There seems to be a lot of confusion these days concerning Bible prophecy. Today I would like to break up our Bible study into several different sections. I believe if we keep the study in chronological order it will make more sense. Because the Bible is filled from beginning to end with prophecies we will only be studying the most recent prophecies that were fulfilled and the prophecies yet to be fulfilled.
The first section we will be looking at is how do we know we are living in the last days? The second section will deal with the most recent fulfilled Bible prophecies. The third section will cover prophecies concerning the taking away of Gods people or what's commonly called the rapture. The fourth section will cover the prophecies of the Great Tribulation. The fifth section will cover the prophecies of Jesus' second coming. And the last section will be the prophecies of the 1,000 year reign of Christ.
In this Bible study we are going to be looking at just a few of the prophecies concerning each event.
There are several prophecies for each event and if we listed every prophecy for each event it would be too time consuming. First we need to find out what is the purpose of Bible prophecy? God says that no one knows the future except God and when the events stated by God come to pass you may believe. We can see this in John 13:19, "Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He."We also see this in John 14:29, "And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe."
Section 1, the Last Days
Next we are going to take a look at the prophecies concerning the last days to see if we are indeed living in the last days. The first prophecy we will look at can be found in the Book of Daniel 12:4, "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." I picked this prophecy because I believe it describes the time we live in perfectly. This verse is saying that travel and knowledge will increase. With the inventions of the space shuttle and the computer at no other time in our history could this prophecy have been fulfilled.
In 2 Peter 3:4 we read, "And saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." I know I have heard over the years several different people say that the events that are happening to us now are no different than the events that have been occurring since the beginning of time. I am sure my friends did not realize at that time that they were fulfilling Bible prophecy.
These next verses describe the current breakdown of morals in our society today. In Romans 1:30-32 we read, "backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."
In 2 Timothy 3:3 we read, "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 rather than lovers of God,"
Recently (July of 2015) the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. The Bible tells us that when homosexuality is no longer hidden and out in the open destruction is near. We can see this in both the times of Noah and the times of Lot. Both Noah and Lot experienced moral breakdown in their societies before the destruction came upon them as we can see in Luke 17:27-29, "They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all."
It also states in Luke 17:26, "And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man."We also see this in Isaiah 3:9-11, "The look on their countenance witnesses against them, and they declare their sin as Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves. Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him. The above verse clearly shows us that God is certainly able to deliver the Godly from the ungodly.
Section 2, Fulfilled Prophecy
The first prophecies we will look at are concerning the state of Israel when in 70 AD the Romans conquered the Jews and scattered them into several different countries. Then in 1948 after 1,878 years of exile Israel became a state again. Just this fact alone is incredible considering that no other race of people who were conquered has ever come back and regained their homeland and keep their identity.
Let us first look at the prophecies concerning Israel losing their homeland. We can see this in Psalm 44:11, "You have given us up like sheep intended for food, and have scattered us among the nations."We see this again in Luke 21:24, "And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."
A Gentile is anybody who is not Jewish. In 1967 Israel regained the city of Jerusalem from the Jordanians in the seven day war. This also fulfilled the above verse "until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."
Why did God destroy millions of Jewish people and scatter the rest? We find the answer in Luke 19:43-45, "For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."
In the Book of Daniel, Daniel gives the Jewish religious leaders the exact day when their Messiah the Prince would arrive and Zechariah prophesied that Jesus would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. We see this in Daniel 9:25,""Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times."And in Zechariah 9:9, we read ""Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey."Isaiah, chapter 53 describes in detail the crucifixion of Jesus 750 years before Christ was born. It appears the Scribes and Pharisees' should have spent more time in their scriptures.
Let's now look at two of the prophecies concerning Israel regaining their homeland in May of 1948. The first verse we will look at is found in Zechariah 10:8, "I will whistle for them and gather them, for I will redeem them; and they shall increase as they once increased."The second verse is found in Micah 2:12, "I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make a loud noise because of so many people."
The reason I started with these two events in Bible prophecy is because in the Book of Luke it is said that the generation that begins to witnesses these things taking place will not pass away until all things are fulfilled. We can see this in Luke 21: 24-28, "And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (This event happened in 1967.)
"And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." These things began to happen in 1948 when Israel became a nation again and in 1967 when the Jews regained the city of Jerusalem from the Jordanians.
Then He spoke to them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
By these verses and the fact that the Jews regained Jerusalem in 1948 and the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled in 1967, we can now see that we are the final generation that will witness Christ's return and Christ's reign on the planet earth.
