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Living in the Age of Signs

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11 Questions You've Always Wondered About the End Times

1. Are we living in the Apocalypse?

We are closer to the end than ever before. That's an obvious statement, but many who don't even believe in the Bible believe the world will one day end and that we are getting closer to that time. We don't know exactly when the end will come, but it will be triggered by the Rapture.

I believe the Church, those who have placed their faith in Jesus as Savior, will be raptured to heaven before the world experiences the Apocalypse. Seven years after the Rapture, Jesus will return to end the world as we know it.

Even now signs of the End Times are evident—signs that will only deepen and recur more frequently as the end draws closer. Jesus describes these signs in Matthew 24.

The Sign of Deception

Many people will claim to be the Savior of our troubled world. People will search for leaders to deliver them, and they will seek mystics and religious leaders who claim to have deeper knowledge. Ignorant of truth, they will be easily deceived. Jesus is the only salvation for this world, and He warns us not to be fooled by such counterfeits.

The Sign of Disputes Among Nations

Wars and dissension among people groups will rise. There will be constant talk of conflicts, border skirmishes, race wars, and national battles.

The Sign of Devastation

There will be more and more famine, "earthquakes in various places," and pestilence, the rise of disease (Matthew 24:7).

The Sign of Deliverance Into the Tribulation

Just before Jesus' Second Coming, there will be an explosion of antagonism toward God's people. Christians will be persecuted. Many will pay a high price for proclaiming Jesus' name.

Many of these signs are taking place today. In verse 36, Jesus explains that no one except the Father knows the time or day of the Rapture, but He gives us signs to watch for. As the Rapture approaches, we can expect these signs to grow exponentially.

2. Who or what are the four horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Numerous movies and TV shows have dealt with apocalyptic circumstances, and many of us have heard of the four horsemen. Hollywood uses this symbolism for its own purposes, but the true meaning of the four horsemen can be found in the Bible.

Revelation 6:1–8 describes Jesus opening the first four seals of judgment at the beginning of the Tribulation. Each of these seals releases one of the horsemen who usher in various judgments on the earth.

White Horse

"And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer" (Revelation 6:2).

The rider on the white horse is the Antichrist. He is a representative of Satan who will unite the world under the guise of peace but will later wage war against God's people. His white horse is a forgery of Jesus' Second Coming (19:11–16). Satan's purpose always has been, and always will be, to counterfeit the work of Christ.

Red Horse

"Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword" (Revelation 6:4).

The fiery red horseman represents mortal combat between nations, regions, and even close relations. He ushers in war, murder, and bloodshed.

Black Horse

"I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine' " (Revelation 6:5–6).

Black is often associated with famine in the Bible. The standard daily wage for ancient laborers was a denarius. In the early days of the Tribulation period, food will be in short supply. Common people will have to work all day just to survive, yet the luxuries of the wealthy ("oil and wine") will remain untouched.

Pale Horse

"So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth" (Revelation 6:8).

Death is the pale rider with Hades (or hell) following behind. They will kill with the sword, hunger, diseases, and wild beasts—the four judgments prophesied in Ezekiel 14:21.

3. What does 666 mean?

During the Tribulation, every living person will be required to bear the mark of the Beast—the number 666.

According to Revelation 13, the Beast from the earth (the False Prophet) will introduce the mark: "He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Revelation 13:16–17).

The False Prophet will be the Antichrist's right–hand man. He will introduce the mark to bolster the Antichrist's one–world rule.

Taking the mark will be the only way to function in society. Those who refuse the mark will be forced to go bankrupt or starve.

Why 666?

Revelation 13:18 tells us it is the number of man. We see this affirmed throughout Scripture. In Genesis, man was created on the sixth day. In the Old Testament Law, men were called to work six out of every seven days. In Israel, a Hebrew could only be held as a slave for a maximum of six years. After six consecutive years of sowing a field, it was required to lie fallow.

The Greek word used in this passage is charagma. In antiquity, it was associated with the Roman emperor. It often contained the emperor's name, his image, and the year of his reign. The charagma was necessary for buying and selling and was required to be affixed to documents to attest to their validity.

In man's last attempt at ruling the world, the number 666 will represent the apex of human ingenuity and competence.

4. What is the Battle of Armageddon?

The Battle of Armageddon marks the triumphant ending of the Tribulation period. It is the final battle between the forces of good and evil, with Jesus as the victor.

