Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:29-31, KJV).
Here Jesus is telling us that the world's darkest period of tribulation and horror will abruptly end with the dawning of the brightest day. Jesus Christ Himself returns to gather His people to be with Him!
The Book of Revelation tells us that just prior to Jesus' return, God will unleash terrible plagues and judgments upon the forces of the Beast, who will be doing their damnedest to wipe out all who refuse to take the Beast's mark. The Bible spells out exactly how long this period of "great tribulation" will last: three and a half years, or 42 months, or 1,260 days (Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 13:5; 12:6). So on the day that the coming world leader breaks his peace covenant and sets up his image and demands the world's worship, we will know exactly how long it will be till Jesus' return.
Bye-Bye, Beast, and Hello, Heaven!
The world will be shocked by the awesome sights and sounds that will herald Jesus' Second Coming. When the greatest sign of all is revealed, Jesus Himself coming in the clouds, supernaturally beaming God's power and might around the world, those who have rejected Him and worshiped the Beast will suddenly realize how very wrong they've been. "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" (Revelation 1:7).
But for those of us who know and love the Lord, His return will bring us greater joy and deliverance and freedom than we have ever known. All God's children who have died through the ages will be miraculously resurrected in new supernatural bodies, bursting out of their graves and ascending to meet Jesus in the air. Those of us still alive on earth will be instantly transformed with new bodies as well, and we'll soar into the clouds to meet the Lord. Jesus will snatch His people out of the reach of their anti-Christ persecutors and whisk them away to the grandest, most thrilling victory celebration that's ever been held-an event known as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Heaven! (Revelation 14:14-16; 19:6-9).
Meanwhile, the horrific wrath of God will be poured out upon the Beast's forces, a time so terrible that the Bible says, "In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them" (Revelation 9:6).
The superhuman hosts of Heaven will then return to earth, led by Jesus, to defeat and destroy the Beast and his wicked one-world empire in the dreaded battle known as Armageddon. The focal point of this great slaughter will be in and around the valley of Megiddo, near Haifa, Israel (the Hebrew word Armageddon literally means the height, or mount, of Megiddo). It will mark the end of man's cruel rule on earth, as God Himself, through Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, and His heavenly forces take over the world to rule and reign and run it the way it should have been run all along if man had not disobeyed God and gone his own selfish way! And so begins a thousand years of peace, plenty and paradise on earth (Revelation 19:11-21; 20:1-4).
Faith to Face the Future
To say the least, we are living in exciting times and are on the threshold of some cataclysmic changes!
Seeing how prophecies from thousands of years ago accurately predicted world conditions today [as outlined in previous installments of The Future Foretold] should encourage your faith in a number of ways. Firstly, it's reassuring that God not only has the power to foresee the future, but that He cares enough about us to tell us what is going to happen in advance. As Jesus said, "Now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe" (John 14:29).
Similarly, when you realize that the current state of the world was foretold so specifically, it stands to reason that the biblical prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled will also come to pass. A one-world government with a bestial leader and enforced credit system will arise. Persecution of those who refuse to cooperate with the Antichrist regime will take place. But then God will intervene when Jesus Christ returns to rescue His people, defeat the forces of evil, and establish His everlasting kingdom of love on earth.
No Need to Fear
As these awesome final events of the Endtime begin to unfold, you don't have to be in fear or confusion, wondering what's going on. Although Jesus warned that in the very last days men's hearts would be failing them from fear and the expectation of those things that are coming on the earth (Luke 21:26), He also said that those who know and love Him could face these same events positively and victoriously.
He made it clear that as the final signs of the end come to pass, His return to rescue His people will be that much closer: "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption [deliverance] draws near" (Luke 21:28). We may not like everything that is happening in the world, and some of it may look pretty bad, but at least we know the happy ending.
If you have faith in God and His Word, and you are living close to Him, then even if there's war and turmoil, confusion and chaos on the outside, you can have peace on the inside-in your own heart-through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.
Excerpted from The Future Foretold, by Michael Roy