Crucial Components of the Last Days
Sane and Sensible Perspectives on the Last Days
What an incredible cast of characters fill the events of the Last Days! If Jesus' life could be called “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, what superlative can we reach for to describe the culmination of His Story? For all of our history reveals His Story, the story of the long-awaited, highly-contested return of an all-conquering King and of a people being prepared through the ages to receive Him.
Naturally, there are villains enough to go around, even villains on a cosmic scale. But there are heroes aplenty, too. Some of them may be some of us. Lord, let it be!
List of Articles
The Return of the King With all of the focus you see on the web, or on the bookshelves, you would think that the Last Days are all about the antichrist. They’re not! Jesus is the central figure. He is the soon coming King which all the tumultuous events are preparing the earth to receive. Moreover, He is the One continually at work through His Word and His Spirit to help His believing people endure all that He will be asking of us. Nor is the Rapture primarily about our ascent, as it is us joining Him in His great descent. We’re not leaving! And neither is He…
The Great Tribulation How many times do we Christians complain that the Lord doesn’t tell us enough about what’s coming up in our lives? It’s the unknown that scares us when He leads us beyond our comfort zone. A little extra information would sure help us trust Him better, or so we think. Unless you carry that thought into all the revelation He has given us about the greatest time of trial of them all—the Great Tribulation. We know more about Jesus’ Second Coming, than Israel knew about His first coming. Yet, rather than feel prepared to go through it, many devoutly wish to be whisked away! This time of trial is worth a much closer look.
The Antichrist Here’s the villain of the story. This archenemy of humanity and of the Lord Himself is going to make his way onto the world stage several years before Jesus arrives. And there is nothing we can do to stop him. Trained by the Enemy and likely possessed by him, this cruel deceiver will be deceived. He will be fully convinced he can succeed in destroying the church, enslaving humanity, and seizing the earth as his own dominion. But the Lord will overthrow him “with the breath of his mouth” and destroy him “by the splendor of his coming.” Don’t overrate his power, but don’t underrate his cruelty. Here’s what we can know about him now.
The False Prophet Just as the antichrist is a counterfeit messiah, so the false prophet is a pseudo John the Baptist. His nefarious role will be in preparing the world to receive the lawless one as a man of peace and the answer to the world’s problems. This he will accomplish by creating a one world religion, something that for centuries has seemed utterly impossible. Nevertheless, there are already signs that this merging of the world’s religions is in the making. Even Christians and Jews will be taken in by this deception, so it’s worth understanding in advance all that we can know of the false prophet’s ways.
The Rebirth of the Earth Most of our attention is given to the destruction of the earth during the Last Days. However, we should never lose sight of something wonderful taking place behind the scenes. Not just Adam’s children, but the entire earth bore the weight of Adam’s sin. Throughout our fallen history, the natural order suffered corruption and cataclysmic destruction. In Romans, Paul tells us that “the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” The Birth Pangs and the trauma of Tribulation are for ushering in the “one new man” and a “born again” earth for the dwelling place.
Overcomers and Martyrs We don’t get to choose which we will be, but we do get to choose if want to be in this glorious company. During the Tribulation, things will get so intense in terms of religious persecution and economic pressure that death by sword or famine may challenge us all. Jesus warned us that there will be a great falling away as many believers renounce their faith and seal their fate in a vain attempt to save their lives. Mark this: the faith of everyone will be tested. Be encouraged that those who die faithfully as martyrs will receive the martyr’s crown. Those that survive faithfully will receive the overcomer’s crown. The Lord will prove that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Israel and the Jews It may come as a shock to some Christians who think that Israel has been supplanted by the Church, but the final outcome of the Last Days will be a glorious restoration of God’s first-chosen people. The Bible is filled with prophecies describing this still future destiny for the Jews and Jerusalem. Let us remember that Jesus Himself is a Jewish man and will be so forever. That is by His choice. So, let us watch over our Jewish brethren worldwide with prayer and great care as the Lord works through the terrible events of the Tribulation to break down the dividing walls separating His Jewish Bride from Himself.
The Millennium Reign With all the hoopla about the Rapture, one could easily suppose that rising to “meet the Lord in the air” will be the high point of the Last Days. Not on your life! He is coming down with us, not going up! The whole point and purpose of the End Times is to bring to an end humanity’s reign on earth—the kingdoms of fallen man—so that His own glorious kingdom can come. Jesus will be with us on the earth reigning as King, unhindered by Satan for one thousand years. What a strange and wonderful time that will be. Good thing we have scriptures to help us imagine it.