STEPS TO ETERNITY
God has been seeking man since creation:
- INDIVIDUALLY (Gen. 1-10) Creation, Flood and Fall 0 to 2166 BC
- NATIONALLY (Gen. 11 – Mal. 4) Abraham and Israel 2166 BC to AD 1
- BODY Church Age (AD 30 to present)
Tribulation: the purpose is to reconcile Israel to Christ
- Israel in national unbelief Ezk 37-38
- Northern Army strikes Ezk 38
- Anti Christ appears as hero mid point temple worship Mat 24:15; 2 Th 2:3-4; Rev 13 wrath of God Armageddon Rev 16:14-16.
- Second Coming: Mt. 24/25; Rev. 19.11-21
- One third of Israel repents Zech. 12.12; 13.8-9; Rom. 11.25-27
Millennium: Dt 30:1-6; Isaiah 11.1-10; Zech. 8.22-23
New Heaven and Earth 2P3.10; Rev. 21-22
Jesus Christ is the Lord of Time and Eternity (Reed)
Lord of the Church 1-3
- Revealed in Glory 1
- Judging the Church 2-3
Lord of History 4-20
- Crowned as King of History 4-5
- Judging the Earth 6-18
- Seven Seals 6-18 (six seals ch. 6; Jews ch. 7
- Seven Trumpets 8-11 (six trumpets 8-9; book and witnesses 10-11; 7th trumpet 11:15; seven signs 12-14)
- Seven Bowls 15-18 (worship & wrath 15; seven bowls 16; Babylon falls 17-18)
- Returning to the Earth 19
- Reigning on Earth 1,000 years 20
Lord of the New Heaven and the New Earth 21-22.5
- Provides new life 21-22.5
Invites all to come to Him 22.6-21
PERIODS OF PROPHECY
Bible prophecy forecasts key events in God’s involvement with man. Here is a timetable of prophetic events, from the angelic hosts heralding the coming Messiah to the saints singing praises before the King of Kings. Daniel describes 70 prophetic “weeks” (490 years) as God’s timetable for the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem (9:24-27). Highlights of this period are Christ’s death as a sacrifice for sin, bringing in righteousness as He establishes His kingdom, and the rebuilt millennial temple. With the exception of Christ’s death, all these events will take place during Israel’s national repentance at Christ’s second coming. The first 69 weeks (483 years) include the command to rebuild Jerusalem, the first coming of Messiah. Christ’s being “cut off” (crucified) and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D. This 69 week period ended at Christ’s triumphal entry. But Israel rejects the Messiah, interrupting the 70-week timetable. A gape, or unexplained period of time, follows the 69th week (Dan. 9:26). Daniel 9:27 references the end-time Antichrist; thus the gap is about 2,000 which anticipates the church age.
- THE CHURCH AGE (Worshipping – Waiting – Winning) – Before His death and departure, Jesus promised to “build my church” (Matt. 16:18). The church, born on the Day of Pentecost, consists of the twin remnants of Jews and Gentiles who come to trust Christ as their Savior (Eph. 2,3). God’s purpose through the church is to preach, teach, and call out a people for His name. In addition to world evangelization, the church is commissioned to “wait for the Son from heaven” (I Thess. 1:10; Acts 1:8). The church age closes amid rampant apostasy in an environment that is marked by self-obsessed humanists, immortality, violence, and internal unrest (2 Tim. 3:1-6; 2 Thess. 2:3).
- THE RAPTURE (Going) – God concludes His program for the church before the seven-year Tribulation (the 70th week) begins (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9). The rapture “catches away” the church; then the Antichrist appears on earth (2 Thess. 2:3-9) and the Tribulation begins. Jesus will meet the church in the air to “take you to be with me” (John 14:1-6; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). This event may take place at any moment, and is the church’s “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). During the Tribulation, the church is in heaven with Christ. Members receive rewards, and the church becomes Christ’s “bride” and enjoys the “marriage feast of the Lamb.” The church also prepares to return with Him in glory (1 Cor. 3:11-15; Rev. 19:7-9).
- THE TRIBULATION (Watching) – Daniel’s 70th week (9:27) begins as God officially resumes His program for the Jewish nation. The key purpose of the Tribulation period is to reconcile the nation Israel to the Messiah. After persecution by the Antichrist, and isolation among the Gentile nations pledged to its destruction, the Jewish nation confronts Christ at Armageddon and cries in repentance (Zech. 12:10). Events during the Tribulation include:
- Israel exists as a national entity in unbelief (Ezek. 37, 38).
- Northern armies invade Israel (Ezek. 38). These forces strike at the regathered remnant of Jews who are in the land, as Satan seeks to destroy the Jewish people before they can be reconciled to the Messiah.
- The Antichrist appears, first as a political super-hero of the West (Dan. 9:27). At the midpoint of the Tribulation, he enters the temple in Jerusalem and declares himself to be God (the abomination of Desolation), demands worship, and refuses his “mark” to all who will not bow down to him. (Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3,4; Rev. 13). This act initiates the Great Tribulation, as God pours out His wrath upon a belligerent Gentile world system in a series of disasters that culminates in Armageddon (Rev. 16:14-16).
- Jesus Christ returns with His saints to take His throne and judge the nations (Matt. 24:25; Rev. 19:11-21).
- Israel’s national remnant, about one-third of the people, accept their Messiah and experience national reconciliation (Zech. 12:12; 13:8,9; Rom. 11:25-27).
- THE MILLENNIUM (Ruling) – For 1,000 years, believers “reign with him” in a theocratic kingdom where all of God’s promises to Abraham and his descendants are fulfilled (Deut. 30:1-6; Rev. 20:4-6). During this kingdom, universal peace and justice prevail (Isaiah 11:1-10), and believers from all nations worship at the millennial temple in Jerusalem (Zech. 8:22, 23). Satan’s influence on earth ends, though only temporarily (Rev. 20:1-3).
- THE FINAL UPRISING – At the end of Christ’s 1,000 year reign, Satan gathers a multitude of unregenerate people to rebel against the King (Rev. 20:7-9). The uprising exposes conclusively the depravity of the human heart. With Christ personally-present, and every opportunity to embrace righteousness, many still rebel against God.
- GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT – The lost of all ages are judged, not to determine salvation, but the degree of punishment to be borne in the “lake of fire” (Rev. 20:11-15). This will be consistent with the “light” received, and rejected, during their lifetime. Before the Great White Throne, the lost of all ages finally acknowledge the lordship of Jesus Christ, but too late for deliverance (Phil. 2:10, 11). All human distinctions about power or position are meaningless – the small and the great face their “works” before a holy God and are condemned. Their sentence is eternal, conscious internment in the lake of fire. Satan is also cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).
- NEW HEAVEN, NEW EARTH (Wondering) – Next, the consummation of all prophecy appears: the new heaven and earth. A firestorm destroys the present planet (2 Peter 3:10), and God creates a new world (Rev. 21:1-5). The saints live in a New Jerusalem (Rev. 21, 22) with many “rooms” prepared by Christ for them (John 14:2,3). Here there is no pain, no death, no curse, no adversary. Above all else, we will be with the Lord, and He will share His glory with us for all the ages to come.
 Elwood McQuaid, Moody, 4/90, p. 14-17.