, innumerable. Obviously, the attempt to take the city fails and Satan and  his angels are thrown into the lake of fire.  Note that the beast and the false prophet are already there. The word “are” is added by the translators.  This doesn’t mean that they are still burning in the fire.  It means that they were thrown into the fire previously, as we saw in Rev  19:20. Rev 20:12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. This passage talks about the resurrection of the wicked dead, their judgment and their final destruction in the lake of fire.  Let’s review this judgment of the wicked dead because it has its roots all the way back in 1844.  When the 2,300 day prophecy was completed in 1844, Jesus  moves into His Day of Atonement role as High Priest in the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary.  At that time, judgment starts in the sanctuary for those people who believe in Jesus and keep asking for forgiveness.  By the very fact that the unbelievers are not in the sanctuary, means that a form of judgment has already occurred.  By their being excluded from judgment until after Jesus returns, their fate has already been sealed. Revelation 22:12 says, ‘Behold I come quickly and my reward with me…”    Revelation 11: 1 Says, “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” Since they are excluded from the pre-advent judgment, the actual judgment of the unbelievers start when the saints reign with Jesus for a thousand years.  1Cor 6:2  Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? When they return with Jesus after the thousand years, the fate of everyone has already been decided. The last event is for people to review the records and agree that God is Just and that they deserve to die. The final act is the destruction of the wicked in the lake of fire.  Notice that God never planned to burn people.  The lake of fire was created for the devil and his angels only, but because of the choices of the unbelievers, they end up with the same fate as the devil. Matthew 25:41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: What is so sad, is that God gave everyone a choice. 


The New Earth

If you read the 21st chapter of Revelation and the first 6  verses of chapter 22 you will get an idea of what the righteous have to look forward to.


Review

Let’s review all the events of this lesson. 1. The Sealing of God’s people has been finished 2. The seven last plagues are poured out on those who have the Mark of the Beast 3. The righteous will be protected 4. Jesus comes back to this earth (Second Coming) 5. The righteous dead are raised and they with the righteous living meet Jesus in the air (Jesus does not touch the earth) 6. The living wicked are destroyed 7. The Beast and False Prophet are thrown into the lake of fire 8. Satan is bound on this earth for 1000 years 9. Jesus returns to heaven with the righteous and they reign with Jesus for 1000 years 10. Jesus returns with the Holy City at end of the 1000 years (Third Coming) and plants the city on the earth. 11. The wicked dead are raised 12. Satan is loosed and tempts his followers 13. Satan organizes a huge army and attacks the Holy City 14. The wicked are judged 15. Satan and his angels and all his followers are thrown into the lake of fire 16. The earth is recreated and we live on this earth for eternity


How Does This Show God’s Love For Us?

Once the sealing takes place, Goarticle/41d protects His people.  The rest of the world  is left to the control of Satan but the righteous will not be harmed.  As the last plagues fall upon the people, it will be obvious who is not being harmed, but Satan and His followers cannot hurt God’s people anymore. God cuts the time short so that He can return to take His people back to heaven.  With God’s restraining hand taken from this earth, Satan will make it evident once and for all to the entire universe that God’s way is the only way.  Satan’s way can only bring death while God’s way brings life.  When this is all over, we will forget all that ever happened except the fact that the laws of sin can never be considered as a replacement for God’s law.

 
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