Six major powers are involved in the final campaign: the revived Roman Empire, the northern confederation (Russia and her allies), the kings of the East (Asia), the kings of the South (Africa), the Lord and His armies, and the nation of Israel.

Israel will be at the center of the conflict. When the nations see the Lord's armies coming (the angels and believers who were raptured into heaven), they will forget their squabbles and band together to fight against the Lord.

Of course, they will be powerless against the Lord Jesus when He appears in all His power and majesty as the King of the universe. Revelation 19 describes His return: "His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns.… Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.… He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (19:12–16).

He will slay nations with the sword as His armies stand together watching. The battle will be over before it begins. In one dramatic moment, He will throw the Antichrist and the False Prophet into the lake of fire at the conclusion of the Battle of Armageddon.

According to Revelation 14:20, the bloodshed resulting from Armageddon will spread over a 200–mile area (approximately the size of Israel) and reach a depth of four feet (the height of a horse's bridle). "All the birds" will be "filled" with the flesh of the battlefield (Revelation 19:21) and it will take seven months to bury the dead and seven years to rid the earth of all the weapons which were gathered by the nations (Ezekiel 39:8–16).

The Battle of Armageddon will not be much of a battle. Evil will make its final stand, but good will win. Jesus will conquer without sustaining any losses. The nations and all powers of evil will be no opposition for His strength. The bloody battlefields will be all that remains of those who rejected Him.

5. What happens at the Great White Throne Judgment?

As Jesus sits on His great white throne, every unsaved person—the spiritually "dead" who have rejected Him—will stand before Him. Having been summoned from the grave and from the sea, each person will accept their final judgment. Jesus will read records of each one's life. Scripture tells us that every person's words, actions, and thoughts, no matter how secret or insignificant they appear in the moment, will be exposed and brought to account.

Those who placed their trust in Jesus and accepted Him as Savior will not be present. Cleansed by the righteousness of Jesus, they already will be justified before God.

People "small and great" will be represented (Revelation 20:11–15). Many people who did seemingly good things on earth and were admired by their peers will be there—even many who held offices in the church and were thought to be Christians. Matthew 7:22–23 says, "Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' "

As each one stands trial, the only basis for judgment will be whether his name is in the Book of Life. No one judged on that day will be in the Book of Life, so each will be cast into the lake of fire. There will be no negotiation or second chances. The judgment is final, and the punishment—hell—is forever.

Is your name written in the Book of Life? Have you placed your trust in Jesus and accepted the eternal salvation He offers to you? If you haven't, make the decision today!

6. Is the Antichrist alive today?

The Antichrist could be alive today. There are no prophecies to be fulfilled or prerequisites to be met before his lifetime. However, it is impossible for us to know because he hasn't been revealed to the world. The Bible says that the Antichrist will not be revealed until after the Rapture, when the Holy Spirit is no longer restraining the work of evil on earth (2 Thessalonians 2:1–12). This individual will be revealed in his adulthood, ready and prepared to take leadership. Since the Rapture could happen at any time, the Antichrist might already be walking the earth.

While we can't be certain of his timing, we can be certain of his nature: He will be the incarnation of Satan, the great deceiver. He will present himself not only against Christ but instead of Christ. Second Thessalonians 2:4 describes him as one "who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." He will be the master counterfeiter.

Daniel 7 says the Antichrist will have "a mouth speaking pompous words" (verse 8). "He shall speak pompous words against the Most High" (verse 25). "And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies" (Revelation 13:5). The Antichrist will be a charismatic leader who will sway the masses with his speaking ability. Noted for his wonderful eloquence, this man will be able to capture the attention and admiration of the world. His ability as an orator will enable him to unite the world in one, all powerful government.

Through it all, God will remain in control. Because of mankind's stubborn refusal to accept His truth, God will cause people to believe the lies of the Antichrist, "that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thessalonians 2:12). Revelation 13:7 says that "it was granted to [the Antichrist] to make war with the saints and to overcome them." The Antichrist will come in great power, but only in the power that God allows him. And he will be revealed according to God's plan, after believers are taken into heaven at the Rapture.

7. Will everyone hear the Gospel before Jesus returns?

Now, this can be a tricky question. Yes, everyone will have the chance to hear the Gospel before Jesus returns to earth in the Second Coming, but there is no biblical evidence that everyone will hear it before the Rapture of the Church occurs. When Matthew 24:14 says the "gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world" before the end comes, it is referring to the Gospel being preached during the Tribulation period—which answers another frequently asked question…

8. Is there a second chance at salvation after the Rapture?

Yes, there will be a multitude of people living during the Tribulation who choose to believe in Jesus and are saved. Most of these new believers will be martyred for their faith during the Antichrist's evil reign. Revelation 7:9–14 describes these new believers assembling in heaven after the Rapture:

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" … Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?" And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

How will these people discover the truth of the Gospel after the Rapture?

