Since we have referenced the primary focus of biblical scripture is Jesus Christ, please note that fundamentally the Old Testament deals with Israel’s tribal and ethnic history as nomads, tribes, and as a nation. All Jewish history is tied to and focused on their relationship with God as His ‘chosen’ people. Chosen for and through whom Jesus would come into the world as God incarnate. Additionally, the New Testament explores the “church age” through which Jesus and His first century disciples delivered and shared with a non-Jewish world the divinity and role of Jesus as the savior and redeemer of humanity.
The book of ‘Revelation’ speaks directly of End Times and Last Days with a focus on God’s reassertion of His spiritual relationship first with gentiles and then to those with messianic Jewish and Zionist world views. His prophetic efforts of spiritual redemption are followed by a reconciliation to Himself as a Jewish nation through a renewed acknowledgment that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, their Messiah.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when studying the book of Revelation. There is often a misconception that End Times events as presented are sequential. I don’t believe they are. By my readings, the prophesied events in the book of Revelation appear to not be in chronological order. We don’t know in what order John received his revelatory visions or, in what order they were written. We also don’t know specifically by what sequence they were catalogued.
As with other important and pertinent aspects of a relationship with God, prophecy serves both as a warning and an opportunity for us individually and collectively to “get right with God, right now” or “become prepared for God.”
The book of Revelation can be viewed in seven general sections:
The existential purpose of prophecy is key in realizing the Word of God is given as a foretelling of future events so readers or hearers are forewarned. Knowledge of impending events gives reassurance needed to endure the trauma and drama of their actualization. At the same time, preparation for spiritual reconciliation emboldens one’s strength should they become a victim of individual tragic consequences. The End Times, Last Days and tribulation years will be illuminated by increasing issues, struggles, doubts, and fears. All purposed and designed to alert, warn, and instruct those interested as to what a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ (or not) portends here and hereafter.
Many may have heard of the “tribulation” but many more may not actually know what the tribulation is, or what it portends for those living in or through it. The purpose of the tribulation is three-fold: First, it’s an opportunity for ‘christians’ who claim to be believers and adherents of Christ to reaffirm their commitment to and in Him as savior. Next, it’s a ‘last chance’ opportunity for ‘non-believers’ (in Christ) to come to know, trust, and have faith that He is who He said He was (savior, redeemer, spiritual reconciler), and whom others for two thousand years have testified that He is: God incarnate; the ‘Son of God’. Third, for Jews alive today and in the Last Days to acknowledge and declare Jesus is their Messiah.
The seven year ‘Tribulation’ period is divided into two separate yet interlinked three and one-half (3 ½) year periods (each described alternately as 42 months and/or 1260 days). The first three and one-half years is both a time of peace and security (particularly for the state of Israel), as well as a period of increasing worldwide caustic environmental events and warnings combined with spiritual revival.
This first (3 ½ year) tribulation period is often called ‘The Wrath of Jesus Christ’ while the second period years have been designated ‘The Wrath of God’. This delineation can be misleading, as Jesus Christ is both ‘Son’ of God (as well as ‘Son of Man’), and God Himself. Therefore, these two separate time identifying labels of ‘Wrath’ can be viewed more as descriptive degrees of intensity within the span of these seven (tribulation) years.
During the Tribulation years the consequences of God’s anger against sin and evil in the world is meted out via ‘Trumpet’ blasts from heaven and the outpouring of ‘Bowl’ contents (‘Vials’ in some writings). Descriptions of the ‘Trumpets and Bowls’ are divided between two different groups of angels as the disseminators of the Trumpet and Bowl consequences. The trumpet blasts of the first group announce the coming ‘plagues’ of the second group.
With a linear concept of time and space, John’s revelatory visions as recorded are easy to identify in their presentation as sequential. Our linear modality sequencing models make for easier understanding, however this can be misleading. Let me give you an example.
With the initial Trumpet blast (by/from the angel with the first Trumpet), the plague disseminated by the fourth angel is poured upon the earth. Although the plague (Bowl/Vial) descriptions by John are read in a given order, it doesn’t mean their pouring out upon the earth is necessarily sequential. Think of it like this. Two sets of angels (1-7 each) are lined up in front of the Throne of God. The first seven are holding Trumpets, while the second seven are holding Bowls (of ‘wrath’/plagues). The first Trumpet angel steps forward and blows his trumpet, yet it is the fourth angel who steps forward to pour out his bowl.
The End Times, Last Days tribulation years will be illuminated by increasing issues, struggles, doubts and fears. All purposed and designed to alert, warn, and instruct those interested as to what a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ (or not) portends here and hereafter. The primary purpose of the first three and one-half year time frame is to serve as a warning and announcement of God’s presence and intervention into world affairs.
These include the Ezekiel War (Ezekiel 36-39), the signing of a peace treaty between Israel and her invading enemies that end this war (Dan 9:2), the strengthened prosperity of Israel with the end of this conflict (Ez 39:9), appearance of the Two Witnesses (Moses and Elijah) in Jerusalem (Rev 11:1-6), completion of the third Temple and reestablishment of sacrificial worship services (2Thes 2:4, Mt 24:15, Dan 7). The first 3 ½ years of the tribulation period is when the first four Trumpet blasts are heard along with the fourth, second, third, and fifth bowl (plague) outpourings.
