What is going to happen in the end times?
Please note that Compelling Truth.org takes a pretribulation approach to eschatology. From that perspective, what follows is a description of end-times events.
Prophesies and descriptions of the end times are scattered throughout the Bible—from a Jewish scholar in a foreign court (Daniel), to Jesus in the book of Matthew, to the elderly semi-retired fisherman John (Revelation). Following is a very brief summary of what the Bible declares will happen in the end times. Ultimately, though, the Bible is God-breathed and every word of it is from Him (2 Timothy 3:16), including the prophecies regarding the end times.
The End Times - Before the Tribulation
Rapture—The Rapture is when Jesus returns to the sky and takes up the believers, dead and alive, so they will not have to suffer God's wrath during the Tribulation. They are judged at the Bema Seat of Christ, rewarded for their good works, and given glorified bodies. The marriage supper of the Lamb will also take place. There are no precursors to the Rapture; it could happen at any time.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 3:11-4:5; Revelation 19:7-9
Break—After the Rapture is an indeterminate amount of time while the world prepares for the Tribulation.
The End Times - Tribulation—First 3.5 years
Antichrist—Also known as the beast (the first beast) and Daniel's goat, he will be the ruler of one nation that takes over two more.
1 John 2:18; Revelation 13:1-9; 17:8-14; Daniel 7:8-26
Israel—The Antichrist will broker peace with Israel and the world. At this moment, the Tribulation officially begins.
Daniel 9:24-27; Deuteronomy 30:4-5
144,000—Jewish witnesses will preach the truth about God. Many in the world will come to a saving faith in Jesus.
Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5
Roman Empire—The Antichrist will become the ruler of a restored Roman Empire.
Harlot Church—An apostate church will come to power. It will be politically powerful and extremely wealthy. It will persecute believers. It will be centered in Rome, but ecumenical.
Seal Judgments—These are judgments of God that will be scattered over the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. They include the rise of the Antichrist, war, famine, pestilence, beasts, the persecution of believers, and natural disasters. They are compared to birth pangs in that they are unique, intense, don't stop until completed, grow in intensity, and grow closer together. The seventh seal is silence for half an hour, and then the distribution of the seven trumpet judgments.
The End Times - Tribulation—Midpoint
Temple—The Jewish temple will have been reestablished on the Temple Mount, but there is no indication as to exactly when, just that the temple and the sacrifices have been reestablished by the mid-point of the Tribulation. At the midpoint, the Antichrist will put an end to the sacrifices.
Israel—The treaty will be broken; Israel will be invaded. The people of Israel will gradually turn to God.
Two Prophets—The Bible doesn't indicate who the prophets are exactly. They will preach in the streets of Jerusalem to anyone who will listen.
Antichrist—The Antichrist will be assassinated and resurrected.
Revelation 13:3, 12, 14
Harlot Church—The apostate church will be destroyed by the Antichrist who will then demand worship of himself.
Revelation 13:4-5, 13-15; 17:16-17
Abomination of Desolation—Similar to the blasphemy of Antiochus Epiphanies, the Antichrist will establish an image in the Temple for people to worship.
Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; Revelation 13:14
Satan—Also called the dragon. Michael and the other angels will throw Satan out of heaven. Satan will resolve to cause as much damage on earth as possible.
The End Times - Great Tribulation
Antichrist—The Antichrist will rule the world and be worshiped as god.
False Prophet: Also known as the beast (the second beast). The false prophet will be the religious lackey to the Antichrist. He'll perform miracles, establish the worship of the Antichrist in the Temple, and convince the world that the Antichrist is the Messiah.
Israel—The Jews will be horribly persecuted.
Matthew 24:9-24; Revelation 12:6, 13-17
Seven Trumpets—More judgments will characterize the last three and a half years. One third of the vegetation will be burned, creating a famine; one third of the sea will be turned to blood, killing one third of the sea creatures and destroying one third of the ships; one third of the fresh water will be contaminated; one third of the sun, moon, and stars will be darkened; locusts, possibly demonic, will torture people for five months; a great army, possibly demonic, will destroy one third of mankind. The seventh trumpet is the announcement of Christ's impending reign and the seven bowls.
Seven Bowls—These judgments will be consolidated near the end of the Tribulation. Sores will plague those who follow Antichrist; all the seas will turn to blood, killing all the remaining sea creatures; all the fresh water will turn to blood; the sun will heat up; the earth will be covered with supernatural darkness; the Euphrates will dry up so kings from the east can make their way to Armageddon; a great earthquake will shake the world, joined with 100-pound hailstones.
The End Times - The End
Armageddon—Armageddon is actually a war made up of several battles over a period of time near the end of the Tribulation. The exact chronology is difficult to determine. Apparently nations will revolt against the Antichrist.