Revelation 7:4 provides an important key: God will choose and seal 144,000 Israelites, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, before Christ sends judgment. They will be given the power and protection of the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel during this time. They will be fearless because they will have the promise of God's protection—no one will be able to harm them. When their work is complete, they will be taken to heaven.

Revelation also mentions two people who will be empowered to be God's witnesses for nearly three–and–a–half years during the Tribulation (Revelation 11:3). Then, after the 144,000 are taken into heaven, an angel will proclaim the Gospel "to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water' " (Revelation 14:6–7). This bold preaching of both angels and men testifies to the strength of God's character, His grace and justice. While His judgment is being poured out on the earth, His message of mercy will continue to be proclaimed.

During the Tribulation, multitudes will be saved through the Gospel, but don't count on second chances. If you haven't already, surrender your life to Jesus and discover the abundant life He has for you today and for eternity.

9. Is there a difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming?

This is one of the biggest misunderstandings about prophecy. The Rapture and the Second Coming are often confused, but they are two distinct events on God's prophetic timeline.

First, the Rapture will occur when Christ returns to take every Christian from every era to heaven with Him. Paul wrote about the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

The Rapture is God's protection of His saints from the Tribulation—the seven years of judgment that will be poured out on earth after His children ascend to heaven. There are some who argue the Tribulation will begin before the Rapture. However, the Bible says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). I believe this means the Church will not experience the judgment God has planned for that time.

After seven years, Jesus will return for His Second Coming. This time He will appear not as a humble child but as the powerful and glorious King of the universe, surrounded by all His saints. He will gain victory at Armageddon and establish His kingdom on earth.

At the Rapture, Jesus comes for His saints. At the Second Coming, He comes with His saints.

At the Rapture, Jesus doesn't come all the way to earth. At the Second Coming, His feet touch down on the Mount of Olives and He will reign on earth.

At the Rapture, Jesus comes with a blessing for His saints. At the Second Coming, He brings judgment for those who have rejected Him.

The Rapture can happen at any moment, but we know the Second Coming happens seven years later.

10. Will believers today be on earth for the Millennial Kingdom?

Not only will believers return to earth for the Millennial Kingdom—they also will rule with Jesus!

After the Tribulation, raptured believers will join the angels in Jesus' armies and return to earth with Him: "The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean" (Revelation 19:14, NIV). Jesus will gain victory at Armageddon, and believers will be given authority to reign with Him for a thousand years. Several passages throughout Scripture point to the believers' role in the kingdom:

Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him (Jude 14–15).

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (1 Corinthians 6:2)

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years (Revelation 20:4–6).

Believers today are rulers in the making. God is preparing us not only for heaven but also for administering peace during the Millennium. In this future era, God will establish the first truly righteous leadership we can trust. He will never make mistakes or wrong decisions. He will be the righteous King.

11. Will God destroy the earth?

Pop culture leads us to believe the world will one day be destroyed in a giant apocalyptic explosion, and the earth will be completely destroyed. But God is not going to destroy the earth, He is going to purify it.

Second Peter 3:10 says, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up."

This passage could certainly lead us to believe the apocalyptic explosion theory. But when we study the original Greek, the word translated "burned up" more accurately conveys the idea of being uncovered or laid open. God is not going to burn the earth down to a heap of ashes, He is going to refine every element and atom all the way down to the earth's core. He's going to completely renovate the earth to a quality we haven't experienced. The beauty we enjoy in creation today is barely a taste of the vibrancy we will experience when God is finished purifying the world.

Again, in Revelation 21:1 it says, "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away."

God will not create a new earth like He did in Genesis. He will renovate His "very good" creation by removing all evidence of sin, decay, and disease. The earth will not be new in quantity but in quality—perfectly refurbished to its core.

Then the New Jerusalem—the city of heaven with streets of gold and pearly gates—will come out of the clouds, and all believers will reside there for eternity with God.

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Revelation 21:2–4

Further Your Study of Bible Prophecy With Dr. Jeremiah's Study Set

The Book of Signs

31 Undeniable Prophecies of the Apocalypse

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