Section 3, The Taking Away of God's People
The next prophetic event to take place I believe will be the taking away of God's people and then the Great Tribulation will begin. I have heard arguments for a mid tribulation rapture and a post tribulation rapture. I believe the correct way to settle this argument is to look at how God has handled Himself in the past in similar situations. The Bible states that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Lot and his family who were living in Sodom were evacuated just before the two angels of God destroyed the city.
Moses, his family and all the animals were gathered into the ark before the floods came. God has never made His people suffer because of what the wicked people were doing. We can see this in the Book of Genesis when Abraham was reasoning with God about the destruction of Sodom. In Genesis 18:23-25 we read, "And Abraham came near and said, "Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" We know from the Bible that God did deliver lot and his family from Sodom just before Sodom was destroyed.
We also see in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, "For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."When I hear of Christians who believe they will be going through the tribulation or half way through the tribulation it brings to my mind the verses in the Book of Revelations where Jesus is talking to His church in Thyatira. In Revelations 2:18 we read, "Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds."
We know by these verses that many Christians will be going through the great tribulation. It could be that these believers who believe they are going to go through the tribulation are in fact these same believers as mentioned in Revelations 2:18. Maybe their right and maybe at the same time we are also correct. I also know that Jesus Christ's Spirit filled believers will be taken up to heaven before the great tribulation starts. We can see this in Revelation 3:10, "Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth."
What are some of the prophecies concerning the taking away of God's people? In Corinthians 15:52 we read, "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." In Thessalonians 4:16-17 we read, "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. 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."
I'll give you one more prophecy concerning the taking away of God's people and that is found in Luke 17:33-35, "Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left."
Another argument for the pre-tribulation rapture is when Jesus comes for us we are to meet Him in the air. When Jesus comes to rule the earth for a thousand years He is coming with tens of thousands of His saints riding on white horses as stated in Jude 1:14, "Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints," And in revelation 19:14, we read "And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses."We can see by this verse that the army of saints with their white horses originated in heaven.
When we meet Jesus in the air the Bible never states that Jesus is bringing with Him tens of thousands of horses. It also doesn't make sense that when Jesus comes with His armies (His saints) for His 2nd coming that we will meet Him in the air, saddle up and come right back down to earth to fight the Devil and his anti-Christ. We have to remember that there are two different events. The first event is Jesus coming for His church and second event is Jesus coming with His church.
Section 4, the Great Tribulation
Let's take a quick look at a few prophecies concerning the tribulation. We will start with Matthew 24:21, "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be."Jeremiah 30:7, "Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it."And finally Isaiah 13:13, "Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth will move out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts and in the day of His fierce anger."
The Great Tribulation is an event that nobody is going to want to attend. Billions and billions of people are going to be killed. There are many passages pertaining to this section of Bible prophecy. I will show you just four of them from the Book of Zechariah 13:8, "And it shall come to pass in all the land," Says the Lord, "That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one-third shall be left in it:"As of July 2015 when I wrote this Bible study there is currently estimated to be 7.1 billion people on this earth. Two thirds dead would be 4.7 billion people. In Zechariah 14:6 we read, "It shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light; the lights will diminish."
Scary days are ahead for all the people left on the earth. Food will be scarce and what little food is left will be fought over. We can see this in Zechariah 14:13, "It shall come to pass in that day that a great panic from the Lord will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, and raise his hand against his neighbor's hand;"In Revelation 13:17, we read "and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."If you are interested in reading the judgments of God during the tribulation you can read that in Revelation chapters 6 through 19.
Section 5, the 2nd Coming of Christ or the Day of the Lord
The Bible tells us that the Great Tribulation will be so devastating that if Christ doesn't come early no flesh would be saved. We can see this in Matthew 24:22, "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened."
The Bible says that Jesus' second coming will be exactly seven years from the start of the tribulation. It is also stated that after the anti-Christ stands in the temple in Jerusalem demanding to be worshiped the second coming of Christ will occur exactly in three and one half years from that day. Once the tribulation starts we thought we knew exactly when Jesus was to return. That is what I originally thought until I read the above verse.
This being said there is now no way anybody can accurately predict to the day when the 2nd coming of Christ will occur. We will know that during the seventh year of the tribulation Jesus was originally scheduled to return but how much earlier Jesus is going to come back nobody knows.
We know from the above verse that the seven year tribulation will now be less than seven years. Because those times will be so devastating that unless the seven years are shortened there would not be any human beings left alive on the earth!
Immediately after the tribulation the people will see Jesus and His saints coming in the clouds. We see this in Matthew 24:29-30, "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. 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."