Matthew 24:30-31; Revelation 19:11-32
Two Witnesses—The Two Witnesses will be killed and their bodies left on the street. After three and a half days, they will come back to life and be taken to heaven.
Jesus Returns—Israel will cry out for Jesus to return, and He will. The "sign of the Son of Man" will appear and the world's armies will join to fight Christ. Jesus' army will destroy them all.
Matthew 24:30; Revelation 19:11-20
Antichrist and False Prophet—They will be defeated and thrown into the lake of fire alive.
Satan—He will be bound and thrown into the Abyss.
Luke 8:30-31; Revelation 20:1-3
Israel—Believers from around the world will be gathered to their homeland. Israel's promised boundaries will be fulfilled.
Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20; Isaiah 11:11-12:6; Jeremiah 16:14-15; 23:3-8; Ezekiel 11:14-18; 37:1-18
Preparations—There will be a break of 75 days, possibly to clean up the Temple and prepare for Jesus' monarchy.
The End Times - Second Wave of Judgments
Gentiles—The Gentiles who survived the Tribulation will be gathered near Jerusalem and separated into "sheep," who will go on as mortals into the millennial kingdom, and "goats" who will be sent to hell. Believing Gentiles will be identifiable by their support of Israel during the Tribulation, because only believers would have had the motivation to support Israel during such severe persecution.
Joel 3:1-2; Matthew 25:31-46
Jews—The surviving Jews will be gathered from all over the world and similarly separated. Believers will enter the millennial kingdom as mortals.
Matthew 24:31; Ezekiel 20:34-38; Matthew 25:1-30
Old Testament and Tribulation Saints—Believers who died prior to Christ or during the Tribulation will be rewarded and given glorified bodies.
Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 16:27; Revelation 20:4-6
The End Times - The Millennial Kingdom
Duration—The millennial kingdom will be a literal 1000 years.
Purpose—The purpose of the kingdom is to fulfill the promises made to Israel and to establish Jesus' dominion and sovereignty over this Earth.
Genesis 17:7-8, 19; Isaiah 11:1-12
Gentiles—Non-Jews will be divided into nations with Jesus as their benevolent ruler.
Psalm 2:8; Isaiah 2:4; 42:1; Daniel 7:14, 27
Rulers—The disciples who were martyred for their belief in Christ during the Tribulation will be given positions of leadership.
Matthew 19:28; Revelation 5:10; 20:4; 1 Corinthians 6:2; 2 Timothy 2:12; Jeremiah 33:15-21; Amos 9:11
Atmosphere—With Jesus ruling and Satan bound, and with the kingdom inhabited by Christ-followers, the atmosphere will be one of righteousness, peace, and joy.
Revelation 20:1-3; Isaiah 2:4; 9:3-4; 11:4-5, 6-9; 32:1-8; 33:5
Temple—The Temple will be rebuilt to a previously unseen glory. Sacrifices will commence as a memorial to Jesus' sacrifice.
Isaiah 2:2-4; Ezekiel 40:1-46:24
Earth—The curse will be lifted. There will be peace in the animal kingdom, watered deserts, and no more sickness.
Romans 8:19-23; Isaiah 11:6-9; 33:24; 35:1-9; 65:25
People—Those who survived the Tribulation will be mortal, but have long lives. They will marry and have children. Those who have been resurrected will live forever with glorified bodies.
Isaiah 33:24; 35:5-6; 61:1-2; Ezekiel 34:16
The End Times - The Last Battle
Satan—Although all the original mortals in the millennial kingdom will be believers, not all their children will have a saving relationship with Christ. Satan will be released from the abyss and gather a great many people to rebel against God.
War—The ensuing battle will be short-lived. Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and his human army killed.
The End Times - Final Judgments
Satan and Fallen Angels—They will be cast into lake of fire forever.
Revelation 20:10; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6-7
Heavens and Earth—The heavens and earth will be destroyed, obliterating the last vestiges of the curse on creation.
2 Peter 3:10; Matthew 24:35; Revelation 20:11
Great White Throne—All unsaved people will approach the Great White Throne of judgment. The Book of Life and the Book of Works will be opened as evidence of their guilt. Those found guilty will be thrown into Lake of Fire—the second death.
Revelation 20:11-15; John 5:22, 26-29
The End Times - Eternity
New Heaven and Earth—God will create a New Heaven and a New Earth for believers to live in for eternity.
Revelation 21-22; 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
New Jerusalem—1500 miles cubed, the New Jerusalem will be home to the Trinity, the angels, and the saved.
State—There will be no sin and no death. We will have eternal, unhindered fellowship with God.
Revelation 21:4, 27