#044 The Next Events On God’s Prophetic Calendar

Will the world end in 2012 as some say the Mayan calendar indicates? Could the world be destroyed through Global Warming? Follow along with us as the Bible takes the guesswork out of what will happen next as we examine the coming events as laid out in the Bible.


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The Next Events on God’s Prophetic Calendar

This lesson deals with Bible Prophecy. One of the most important things to learn in being able to understand the Bible is God’s prophetic plan.  Prophecy deals with what is going to happen in the future.  It is tomorrow’s news told today in the Bible.  Isaiah 46:9-10 says, “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, {10} Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”

Romans 4:17  …even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

In the Bible we have prophecy that has already been fulfilled (such as Jesus’ 1st coming) and prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled (such as Jesus’ 2nd coming).  In this lesson, we will be dealing with prophecy that is still awaiting fulfillment (as of January 6th, 2011 A.D)

1. The Rapture

The next event on God’s prophetic calendar is the rapture.  While the word “rapture” is not found in the Bible, the event the word describes most definitely is!  Some people object to the use of the word rapture, saying “Shouldn’t we use some other term for it, since that term is not found in the Bible?”  To which I reply, the term Bible is not found in the Bible, and you don’t have a problem with using it.

This event has to do with the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ.  “Imminent” means it could happen at any moment.  There is nothing left that has to be fulfilled before the rapture takes place.

At the rapture, the Lord Jesus Christ descends from heaven and calls those who are saved out of this world to be with Him forever-more.  At this time He will come out of heaven, but not all the way to the earth, and those who are saved, both living and dead will rise to meet Him and return with Him into heaven.

Does this sound far-fetched to some of you?  You can read it for yourself in I Thessalonians 4:16-18, For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: {17} Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. {18} Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

By definition the word “rapture” means “the state of being carried away with joy, love, etc.; ecstasy.”

Can you think of a better way to describe what the born again child of God will be experiencing when the Lord transports him first class from earth to heaven at Jesus’ coming?  The Lord Jesus Christ Himself declares this coming in John 14:3, saying “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” You can also read about the rapture in I Cor 15:51-55.  Among other things, here Paul explains how, at the rapture, our bodies will be changed into incorruptible bodies that will never perish.  For then the child of God will get a body like to that of his resurrected Saviour.  See Phil. 3:20-21.  The rapture is also called the Christian’s “blessed hope” in Titus 2:13.

I read the other day that Harold Camping is up to his old tricks again and is his followers are getting some press.  He is the leader of Family Radio based in Oakland, California and on Radio Stations reaching many places including our area here near Buffalo, NY.

Camping has the rapture occurring May 21, 2011.  “the rapture of believers will take place on May 21, 2011 and that God will destroy this world on October 21, 2011.”

Since the rapture is imminent and has not yet taken pace, it is possible it could occur then; however, it is certain that the world will not be destroyed on October 21, 2011.  The layout of prophetic events shown later in this study will prove that.

On p. 28, of his book We are Almost There, Revised edition, August 2010. Harold Camping says, “the church age ended on May 21, 1988”

ibid, p. 50 “The final five months of the earth’s history begins on May 21, 2011, and will end on October 21, 2011.  We thus far have set forth the basic outline of the important time junctures leading to the end of the world. We have also shown the Biblical information that causes us to arrive at this time information. …God has given so much additional information that we can know, without any doubt whatsoever, that this is an absolutely accurate timetable.”

ibid, p. 15 “the ominous prophecy of Matthew 7:21-23 will come into sharp reality in the day God brings His great wrath upon the unsaved of the world. And sadly, that includes all those who are still in any church anywhere in the world when the rapture occurs, that is, when the true believers are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. In these verses God declares:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Camping uses the King James but doesn’t believe it is infallible.  “The translator may have made an error in translation, but the Hebrew or Greek word that is being translated is never to be questioned.”  ibid, p. 20 Camping regularly dismisses King James readings for an altered translation based on the Hebrew or Greek.

2. The Judgment Seat of Christ

After the rapture, the Christian must face the judgment seat of Christ. We have covered this in detail in Lesson 28.  While the judg-ment seat of Christ takes place in heaven, the earth enters into its next prophetic event.

I Peter 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

I Peter 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

II Timothy 4:1  I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Titus 2:13  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

While the Judgment Seat of Christ is going on in heaven, on earth something else is taking place.

3. The Tribulation

As soon as the Christians are “raptured” out of this world, a 7 year period called the tribulation will begin on this earth.  As its name suggests this will be a time of trouble and turmoil for those who remain on earth.  It will be the worst time this world has ever seen or ever will see.  See Matt. 24:21.

An exhaustive study on the tribulation would itself take many lessons, so here we will just hit some key points.  Sometimes you may hear this period of time also referred to as the great tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble, or Daniel’s 70th week.

Whatever you call it, you don’t want to be there!  The good news is, if you are saved, you won’t be there; because the Lord will have taken you out of this world at the rapture.

The tribulation is the period of time in which the antichrist shows up.  The antichrist shows up peacefully at first and gains the trust and following of the world.  See Dan. 8:25; 11:21 & I Thess. 5:3.  The antichrist is also called the man of sin and the son of perdition in II Thess. 2:3-4.   The book of Revelation refers to him as the beast.  He is the one associated with the mark of the beast and the number 666 (Rev.13:16-18; 16:2, etc.).

