What Events Does the Bible Predict Will Occur in the Last Days?

Sincere and intelligent Christians disagree on the timing of these events and the role of Israel in them. This outline reflects what I believe best represents the Biblical evidence.

The Rapture/Resurrection of Church Believers and Their Bema Seat Reward in Heaven

1 Thess.4:13-17; 1 Cor.15:51-54
At some point in the future which no one knows, Jesus will suddenly appear in the sky with the spirits and souls of Christians who have died. There will be a trumpet blast and he will call his church to himself. Immediately, the bodies of all Christians who have died will be resurrected and joined to their souls and spirits. And the bodies of those Christians still alive will be transformed and glorified. All these Christians will be seized up [raptured] to meet the Lord in the air.

2 Cor.5:6-10; 1 Cor.3:10-15; 1 Thess.2:19-20
They will go to heaven and each Christians will stand before the Lord at his bema seat to receive a reward for how each has ministered to others for Christ. It will be a time of rejoicing over how God has used us in the lives of others in their presence before Christ.

The Seven-year Tribulation on Earth

The purposes of the tribulation period are 1) to bring judgment upon unbelieving mankind (Rev.6) and 2) to purify Israel so that she might accept her messiah in humility when he returns (Zech.12:10-14).

Dan.9:27; Matt.24:1-35
Right after the church is raptured, a seven-year tribulation begins on the earth.

Rev.6:1-17; Rev.8:1-13; Rev.9:1-21
The tribulation is characterized by God’s judgments upon unbelieving mankind.

Dan.9:25-27; Matt.24:15-16
It is also characterized by the antichrist’s persecution of Christians (for all seven years) and Jews (in the last three and half years). For the first three and a half years Israel has a covenant with the antichrist, then the antichrist breaks it at the end of the first three and a half years and spends the second half persecuting the Jews (which he has already been doing to believers in Christ).

The Marriage Celebration of the Lamb in Heaven

Revelation 19:5-10
Before Christ returns to earth with His church, He will celebrate the salvation of his church as a husband celebrates his marriage to his bride at a great feast.

The Second Coming of Christ to Earth

Zech.14:1-15
The seven-year tribulation closes with the return of Christ to the earth to rescue Jerusalem and Israel.

Rev.19:11-16
Jesus Christ comes in power and glory accompanied by His church and angels.

The Resurrection of OT Believers
Dan.12:1-2

The Second Coming Judgments and Resurrections

Rev.19: 11-21
Jesus Christ returns with his glorified saints (his church) to set up his millennial kingdom on Earth. Of those who are in physical bodies, only those who are believers in him can enter the millennial kingdom. Therefore human beings in physical bodies must be judged. There are two judgments, one for Jews and one for Gentiles.

The Second Coming Judgments are public judgments to see who will enter the millennial kingdom. They are not discussed in Revelation.

1. The Judgment of Israel
a. Those who are in the land of Israel will be humbled by the antichrist’s destruction and will turn in repentance and faith toward Jesus as messiah when he returns.
Zech. 14: 1-5
Antichrist will attempt to destroy Jerusalem and Jesus returns to rescue his people

Zech.13:8-9
It appears that just before Jesus returns, one-third of the Israelites (Jews living in Israel) will be left (after two-thirds are killed) to repent and accept messiah Jesus when they see him return.

Zech.12:10-13:1
God will pour out his Spirit on these Jews living in Israel as they repent and they will all be saved.

b. After he returns and rescues Israel, Jesus will gather all the Jews all over the earth and bring them to Israel for judgment and judge them according to whether they rebelled against the Lord (Christ).
Ezek.20: 34-38

c. All Israelites who are saved by their faith in Christ will enter the land of Israel as a united nation in fulfillment of God’s promises.
Rom.11: 25-27
Ezek.20:39-44 refers to this time period.

d. The Israelites who have not repented and trusted Christ will enter Hades to await the Great White Throne Judgment.

NOTE: We know they enter Hades because all unbelievers enter hell at the Great White Throne Judgment. Before that time, they await judgment in Hades. Lu.16:23 (NIV mistranslates the Greek word as “hell”, it is actually “Hades,” Rev.20:13 Hades gives up the souls and spirits of the dead.)

At the end of the judgment of Israel, only believing Israelites remain in physical bodies to enter the millennial kingdom.

Note: Jesus warns Israel to be ready for his coming by accepting him as messiah in Matt.24:36 – 25:30.

2. The Judgment of the Gentile nations

a. Jesus gathers all the Gentiles all over the world and separates the believers from the unbelievers based on their faith in Christ or lack of it.
Matt. 25:31-33
The sheep are believers (Jn.10:25-29), the goats are unbelievers

b. He will publicly state the evidence of salvation or lack of salvation of the two groups (believers and unbelievers) by how they treated both believing and unbelieving Israelites (my brethren in the context of Matt.24-25).
Mat.25: 34-45
Joel 3: 1-3

c. Believing Gentiles will enter the millennial kingdom in physical bodies and unbelieving Gentiles will go to Hades to prepare for eternal punishment.
Mat. 25:46
Rev.20: 4-6

The Resurrection of Tribulation Believers
Rev.20:4

The Millennial Kingdom When Christ Reigns on Earth

1. Satan is cast down into the abyss for a thousand years
Rev.20:1-3

2. Christ reigns in Jerusalem and the church reigns with him for a thousand years.
Zech.14:8-11; Rev.20:4-6

The earth is restored to a pre-fall condition. When the Bible describes the millennium, the conditions on the earth are different than they are today. See Life in the Millennium.

3. Among the people on the earth in physical bodies, only believers will enter the
millennium, but many of their descendants will not turn to Christ in their hearts.
Isaiah 11: 1-5 This is why Jesus rules with a strong hand
Revelation 20:8 This is why Satan is able to gather people for his army

Rev.20:7-10
The millennium is completed at the end of the thousand years with a final
judgment of Satan. Satan is released and gathers an army from the unbelieving
descendants of the believers who entered the millennium.

There will be two groups of believers on earth when the millennial kingdom begins:

1) Believers in physical bodies who will be married or marry and have children

2) Believers who are in glorified bodies (church, OT believers, tribulation believers).

The Resurrection of the Millennial Believers?
Not mentioned in Scripture.

The Great White Throne Judgment of All Unbelievers

Rev.20: 11-15
This is the judgment of all unbelievers of all time. They will be judged for their lack of faith in the true God or Christ (their names not written in the book of life). They will be judged according to their sins (the books recorded these). They all will enter the lake of fire, hell, for eternity in immortal bodies that can suffer pain and punishment.

The New Heavens and the New Earth

Revelation 21; 2 Peter 3:1 0
The old heavens and the earth have already been melted away before the Great White Throne Judgment.

Rev.21:2
The New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven to earth.

Rev.21:22-26
God the Father and God the Son reign in the new heavens and the new earth and their glory gives light everywhere.

Rev.21:4-5
“And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he who sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And he said to me, ‘Write: for these words are true and faithful.’”