Editor’s note: This particular interpretation of biblical prophecy is often called pre-tribulation premillennialism. Other major categories of interpretation are post-tribulation premillennialism, amillennialism and postmillennialism. For a previous Baptist Press story about various interpretations, click here.
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP)–People are hungry to know what the future holds. After 9/11, the Left Behind series book “Desecration” became the best-selling novel in the world in 2001.
We are on a collision course with the events on God’s prophetic calendar, and many people feel a sense of unease. Now is the time for Christians to introduce them to God’s plan of redemption, to provide answers about the end times before it’s too late.
Here are the answers to many people’s questions about the end times, as well as how you can use the major prophetic events outlined below to point a seeker to Jesus Christ.
1. The Rapture of the Church: that moment when Jesus Christ appears in the clouds and gathers to himself all of His followers who are alive and those who have already died (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The purpose of the Rapture is to save Christians from the coming seven years of judgment that will come upon the earth (Revelation 3:10).
Good News! While it will be possible for a non-Christian to become a follower of Christ during the seven-year Tribulation, receiving Christ now means being with Him in heaven and escaping the coming judgment of the Tribulation.
2. The Great Tribulation: a seven-year period during which Israel will be judged at the hand of the nations of the world (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27). Judgment will also fall upon those in the world who have rejected Christ.
Good News! Just as God provided a way for righteous Noah and his family to escape the judgment of the Flood, so God provides a way for the righteous in Christ to escape the Tribulation through Him. Better to heed God’s warning and be saved (Matthew 24:36-43).
3. The Antichrist: a coming world leader, inspired by Satan, who will unite the nations of the world in opposition to God during the Tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 1 John 2:18).
Good News! Although the same Satan who will deceive many through the Antichrist in the Tribulation works to deceive many today (2 Corinthians 2:11), believers in Christ are protected from the power of Satan (James 4:7).
4. The Battle of Armageddon: the final battle of the Great Tribulation in which Christ returns with His heavenly armies to defeat the forces of the Antichrist on the plains of Megiddo in Northern Israel. Israel is saved by the appearance of Christ (Zechariah 12:10).
Good News! The bad guys of this world do not win. God’s plan calls for the destruction of His enemies and the salvation of those who turn to Him during the Tribulation (Revelation 19:11-21).
5. The Great White Throne Judgment: follows the Battle of Armageddon, at which all those who have opposed Christ are judged (Revelation 20:11-15). All human beings throughout all ages who are not found in God’s Book of Life are judged and ushered into a Godless eternity.
Good News! Knowing Christ means your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 13:8).
6. The Millennium: the thousand-year reign of Christ over the earth during which He will rule with perfect righteousness and justice (Revelation 20:1-6). Satan will be bound during this time so as not to interfere with the rule of the King of Kings, and will be judged at the end of the thousand years (Revelation 20:7-10). The completion of the Millennium is the beginning of eternity during which all who have been saved by Christ will live with Him forever (John 3:16).
Good News! Those who belong to Christ will serve and reign with Him during the Millennium (Matthew 19:28; Revelation 20:6).
You can use the above prophetic points to give hope to a fearful heart. If you don’t share Christ prophetically with your friends, who will? And if you don’t do it now, don’t forget: The Rapture of the church is the next event on God’s calendar.
Which would your loved ones be most thankful for: someone (you) to explain the future to them from Scripture, or having to figure it out for themselves after you’re gone? You can help make sure they’re not “left behind” when Jesus returns for His church.
David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., and chancellor of San Diego Christian College (formerly Christian Heritage College). For more information on Turning Point, visit www.TurningPointOnline.org.