The tribulation is typified by the judgments that were leveled upon Egypt in the time of Moses (Exodus 7-12).  You should note that during that time, God’s people, Israel, received special protection.  In the tribulation, God will be dealing with Israel and will save a remnant (Rom. 9:27; 11:26). The tribulation is also typified by the days of Noah and the days of Lot (Luke 17:26-30).  The book of Revelation deals with the tribulation in great detail in chapters 6-18.

4. The Second Advent

The second coming of Jesus Christ takes place in two parts.  Part 1 is the rapture; part 2 is the revelation or the second advent.  At the rapture Jesus comes for His saints; at the revelation He comes with His saints.  At the rapture He comes down from heaven but doesn’t come all the way to the earth, at the revelation He literally touches down on the face of the earth.

The first time Jesus came and touched down on the earth was called His advent.  That is why Christmas time, which commemorates His first coming, is called by many, the advent season.  They have advent wreaths, candles, calendars, etc. Since His first coming to earth is called the advent, His second coming to the earth is called His second advent.

This event is a culminating event referred to in both the Old Testament and New Testament.  The details of the second advent are described in II Thess. 1:7-8; Rev. 1:7 & Rev. 19:11-16.  See also Jude 1:14-15 & Psalm 149:6-9.

5. The Millennium

The millennium, as its name suggests, is a one thousand year period where Jesus Christ reigns on this earth ruling it in righteousness, peace and harmony.  It is the kingdom of heaven on earth.  It commences after the 2nd advent.  During this time Satan is bound in the bottomless pit and cannot deceive the nations until the thousand years is over.  This time is described in Rev. 20:1-6.  Some details of the kingdom are given in Isaiah 11:6-9.  The whole earth will worship the Lord.  See Ps. 66:1-4. During this time, humanity begins to taste life on earth as it was intended to be before the fall of man.

II Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

“…the world was created about 13,000 years ago…we know that the year of creation was 11,013 B.C.”  p. 8, We are Almost There by Harold Camping, Revised edition, August 2010.

6. The End of the World

People that proclaim the end of the world is near are a bit premature.  This earth is going to be around (and inhabited by human beings) for at least another 1007 years.  Bible prophecy declares the coming tribulation, followed by the millennium.  Since those don’t take place until after the rapture, this world will be around for no less than 1007 years from the time of this writing (early August, A.D. 2008).

The millennium will be almost heaven but there is however, one more wrinkle that interrupts this glorious time.  At the end of the thousand years the devil will be loosed from his prison and will go out and deceive many.  He will once again attempt to overthrow Jesus Christ.  He will once again be unsuccessful (Rev.20:7-10).  At this time the earth along with the universe is destroyed (Rev. 20:11; II Pet. 3:10-12).  That will be the end of this world.

7. The Great White Throne Judgment

This is followed by the Great White Throne Judgment which is examined in episode #28 “After This The Judgment”.

8. The New Heavens & the New Earth

After this world ends, a new one begins which will never end.  For what follows the Great White Throne Judgment is the establish-ment of the new heavens and new earth (II Pet. 3:13 & Rev. 21:1).    We will also look at these details in a subsequent lesson.  For an overview of the order of these eschatological events, refer to the chart on the inside back cover of this booklet.

“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”  Revelation 22:20


2 Responses to “#044 The Next Events On God’s Prophetic Calendar”

  1. When it comes to prophecy, there are two basic concepts that those who RIGHTLY handle the Scriptures should always keep in mind: 1) there is more than we don’t know than we do (good men and women of God, with the Holy Spirit in them disagree often on prophetic events and ESPECIALLY the sequence/timing of them because God chose not to lay them all out as clear as much of the rest of Scripturre – therefore, come humbly to these passages and state your position with a sense of reverence and, perhaps, with a measure of humble uncertainty. 2) before you plant your theological flag pole in the ground with 100% certainty, you had better make sure that ALL the relevant passages are reconciled. In this case, the NEXT prophetic event to occur, most people who read Scripture at face value and not through the lens of a particular theological position (in this case, the pre-tribulation rapture position) find that 2 Thess. 2:1-4 creates a real difficulty for this adamant statement that the rapture is the next prophetic event. In fact, a straightforward reading of this passage says quite plainly, exactly the opposite: our gathering to Him doesn’t occur until AFTER some other prophetic events. So rule #2 above seems to be disregarded so a theologically position can be maintained. Not good Bible-101 interpretation – especially with a dogmatic statement about future, prophetic events. My 2 cents.

  2. Dear Peter,

    I will gladly give you my thoughts in regard to reconciling II Thess. 2:1-4 with the subject at hand. The assumption you are making is that “our gathering together unto him” and “the day of Christ” in the passage are synonymous. Verses one and two are one sentence and when Paul speaks of “the day of Christ” he does not say “that” day of Christ linking it to “our gathering together unto him” in the sentence. In the next sentence (II Thess. 2:3) Paul does say “that day” linking it to the one he had just spoken about which was “the day of Christ” in v. 2. Check all the references to “the day of the Lord” (remembering that Christ is the Lord) and note the overwhelming context of judgment and tribulation in both the Old & New Testaments. Why would the Thessalonians be troubled about reports that the rapture is at hand? The rapture is the Christian’s “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13); and Paul had already written to the Thessalonians in regard to the rapture I Thess. 4:13-17 telling them to “comfort one another with these words.” Paul’s concern was that the Thessalonians were hearing reports and worrying that the tribulation was coming upon them. Paul besought them by the rapture about which he had previously instructed them, not to worry. Why? Because the saints are raptured BEFORE the tribulation. Note also I Thess. 5:1-5 and how that day will not overtake the saved as a thief.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Pastor Strobel

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