Step by Step Through the Book of Revelation/Program 6

By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung; ©2008
Step by Step Through the Book of Revelation. – Question and Answer Bonus Material




John Ankerberg: Welcome to our program, we’re talking about the fabulous book of Revelation. And Dr. Jimmy DeYoung has been taking us through a step-by-step view of the book of Revelation, and we’re going to review that today. But then we’re going to get to some of your questions that you want to know about the information that he’s been telling you. And so, Jimmy, let’s start us off. You’ve got these three statues out here, you’ve got a timeline that the book of Revelation gives to us. And I think that you are helping people understand in a much easier way by giving us this timeline right in front of us, so proceed.
Jimmy DeYoung: John, chapter 1 of the book of Revelation presents the person and power of Jesus Christ. In that chapter, we see Jesus Christ, with His white hair; His eyes as flames of fire; His voice as the sound of many waters; His feet as if fine brass had been burned in a furnace. We see His face as the sun shineth in its very strength. He has seven stars in His hand, and He’s walking among seven golden candlesticks. Of course, the stars are the angels to the seven churches, and the seven golden candlesticks, the seven churches. That’s chapter 1. The power of Christ, of course, is verse 18: “I am He that was alive and dead, and I now stand before you alive.”
Then we see in chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation the letters to the seven churches. There were seven church letters given to the angels of the churches and passing along a special message from Jesus Christ, the last word of Christ to the church, in those seven letters to the seven churches, that were alive in 95 AD in Asia Minor. They have been periods of church history, and they are churches, not necessarily the church at Ephesus or Thyatira or Sardis, or Laodicea, but describing churches that are alive today.
Chapter 4, we see the first of the three main events of the book of Revelation, the rapture of the church, chapter 4, verse 1. John hears, as it were, a voice of a trumpet calling him to come up and be up with him in the heavenlies. Chapter 5, a great choir of angels, singing “Worthy is the Lamb,” chapter 5, verse 12 to be exact. Chapter 6, the beginning of three sets of seven judgments. There are seven seal judgments, seven trumpet judgments, seven vial judgments: 21 judgments that get progressively worse as we go through the seven year tribulation period.
In the first three and a half years, you have the backdrop of the false church; that’s Revelation 17. And then the first seal is broken, and that is the Antichrist. He comes on a white horse, a crown on his head, a bow in his hand; no arrows, that means he establishes peace at the beginning of this seven year tribulation period. In fact, when he confirms that peace, as talked about in Daniel 9:27, that actually starts the clock ticking on the seven year tribulation period. The second seal would be the release of a man on a red horse. That would be an alignment of the nations: we’re talking about Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Egypt, Turkey. We’re talking about Saudi Arabia, Lebanon. We’re talking about these nations that will align themselves against the Jewish state of Israel. And we can see that happening even as we are doing this broadcast.
Ankerberg: And how do you know those specific nations that you just mentioned are the ones?
DeYoung: Because the Bible tells us in specific locations. Those two nations that I talked about that begin to attack Israel, Syria and Egypt, that’s Daniel 11:40-45; many of the other nations in Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 83. These chapters in God’s word lay out the scenario and the names of the nations that will come against Israel in the last days.
You have the rest of the seal judgments that are released upon the earth, and that would include one fourth of the earth being killed, starvation running rampant, earthquakes in diverse places, a martyrdom of believers—not Christians, because they go at the rapture, but those who turn to Jesus Christ in the tribulation period. How will they turn to Christ? There will be two witnesses that will preach. This is chapter 11, verse 3 of Revelation through chapter 11, verse 13. These two witnesses will preach. I believe it’s Elijah and Enoch, who have never died, by the way; they were translated to the heavenlies, they will come back; and as Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed unto man, once to die, and after this, the judgment.” These two men will die, they’ll lay in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days, at which time they miraculously will be raised from the dead and enter the heavenlies.
At the midway point of that tribulation period, there’ll be a battle in the heavenlies. The commander-in-chief of the good angels, the archangel Michael, will lead his army against the army of evil angels, led by the commander-in-chief, Satan himself. They will be cast upon the earth. There they will start to persecute the Jew, to wipe out the Jews. And if they can do that, God’s plan fails: His promise to the Jews will not be able to be fulfilled. That, of course, is not going to happen, but they will intensify their persecution.