As stated, these years will be marked by declared ‘peace and security/peace and safety’ with a sense of joyous celebration around the world. At the same time however, destruction by climate change ‘storms on steroids’ called down from heaven and announced by the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem will bring destruction and death. For this reason, the Two Witnesses will be globally ridiculed, demeaned and blamed for the many lives lost worldwide climate change ‘anomalies.’
Join me next time in Part 3 for ‘Do or Die’ when we’ll look at the final Tribulation years.
One of the intriguing aspects of “End Times, Last Days” prophecies which highlight ‘end of days’ events is how much new information or antecedent perspective can be discovered with each re-reading or consecutive ‘deep dive’ study of materials previously examined.
If you’ve had an opportunity to read any of my End Times series’, you may have noticed a ‘tweaking’ of contextual material that has occurred within subsequent presentations. Through additional study I have learned, or more precisely, better understood connections between scriptural texts I missed, or misinterpreted for prior postings.
Once again, I find myself at a new level of discernment between the ‘connect-the-dot’ rubrics of prophetic events. One of the rewards of continued scriptural study is realizing previously missed relationships. With each ‘neo’ enlightenment moment clarity surrounding the End Times becomes more astutely obvious.
Even with prior series completed additional research offers up anew, “veiled in plain view” prophecy details. Think of it as taking steps slowly, yet with more confidence and balance the pace quickens. Perhaps this is one reason in His wisdom God made End Times and Last Days revelations purposely convoluted. His parsings allow us to dig deeper while seeking His intent. Searching to know more about His planned actions we notice information that may have been overlooked or misconstrued.
God’s desire is to ensure that all who choose to become His children are exposed to His plan of ridding evil from this world. In doing so He shows how He will establish a post-apocalyptic millennial (1000 year) reign for and by His incarnate Word, Jesus Christ. Moreover, He wants His children to understand why events associated with this cleansing and abolishing of evil are necessary as part of the world’s inhabitants’ spiritual reconciliation and redemption.
Before going further in this article I’d like to suggest four videos for your edification available on YouTube. They’re brief yet informative and will answer questions for many who are seeking and searching.
“Seven Prophecies That Must Be Fulfilled Before Jesus Christ’s Return”
(Prophecies that will come to pass during the End Times).
“Five Amazing Hidden Messages in the Bible”
(How unique is the Bible? Like no other book!).
“Believe in God in Five Minutes (Scientific Proof)"
(Is God real and is there proof?)
“The Horrific State of the American Empire”
(What’s ahead for America?)
Let’s continue our journey together as students of prophecy. End Times prophecies are often difficult. Here are a few reasons why:
Prophesies are found in different books, written by separate authors, and complied in a variety of different verses.
Prophesies are not presented chronologically.
Prophesies use different symbols, labels, or names to represent the same character or event. It often becomes necessary to ‘read between-the-lines’ to draw and see related inferences. There is also extensive cross-referencing about End Times events. These are but a few.
Every generation since the death of Christ has thought or imagined they might be living in the End times. Every generation has expected Christ’s return. Every generation has been told of the terror, hell, and damnation that can be expected as results of the End Times. Even today most (media) representations of the End Times focus exclusively on three events: the Rapture, the Antichrist, and Armageddon.
The Bible explains there are five basic time frames in and around the End Times.
1. Lead up events to the seven-year tribulation (described by the “Seals”)
2. The actual seven-year tribulation events (described by the “Trumpets” and “Bowls” [or “Vials” in some texts])
3. The post tribulation events (described by Christ’s “Second Coming” and “Armageddon”)
4. The millennial (1000 year) kingdom reign of Jesus Christ
5. The eternal kingdom (‘New Eden’)
Within Each ‘time frame’ are found and experienced multiple events and consequences.
To a certain degree ‘End Times and Last Days’ are sometimes thought to be or can be represented as synonymous, yet at the same time different. For some End Times are thought to begin with the opening of the ‘Seals’ (a binding of the scroll held by the Lamb [in heaven]). Depending on one’s perspective the breaking of these seals can start with the resurrection of Christ after his death on the cross at Calvary (in 33 CE) or just before the blowing of the trumpets. Others believe the End Times started with the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel in May 1948.
Others believe the End Times will start with the signing of a peace treaty between Israel and her enemies, (ending the Ezekiel War). Or with the first blast of the seven trumpets. Or with the initiation of the seven-year tribulation. Irrespective of when the End Times start(ed) you can be assured we are progressing (day-by-day) closer to their culminating presence as prophecies unfold more clearly. Regardless of where one lands in this debate, know this, the End Times as foretold will happen!
One of the most important aspects of the bible often missed by readers is that the entirety of the bible is about Jesus Christ. That’s right. Both the Old Testament and New Testament scriptures pertain to the person, roles, commission, teachings, purpose, and presence of God incarnate in human form. In and through the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth (the Christ/Messiah).
Jesus Himself spoke of and referenced the ‘End Times and Last Days’ in several instances and settings. His most complete written record appears in the book of Matthew, chapter 24 as well as through the visions shown to John in the book of Revelation. If the Word of God is true and if Jesus is the Word of God, then what Jesus had to say to His listeners then and now are true. Therefore, we should take heed and notice.
Join me next time for Part 2: ‘Preparations’.
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