Jerusalem: City of God
It is true that genuine Bible scholars vary as to the specific timing of end time events, but all agree that Jesus will return as promised by Jesus himself.12 Furthermore, as Jesus’ first coming—from his birth to his crucifixion and return to Heaven—covered a period of thirty-three years, so his second coming will cover a period of seven years.
First, will be the rapture—the catching up into heaven—of every believer who has accepted Jesus Christ as his or her Savior. As God’s Word states, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”13
Immediately, in heaven there will be a time of great celebration as we behold the Savior face to face, and meet up with Christian loved ones and friends, knowing that we will all be together forever. We can’t even begin to imagine what this glorious time will be like—or what it will be like for those not ready for Christ’s return and are left behind!
Armageddon .... will be the climax of world
history as we know it.... After which will be
the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The Great Tribulation
Immediately following the rapture on earth will be the start of the seven-year Great Tribulation when the Antichrist will appear. He will become the ruler of the revived Roman Empire (probably the EU), and cause devastation—the like of which the world has never before seen. The Antichrist will be the ruler of the coming one-world government, the one-world economy, and a one-world religion which will be worship of himself. [For more information see, “The Antichrist Is Coming”.]
At the end of the Great Tribulation the nations of the world will come against Israel seeking to destroy her. This will be the greatest battle the world has ever seen—the Battle of Armageddon. This will be centered in the Valley of Megiddo in Israel.14 At this point Jesus Christ will return to earth (with his true followers) via the Mount of Olives and totally destroy the Antichrist and all enemies of Israel. This will be the climax of world history as we know it. Jesus Christ, with his followers, will then reign on earth for a thousand years15 prior to the creation of the new earth and the new heaven.
The Significance of the Third Temple
The building of the third temple is profoundly significant because it has to be in place for the Antichrist who, half-way through the tribulation, will enter it and desecrate it by setting himself up as God in it.16 The fact that right now the Jews are planning on building the new temple—and making all the necessary preparations for worshipping in it—is a profound reminder and a serious warning for all mankind that the entrance of the Antichrist could be just around the corner.
While only God knows the day and hour of
Christ’s return, there is no major prophecy
that has to be fulfilled to precede the rapture
—the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The exciting news is that, according to my understanding of and belief in Biblical prophecy, the second coming of Jesus Christ for the rapture—the catching up of all true Christians into heaven—will precede the entrance of the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. And while only God knows the day and hour of Christ’s return, there is no major prophecy that has to be fulfilled to precede the rapture—the second coming of Jesus Christ—to catch up and take all his true followers to be with him forever for all eternity.
The critical issue is not so much the exact timing of these events, but are you ready? If Jesus Christ should return today—and he could—would you be “caught up to meet him in the air,” or would you be left behind? Whatever you do, make absolutely sure you are ready to go with Jesus.
1. Genesis 3:15 and 49:10. 2. 2 Samuel 7:12-16. 3. Micah 5:2. 4. Isaiah 7:14. 5. Daniel 9:25, 26. 6. Psalm 22:16 and Isaiah 53. 7. Leviticus 26:32-33. 8. Leviticus 26:44. 9. Ezekiel 36:24. 10. Amos 9:14 (NLT). 11. Isaiah 35:1. 12. John 14:1-3 (NIV). 13. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NIV). 14. See Revelation 16:16. 15. Revelation 20:6. 16. 2 Thessalonians 2:4.
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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