In the last three and a half years, you’ll have the backdrop of what’s going on in Babylon. You see, after this false church is destroyed, Antichrist leaves Rome, Italy, where the false church will be, he goes to Jerusalem, walks into a temple, sits down, claims to be God and then he leaves Jerusalem. The false prophet, one of the members of the satanic trinity, will put up a statue of the Antichrist. Through signs, wonders and miracles, he’ll make it speak and move. Meanwhile, the Antichrist goes to the literal city of Babylon, which is on the shores of the Euphrates River, some 58 miles out of downtown Baghdad, Iraq. That’s where Babylon was 4500 years ago when Nimrod established that one-world economic, political, governmental system, a prototype for what would be happening in the last days.
In the last three and a half years of the tribulation period, you have the seven trumpet judgments and the seven vial judgments in front of this backdrop of what is happening in Babylon. And during those seven trumpet judgments, you will see ecological judgment upon the earth. One third of the ocean will turn to blood; one third of the fish in the seas, will be destroyed; one third of the ships on the waves of the sea will be devastated as well. The grass will burn up, the trees will burn up. There’ll be ecological judgment upon the face of the earth during those periods of those trumpet judgments. The fifth one will be an invasion from outer space, as those demons released out of the bottomless pit take on the form, the Bible says of a locust, but it’s a different locust, than I’ve ever seen: face of a man; hair of a woman; teeth of a lion; breastplate like a horse running to battle; a scorpion’s tail. And they come and they will kill one third of the earth’s population. With the one fourth killed in the fourth seal judgment and then in this in sixth trumpet judgment, one third in addition to that killed, that’s half the earth’s population.
We move then into the last of the judgments, the last seven judgments, the seven vial judgments, which will take place very quickly. The rest of the oceans turn to blood, all the fish in the seas die, the suns gets so hot that it scorches man so that he gnaws his tongue in pain. But he never turns to Christ, he blasphemes God. In chapter 16 and verse 12, we see the river Euphrates dry up. That’s the border between the Middle East and the Far East, making way for the kings of the East to come in. We’re talking about China and India, which makes up almost half of the population of the world, even today. Well, that will be followed by the destruction of Babylon, literal Babylon. That will be the headquarters for an international, economic, political, governmental system, headed up by Antichrist, literal Babylon. Babylon has never been destroyed. Babylon the empire was destroyed; Babylon the city has never been destroyed. Isaiah 13 and 14, Jeremiah 50 and 51, the book of Revelation, chapter 18 verses 10, 17 and 19, says in one hour that great city, the city of Babylon, that international, economic, political, governmental headquarters will be wiped out.
And then Jesus Christ will step back on the earth. Zechariah 14:4 says Jesus Christ comes back to the Mount of Olives in the city of Jerusalem. At that time, all the armies of the world, Zechariah 14:2, will have gathered at Jerusalem. Revelation 16:13-60 says that the satanic trinity—Satan, Antichrist and the false prophet—will use signs, wonders and miracles to gather all the armies of the world into Jerusalem, basically for the beginning of the campaign of Armageddon, not necessarily the battle, but the campaign.
Jesus Christ will build His temple. Ezekiel 40-46, talks about the Messiah’s temple that will stand on the Temple Mount during the millennial kingdom. Meanwhile, all the armies of the world will go to the Jezreel Valley, the valley of the mountains, up there where all the mountains surround this valley. Napoleon said that the Jezreel Valley is the most strategic battlefield in all the world. Well, they’ll gather there, Jesus Christ will go up, they will die. He will walk down a valley of blood, which is spoken of in Revelation 14:19-20, and He will go all the way to Petra. Revelation 12:6 says God has prepared a place to protect the Jewish people in the last three and a half years. I believe that is Petra. And He will go there, gather the Jews in, bring them across the Jordan Valley, up the backside of the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley on to the Temple Mount, into the Temple itself. And then establish His kingdom, a thousand year millennial kingdom.
Now the Antichrist and the false prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire at the end of the battle of Armageddon. Jesus Christ will delegate an angel to take Satan, bind him and cast him into the bottomless pit for a thousand year period of time. That’s where Satan will be during this thousand year millennial kingdom when Jesus Christ will rule and reign on the earth. At the end of that thousand years, Satan will be loosed for a season to ferret out all of those who were professors and not true possessors of Jesus Christ, that came to life during the millennial kingdom.
They will go one more time to try to surround the city of Jerusalem and to overcome Jesus Christ. At that time God will snatch Satan, take him and throw him into the lake of fire, where the Antichrist and false prophet are. Then a very sad time, the time of the Great White Throne Judgment, when Jesus Christ will be the judge. He will sentence all of those who have rejected Him into the lake of fire, which is the second death. And after that, eternity future: new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem.
Ankerberg: Alright. One of the first questions people ask, what about children that are not believers, but they are not past the age of accountability, so the fact is, what happens to them at the rapture?
DeYoung: We do not know for sure. There’s no text in God’s word that gives us a definite answer. Many mothers, many grandmothers, ask me that particular question in prophecy Q & A sessions. What I tell them is twofold: number one, King David said, at the death of his young son, “I can go to him, he cannot come to me.” Seemingly, it’s indicating that his little boy went into the heavens and David would be able to go and be with him. So, we have possibly, that assurance, that at the time of the rapture, even in children in the wombs of their mothers, will be taken up. That’s number one. Number two, Matthew 18 says, “Jesus said, Suffer the little children to come unto me.” He loves the little children. He dispatches guardian angels to take care of them. Whatever is going to happen to the little children, Jesus loves them so much, He will protect them. We never have to worry about them.
Ankerberg: Alright. Second question about the rapture, there are some people that have heard the gospel and they might be on their way to accepting the Lord, but they haven’t done it: the rapture comes, Christians are out of here and that person in left. Will they get a second chance in the tribulation time period?
DeYoung: I do not believe that there’s a second chance in the tribulation period for someone who has made three steps: first of all, heard the gospel; secondly, understood the gospel; and thirdly, of their own free will rejected the gospel. Second Thessalonians 2:8-12 says that those who have heard the gospel, understood the gospel, and then rejected the gospel, God shall send them a strong delusion, that they might believe a lie, the lie of Satan, that the Antichrist is telling them who he is and what they need to do to gain salvation. They will not have a second chance. But there will be many people, John, who hear the gospel of the kingdom preached by the two witnesses during the tribulation period, by the 144,000 male virgin Jews, as they spread across the world, and in this seven year period of time, preach to every single person on earth. The only ones that will not have an opportunity to receive Jesus Christ are those, who before the rapture, heard, understood and rejected the gospel.
Ankerberg: Some people say, Jimmy, that the rapture occurs at the middle of the tribulation; some toward the end of the tribulation. Why is it that you believe the Bible is teaching that it precedes the tribulation, that Christians will not be involved in any part of the wrath to come? What’s the scriptural evidence?
DeYoung: The book of Revelation, chapter 3, verse 10. It’s the letter that was written to the children and the people, all of those in church attendance in the church at Philadelphia. And it says this, “I will keep you from that hour of testing,” that hour of temptation, the tribulation period. It didn’t say, “I will take you out of,” it says, “I will keep you from.” That’s one reason. The word church is used 25 times in the book of Revelation. It’s used 19 times prior to chapter 4, which is the rapture, and it’s used six times after chapter 19, verse 11, which is the return of Christ to the earth. It’s used zero times in the 16 chapters describing in minute detail this seven year period of time called the tribulation. John, either God forgot to put us in the tribulation or we’re not supposed to be there. But there’s another reason that we’re not going to be there. The purpose for the tribulation is three-fold: it’s to win Jewish people to Jesus Christ; it’s to bring an end to Gentile world powers; and it’s to bring an end to the satanic trinity, Satan, Antichrist and false prophet. We will not be here for that period of time. He will protect us from the wrath to come. He will take us away before that wrath begins.
Ankerberg: Okay. Talk about what happens to Christians once the rapture happens in heaven. And take me up to the return of Jesus Christ, and then I’ve got a question for you right there.
DeYoung: At the rapture of the church, immediately, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” 1 Corinthians 15 tells us, we will stand before Jesus Christ. And at that point the Judgment Seat of Christ will take place. Second Corinthians 5: 10, Romans 14:10, says that we will all stand, all Christians will stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ, not to determine whether they are saved or lost—you’ll never get to the Judgment Seat of Christ unless you’re saved—it is for the purpose of judging our works, whether they were good, or whether they were no good. The good works would be those gold, silver and precious stones works talked about over in 1 Corinthians 3. And they would be works that we do in His power for His glory. In that same passage in 1 Corinthians 3, there are wood, hay and stubble works; those will be works that Christians do in their own power and for their own glory. They will be burned up. You will suffer loss.
At the Judgment Seat of Christ, you will receive one, or as many as five crowns: 1 Corinthians 9:27 talks about a crown incorruptible for bringing your body under subjection; 1 Thessalonians 2:19 talks about a crown of rejoicing for being a soul-winner; James 1:12 talks about a crown of life that is given to those who yield not to temptation—temptation is not sin, it’s yielding to temptation that becomes the sin: don’t yield to it, you get a crown of life; 1 Peter 5:1-4 talks about a crown of glory, for those of us who are Christians who help other members of the body of Christ to grow; and the apostle Paul said, “I ran the race, I finished the course, I kept the faith. And laid up for me is a crown of righteousness. But not for me only, but for all that eagerly anticipate and love the appearing of Christ. That’s 2 Timothy 4:8. Those crowns, according to Revelation 4:10, will taken to the throne where Jesus is seated, laid at his feet in thanksgiving.
But it also prepares our wedding garment. We will be married to Jesus Christ. After the Judgment Seat of Christ, there will be a marriage ceremony, Revelation 19:7-9 talks about the marriage ceremony, and chapter 19 verses 7 and 8, talks about our garment, which will be our righteous acts, and that will be determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ. And then, of course, Revelation 19:9, talks about this time of joy and celebration in the marriage supper of the Lamb. And that will last, as does that ceremony for a Jewish wedding, it lasts in a Jewish wedding today, seven days. But it will last for seven years in the heavenlies. And then we will mount white horses in chapter 19, verses 11 and 14, and return to the earth with Jesus Christ, after that seven year period of time. That will happen in the heavenlies, while damnation and judgment is taking place on the earth.
Ankerberg: Tell me why John 14, and Jesus talking about the information there, and the Jewish wedding, how that parallels the rapture.
DeYoung: In John 14, Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled.” It was in the upper room, His disciples were, I am sure, having anxiety attacks. He had told them that He was going to have to be crucified. The next afternoon at 3:00 on the day of Passover, He would indeed, be crucified. He said, don’t worry about it. “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house, there are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you.” Then He said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I should go, I shall come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.”
He’s gone back to His Father’s house to prepare a place. Now, in a Jewish wedding, the bride-to-be and the groom-to-be come together with their respective fathers. The fathers say, “Okay, we agree to the marriage. And then the groom-to-be says to his bride-to-be, “Honey, my dad said that I can add an apartment to our home place. That will be a place for us to live. I am going to add to my father’s house. I am going to prepare that apartment. You go prepare your wedding garments. And when I get finished, I will come and get you.” You know, it’s always interesting to me. If it was up to the groom-to-be, he’d go back and put up a lean-to and go back and get that girl.
Ankerberg: I’ll be there in a minute.
DeYoung: But the truth is, his father makes the decision when the apartment is ready. And his father will then say to his son, “Son, the apartment is ready. Go get your bride.” Immediately, he calls his best man. And I’ve seen this happen in the old city of Jerusalem in the orthodox quarter there. And the best man will walk through the streets shouting, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh!” They go over to the bride’s house, and there the marriage ceremony takes place. After that, they consummate the marriage with sexual union. The groom then steps out and says, “The marriage has been consummated, let the party begin.” And for seven days they celebrate. Remember when Jesus went to the wedding at Cana of Galilee. John 2 says on the third day He arrived. I’ve been to one of those seven-day wedding feasts and celebrations. I got there on the fifth day. Unbelievable, they were having a party to celebrate this new marriage.
Well, we’re in that engagement period with Jesus Christ. He’s gone back to His Father’s house. And remember what He said to the disciples, Acts 1: “When are you coming back?” He said, “Only my Father knows. He will tell me when to go get my bride.” And the rapture will take place. The parallel is so beautiful between what Jesus will do with us, His bride, and the Jewish wedding.
Ankerberg: Terrific. Now, the Christians have been at the Judgment Seat of Christ, they’ve been at the marriage, and then the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. And now we get to the time when Jesus Christ returns to earth, after the tribulation events are over. We come with Him. What happens to the Christians? We come with Him, do we stick around? Do we go back and forth, what happens to us during the millennial kingdom?
DeYoung:We are married to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Now, think just a moment logically. If you’re the bride to the king what does that make you? Well, it makes you the queen. So, we will rule and reign with Christ during the millennial kingdom. Not with the hands-on responsibility; that will be given to Jews and Gentiles. But we will be with Jesus Christ. First Thessalonians 4:17 says at the rapture of the church, we never leave His presence. And as His bride, we will rule and reign with Him. You know, the pattern for the kingdom was set up in Genesis 1 when God, having created Adam and Eve, said, “Let them [plural] have dominion.” That dominion is leadership, it’s rule, it’s reigning, it’s the kingdom. And the pattern was, of course, there in the Garden of Eden, that this first kingdom was set up. It was because of sin that they did not continue on. And so the Garden of Eden will be the location where Jesus Christ and His bride, then—husband and wife—will rule and reign for a thousand years during the millennial kingdom. We will be with Christ, reigning with Him during that time.
Ankerberg: Everybody wants to know what happened to the greatest country in world history, the one that is the most powerful, the wealthiest country in the world: America. If America is all of that and we’re going toward end time events, where do you find America, the United States of America, in Bible prophecy?
DeYoung: John, that is the most asked question in Bible prophecy Q&A. The other day I was getting ready to respond and a man in the back of the auditorium said, “Hey, I know.” I said, “Okay, Sir, where?” He said, “Jerusalem.” I said, “Well, how do you get that?” He said, “Very simple: j-e-r-U-S-A-l-e-m.” You know, everybody laughed in the auditorium. I kind of chuckled myself. But, he was basically right. The United States is not mentioned anywhere in prophecy. There’s a reference in Zechariah 14:2, where it says all nations of the world will gather at Jerusalem at the end of the tribulation period before Christ comes back. If indeed, America, after the rapture, is still on this earth and in operation, they will gather with all the nations.
Now, listen, here’s some sanctified speculation, I believe at the rapture of the church, the backbone of this nation disappears. And a nation on the slippery slope to moral decay, educational decay, military decay, economic decay; a nation that kills babies and lets sodomites play in the street, God will have to judge. I believe America will fall from its pedestal of power down to a third, fourth, eighth, ninth, twelfth rate nation. They’ll be a nothing, a non-entity, by the end of the tribulation period.
Ankerberg: Alright. People want to know about the Antichrist. And you raised a lot of things. First of all, a lot of people think the Antichrist is going to be Jewish. Should we look for the Antichrist to come from somebody who is of Jewish background?
DeYoung: No, sir, we should not, because the Antichrist will be a Gentile energized by Satan. When you go to Daniel 7:7, it talks about the ten horns on that fourth Gentile world power. And in verse 24 it says that would be the revived Roman Empire. Out of those ten horns comes a little horn. That’s one of 27 names for the Antichrist. So, he comes out of the Gentile world. When you go to Revelation 13, which is the most detailed passage of scripture on the Antichrist, it talks about and refers back to Daniel 7; it talks about a connection with a leopard, with a bear and with a lion. Those were the images in the vision that Daniel had in chapter 7. That’s talking about the Gentile world. The Antichrist will be a Gentile.
And the next question is, well, why would the Jews accept him as their Messiah. When I talked about 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, where it says those who have rejected the love of the truth that they might be saved, God shall send them a strong delusion, so that they believe the lie. Any Jew, during this seven year period of time that trusts in Jesus Christ, will, of course, not accept the Antichrist as the Messiah, but the true Christ, the true Messiah. Every Jew or every Gentile that rejects Jesus Christ during that period of time, God shall send him a strong delusion, so he believes the lie. And the biggest lie is that this Gentile world leader, the Antichrist, is the Jewish Messiah.
Ankerberg: Just an article this month that came out, they’ve got another supercomputer that is 15 times faster than anything that was created before. The computations it can do in one second take your breath away, alright. People want to know about the technology and the mark of the beast that’s coming up. You get this mark from the Antichrist, you can’t buy or sell without that mark. And they are wondering, you know, there’s a lot of things with 666 already in it, in terms of the computers or other information. And they want to say, if I’m investing in using in those computer systems right now, is that something that I need to beware of? Am I setting myself up here for something? Or where is that going. Should I use that technology?
DeYoung: Well, before I answer that question. Let’s go back to the mark of the beast. In Revelation 13:15, 16 and 17, it’s talking about those small and great, whoever they may be, must receive the mark of the beast. It will be on their forehead or the back of their hand. And they have to have that mark of the beast so they can buy or sell, like you were talking about: to be able to buy food, and be able to buy shelter and clothing, the essentials of life. They cannot do that unless they have received the mark of the beast.
Chapter 13, verse 18, talks about the number 666. And we seem to put that together, but there is no absolute proof that this number 666 will be that which is on the forehead or the back of the hand, John. And we’re not told whether it’d be tattooed there, what the imprint would be, how it would be there. It could be a computer chip. We cannot assume anything that the Bible does not say definitely.
And so, I have to only be able to answer a question about the mark of the beast by saying, you know, I really don’t know exactly what it’s going to be. The Bible is silent on it. Everybody in the tribulation period, those that are non-Christians, will understand the mark of the beast. And we that know Christ as Lord and Savior won’t have to worry about the mark of the beast. So if, indeed, like they did down in Alabama where I preached recently, they gave a computer chip for those workers in a factory, so they could time themselves in or time themselves out from work, don’t be worrying about that. That’s not the mark of the beast, because the Antichrist is not on the scene. Is that the technology they may use? It may well be. But if you know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you’ll never have to be concerned about the mark of the beast. You’re out of here at the rapture of the church. That only happens to those who are lost, who have rejected Jesus Christ.
Ankerberg: Alright. During your presentation, you talked about folks that die and they go to Hades, alright. And then at the end, you take them from Hades and they go into Gehenna, they go into the lake of fire. What’s the difference between Hades now and Gehenna later?
DeYoung: Hades was a location referred to by the Jewish people as Abraham’s bosom or Paradise. Remember, when Jesus Christ was hanging on the cross, the thief to one of his sides said, “Look, would you remember me when you come into Paradise?” He said, “This day, thou shall be with me in Paradise.” Paradise was a location, and we get the information on it from Luke 16. I don’t believe that’s a parable. I believe that Lazarus and the rich man both died. The rich man went into torment in Hades, a holding area for the dead at that time, before the resurrection of Christ. And Lazarus went into the place called Abraham’s bosom. That’s where the people were, there’s a great gulf fixed between the two. The conversation went on there.
I believe Ephesians 4 teaches that at the death and the burial of Jesus Christ, He descended into Hades. He preached and then He took captivity captive. All of those who were in Paradise, in Abraham’s bosom, those who had been believers, He takes them into the heavenlies, where all then who die in Christ will go at their death. Those who were in torment, the rich man, they will remain there until the Great White Throne Judgment, which is the third event that we talked about here in our three main events in the book of Revelation. Hades will be delivered up. Death and Hades or Hell, it says in the text in Revelation 20:11-15, will be delivered up to Jesus Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment, who will sentence them, not judge whether they are saved or lost; they will not be there, unless they’re lost. He will sentence them into the lake of fire because their name is not written in the Book of Life and they shall be in the lake of fire with Satan, the Antichrist, the false prophet forever and ever and ever.
We’ve all gone through Christmas and just before Christmas, we had Thanksgiving and when we had Thanksgiving, we knew that that meant in the calendar that Christmas was not far away. If you backtrack on prophecy, and you say these events are going to take place in the Tribulation and you can see signs of those events and judgments coming about in the Tribulation and we can see them now, and the Rapture has not occurred, that would mean that the rapture has got to be even closer.
What are the parallels, what are world events telling you right now about how close we are to the time of the Rapture and then the Tribulation? First of all, the revelation of Christ, the return of Christ back to the earth would be Christmas; the rapture of the Church would be Thanksgiving. Now, we can see the signs for Christmas, even before Christmas, leading up to the many weeks and even months before Christmas, we saw all the Christmas lights, we heard the Christmas songs, everything was giving us indication that Christmas was coming.
Jesus Christ was asked in the Olivet discourse, give us some signs of Your Second Coming. Now, Matthew 24, when He responds to those questions from His disciples, is not talking about the rapture of the Church; that was not in His mind at that time. He’s talking about the Second Coming. He’s talking about, in Matthew 24, Olivet discourse, He’s talking about deceptions: signs, wonders and miracles. In Matthew 24, verses 4, 5, 11 and 24, He uses the word deception in all those verses four times. He says deception, and the way of communicating deception through, signs, wonders and miracles, which we see a proliferation of today here on this earth, would be the first sign of how it’s going to be before He returns.
Then He talked about wars and rumors of wars, and nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and people against people. He said that that would be happening before He comes back. And it is so evident in our world that wars and rumors of war—look at the continent of Africa, it’s almost aflame at war; you go into the Middle East, and there in the Gaza Strip, Fatah and Hamas, the two factions in the Palestinians, they are killing each other. There’s going to be, I believe, a civil war in Israel, Jew against Jew, because there’s Jews living in the area of Judea and Samaria who the Israeli government want to evacuate out, and they say, we’re not coming out. You look at Afghanistan, you look at Iraq, you look at Iran, you look at all that’s going on there in our world: wars and rumors of wars.
Then He talked about there would be famine, people would starve to death. He talked about there would be earthquakes in diverse places. He talked about those things that would happen. Basically, Matthew 24 is a preview of the book of Revelation. And what I’m just giving you a list of, are those sealed judgments that happen after the rapture of the Church. He finishes the Olivet discourse with Matthew 24:32-34. He says learn the parable of the fig tree. That has nothing to do with the State of Israel, He’s on the Mount of Olives and there’s a fig tree right beside Him, it’s in the springtime and the leaves are starting to pop up all around. He says, “Learn the parable of the fig tree. You see the leaves on that limb there? That indicates that summer’s almost here. So, likewise, when you see all of these things;” all of what things? The things we just talked about: wars and rumors of wars, there’s deception, famine, earthquakes in diverse places, people died. When we see those things, know that it is near. What’s near?
Well, they’d asked Him, when are you coming back; not the rapture, when are you coming back, the second coming? He said, “I say to you, this generation shall not pass away until these things are fulfilled and I return.” But who is He talking about? Not the people He was talking to on the Mount of Olives, He’s talking to a generation of people alive in this tribulation period, that generation of people, they will see these things happening, they will know His second coming is close.
But wait a minute, the rapture’s got to happen before that, and we as Christians are standing outside of the tribulation period, before the rapture of the Church, who are seeing some of those things happening. May I suggest that that which will give evidence of the return of Jesus Christ, we can see the stage being set for those events to happen. I would suggest that we’re living in that generation that sees the rapture of the Church, and from the heavenlies, we see tribulation unfold and then we return back to the earth with Jesus Christ.
Ankerberg: Jimmy, it’s just been fabulous, and your illustrations have been terrific. And I think you’ve helped so many people, who have been listening, to understand what God is trying to communicate to us about the future, that He’s put in the book of Revelation. Thank you very much, and folks, we hope that you’ll take this information to heart and this will be the start of you studying more in-depth, the book of Revelation.

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