We also can get more details of this event from Luke 21:25-28, "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
I have heard the question asked on Christian radio "where in the Bible did Jesus ever say that He was coming back?" Let's start with Jesus' own words. In Matthew 26:64, we read, "Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."
This is so important let's take a look at more of Jesus' own words about His 2nd coming. We'll start with Matthew 25:13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."Matthew 16:27, "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
In Luke 17-24 we read, "For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day." The last one we will use is found in John 14:2-3, "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
The Old and New Testaments are full of prophesies concerning the 2nd coming of Christ. The last prophecy we will look at on this subject is the prophecy from the two angels who were standing in the crowd as Jesus ascended into heaven. It is found in Acts 1:11, "who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
The next prophecy we are going to look at is found in Revelation 1:7, "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen." There was a time, not so long ago when people would read this passage and ask the question "how is every eye going to see Him?" Now with the invention of telecommunication satellites orbiting our planet this prophecy could now be very easily fulfilled.
We also know that when Jesus does return to the earth we, the saints will return with Him. We can see this in Jude 1:14, "Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints," We also see this in Zechariah 14:5. "Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my God will come, And all the saints with You."
The last prophecy we will look at in this section is found in Zechariah 14:4, "And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south.
The Seven Jewish Feast Festivals
One subject I feel is important to talk about and has hardly even been mentioned by Christian radio is the seven Jewish feast days as written in the Book of Leviticus chapter 23. The reason these days are important to Bible prophecy is the same seven feast days that the Jewish people celebrate today will also be celebrated during the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ. We see this in Colossians 2:16-17,"So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ."
Why is this important to Bible prophecy? Look at what has happened so far.
1. Feast of Passover Jesus Crucified
2. Feast of Unleaven bread Jesus Entombed
3. Feast of Firstfruits Resurrection of Jesus
4. Feast of Weeks Pentecost, The Holy Spirit Given to Man
Four of the seven feast days have already been fulfilled by Jesus and the Holy Spirit at His first coming. Would it surprise you to find out that the last three feast days will also be fulfilled by Jesus at His second coming? This is how I see the last three feast days fulfilled.
5. Feast of Trumpets The Taken Away of God's People (This is the next prophecy to be fulfilled)
6. Day of Atonement Marriage Supper of The Lamb
7. Feast of Tabernacles God Lives With Man
We can see an example of the people celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles during the thousand year reign of Christ here on the earth. The passage is found in Zechariah 14:16, " And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."
What are the prophecies concerning when the second coming of Christ will happen? To answer this question we have to start with the Book of Peter. We read in Peter that with God one day is as one thousand years and a thousand years is as one day. This being said we will start with the Prophecy found in Hosea 6:2, "After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight."
We also know that when Jesus was crucified He was entombed and was resurrected on the beginning of the third day. Most people believe that Jesus will return at the end of the two thousand years and at the beginning of the three thousandth year. That seems simple enough except most people started their count at Jesus 'birth instead of at Jesus' resurrection. That is the reason why at the end of the century there were so many false predictions about the second coming of Christ.
If we take the date of the resurrection of Christ on April 6th 32 AD and we know that He is due to return after two thousand years then I would look for the return of Christ sometime after April 6th 2032 and probably at the Feast of Tabernacles.
That being said we can also deduct seven years from that date to arrive at the date that God comes for His people or what is called the rapture of the church. I would expect this to happen at the Feast of Trumpets on 2025. Keep in mind that this is an educated guess. God is God and He can come anytime He chooses. The wise man will be ready now.
I am writing this in July of 2015. Currently there is a lot of talk about Christ taking His people on The Feast of Tabernacles on September 23rd. This prediction is mostly due to the fact of the seven blood moons occurring on the last seven Jewish Festivals. I have my doubts about this occurring at this time because of what I have already written and if it were to happen I believe it would be at the Feast of Trumpets on September 13 and not at the Feast of Tabernacles.
So why is there so much discrepancy about when Jesus is to return? I keep hearing people say "Jesus has been gone for two thousand years now and His return should be any day now. Jesus died April 6th 32AD. It is now July 2015. Jesus has been gone for 1,983 years. When Jesus returns at the beginning of the third day it would put His return sometime after April 6th, 2032. This date would fulfill "the beginning of the third day or after 2000 years."
The Book of Enoch (which is quoted in the Book of Jude 1:14) divides the Messianic kingdoms into four segments 12, 23, 23, 12. If you then add these four numbers together it comes to 70.
I don't believe that 70 is a coincidence. I believe that the 70 is the same 70 as referred to in the book of Daniel 9:24, "Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy."