1) The Sequence Of Major Events
Adapted from – A Bible Study by Jack Kelley (Reformatted and complete scripture quotes added by myblessedhope.com)
First is knowing what happens and when. It gets really confusing if you don’t know the sequence in which major End Times events will occur. Actually their order is very logical, and once you learn it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t see it before. The best way to figure it out is to perform what the business world sometimes calls a back scheduling exercise. It involves going to the very end of a process and identifying the final outcome. Then you list in reverse order all the things that have to happen to produce that outcome, backing into the present. It’s simpler than it sounds, and much simpler in prophecy than in business because there are many fewer events to organize. Let’s do it.
What Are We Waiting For?
We all think of Eternity as the final outcome, and so starting at the end and working backwards means we begin there. But the last major event described in any detail in the Bible is the Kingdom Age or Millennium, the Lord’s 1000 year reign on Earth, which is distinguished from and precedes Eternity. The very last chapter of Revelation describes trees on either side of the River of Life bearing a different fruit every month. That means time still exists, and Eternity by definition is the absence of time. We’ll talk more about that later. For now let’s just say that Eternity can’t happen till the Millennium is over.
The Millennium obviously can’t happen till the Second Coming, because that’s when the Lord returns to establish it. And the Second Coming can’t happen till the end of the Great Tribulation. And that can’t happen till the anti-Christ stands in the Temple in Israel declaring himself to be God. (2 Thes. 2:4)
2 Thessalonians 2:4: “who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”
That’s the event Jesus warned Israel to look for as the Great Tribulation’s opening salvo. He called it “The Abomination of Desolation” in Matt. 24:15-21.
Matthew 24:15-21: “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17“Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. 18“Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 19“But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20“But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. 21“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.
But that can’t happen till there’s a Temple. There hasn’t been a Temple in Israel since 70AD and there won’t be one until the Jews officially decide they need one. They won’t need one until God reinstates their Old Covenant relationship, signaling the start of Daniel’s 70th week. And that can’t happen till the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39 is won. And that can’t happen till the Church is gone. And that brings us to the present, because there is no preceding event for the Rapture of the Church. It could happen at any time.
Ezekiel 38-39 – The entire scripture is included at the end of the study due to length.
You Got That?
So the Sequence of Major Events is this:
The Rapture of the Church,
The Battle of Ezekiel 38,
Daniel’s 70th week begins,
The Great Tribulation,
The 2nd Coming,
To those who read Scripture as it’s written only two of the events in this sequence are subject to debate as to timing. Those are the Rapture and the Battle of Ezekiel 38, the first two on our list. So lets find out why they have to be where I’ve placed them in the sequence. Maintaining our back schedule mentality, we’ll begin with Ezekiel’s battle and work back to the Rapture.
“And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward.
Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.” (Ezek 39:21-22, 28-29)
The Lord has declared in no uncertain terms that He’s going to use Ezekiel’s battle to spiritually awaken His people and call them to Israel from all over the world. This will result in the re-instatement of their Old Covenant relationship, reviving Daniel’s long dormant “70-Weeks” prophecy for its final seven years and requiring that a Temple be constructed. Without one there’s no way for them to keep His covenant. (If you’re not familiar with Daniel’s “70 Weeks”, click on the link at the end of this article.)
This was proven once before in history during the Babylonian captivity. When Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the 1st Temple, Israel ceased to exist. But as soon as Cyrus the Persian defeated Babylon and freed the Jews, they returned to Israel and began building a Temple before they did anything else. Without a Temple there’s no sacrifice for sin, and without that sacrifice, Jews cannot approach God.
Both the Old and New Testaments refer to a Temple in Israel at the End of the Age. The only reason for a Temple is to perform Old Covenant ordinances. But building one today would cause such an uproar that no one in his right mind would consider it. Jews don’t want one, since only one out of four is religious and even religious Jews are divided on the issue. And it goes without saying that Moslems would go to war to prevent it.
Only a unified demand from the people of Israel accompanied by quiet acceptance from their Moslem neighbors would make the construction of a Temple even thinkable. Sound impossible? Ezekiel’s battle results in both a Jewish nation re-awakened to the presence of God and an utterly defeated Moslem attack force in no position to resist. The perfect conditions will finally exist to start building. For these reasons, Ezekiel’s battle has to take place on the threshold of Daniel’s 70th week. Now why does the Rapture of the Church have to precede Ezekiel’s battle?
They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)
When Jerusalem became a Jewish city again in 1967, it was a sign that the era of Gentile Dominion, begun with Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, was finally coming to an end. For 2500 years, gentile nations had been running things on Earth, but now events would begin to draw Israel to the forefront once again. Gentile Dominion won’t completely end until the Lord returns to establish His kingdom but in June 1967 we got the second major signal that the End of the Age was upon us. ( The first was the re-birth of Israel in 1948.)
Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25)
Reborn first in unbelief (Ezek. 37:8) Israel would remain partially estranged from God until the gentile Church reached its full complement (predetermined number) and arrived at its destination. (The Greek word translated “fullness” was a nautical term often used to describe the full complement of crew and cargo necessary to accomplish a ship’s mission. The ship couldn’t sail till those requirements were met. The one translated “come in” means to arrive at a designated place.)
“I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.” Ezek. 37:8
Then the veil would be pulled back as God revealed Himself to them again. As we saw above, He will use Ezekiel’s battle to begin this by renewing the Old Covenant with them, later transitioning Israel from the Old Covenant to the New during the Great Tribulation. (Zech 12:10)
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.“ Zech 12:10
Remember, if they didn’t go back to the Old covenant first, they wouldn’t need a Temple. He’s picking them up where they left off.
After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,
‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’ (Acts 15:13-18)
It was about 20 years after the cross. The controversy of the day was whether Gentiles had to become Jews before they could become Christians. And if not, what would become of Israel? The Lord’s brother James explained to the Apostles and others present at the Council of Jerusalem that Israel was being temporarily set aside while God focused on the Church. After He had taken this “people for His name” (Christians) from among the Gentiles he would return and rebuild His Temple. The passage implies that He would take the Church somewhere and then come back to rebuild the Temple, restore Israel, and give what’s left of mankind one final chance to seek Him.
These three Bible prophecies make it clear that as the End of the Age approached, God would begin preparing Israel to be His once more. But He wouldn’t be exclusively focused on them until He was finished building the Church and had taken us to our appointed place. And where is that?
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2-3)
(He didn’t promise to come back to be with us here, but to take us there, where He was.) After that He would see to Israel’s reawakening and the construction of their Temple.
Throughout Scripture, the Lord seems to be involved with either Israel or the Church, but never both at the same time. James bears this out in his pronouncement regarding the Church in Acts 15. All the leaders of the early church now knew that once God had accomplished His goals with the church, He would turn again to Israel.
Acts 15 – The entire scripture is included at the end of the study due to length.
For this reason, the rebirth of Israel in 1948 and the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 are seen as the most important signs of all that the End of the Age is upon us. The Sequence of Major Events is only the first of “Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy.”
Additional Scripture – from the discussion area above. (Listed at end due to length.)
A Prophecy Against Gog
1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of [a] Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him 3 and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of [b] Meshech and Tubal. 4 I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. 5 Persia, Cush [c] and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, 6 also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you.
7 ” ‘Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. 8 After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. 9 You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.
10 ” ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. 11 You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. 12 I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.” 13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages [d] will say to you, “Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?” ‘
14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? 15 You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. 16 You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
17 ” ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. 18 This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. 19 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’
1 “Son of man, prophesy against Gog and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of [e] Meshech and Tubal. 2 I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. 3 Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand. 4 On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals. 5 You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD. 6 I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the LORD.
7 ” ‘I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel. 8 It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day I have spoken of.
9 ” ‘Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up—the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. 10 They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel. And they will plunder those who plundered them and loot those who looted them, declares the Sovereign LORD.
11 ” ‘On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east toward [f] the Sea. [g] It will block the way of travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog. [h]
12 ” ‘For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. 13 All the people of the land will bury them, and the day I am glorified will be a memorable day for them, declares the Sovereign LORD.
14 ” ‘Men will be regularly employed to cleanse the land. Some will go throughout the land and, in addition to them, others will bury those that remain on the ground. At the end of the seven months they will begin their search. 15 As they go through the land and one of them sees a human bone, he will set up a marker beside it until the gravediggers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog. 16 (Also a town called Hamonah [i] will be there.) And so they will cleanse the land.’
17 “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Call out to every kind of bird and all the wild animals: ‘Assemble and come together from all around to the sacrifice I am preparing for you, the great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel. There you will eat flesh and drink blood. 18 You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth as if they were rams and lambs, goats and bulls—all of them fattened animals from Bashan. 19 At the sacrifice I am preparing for you, you will eat fat till you are glutted and drink blood till you are drunk. 20 At my table you will eat your fill of horses and riders, mighty men and soldiers of every kind,’ declares the Sovereign LORD.
21 “I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them. 22 From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God. 23 And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. 24 I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and I hid my face from them.
25 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now bring Jacob back from captivity [j] and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. 26 They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. 27 When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. 29 I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.”
The Council at Jerusalem
1Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. 4When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
5Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.”
6The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”
12The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. 14Simon[a] has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
16” ‘After this I will return
and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it,
17that the remnant of men may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things’[b]
18that have been known for ages.[c]
19“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers
22Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. 23With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. 24We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.
30The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers. 33After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them.[d]35But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.
Disagreement Between Paul and Barnabas
36Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Click on the article title below for a link to original referenced articles by Jack Kelly.