The Second Coming of Jesus
At the time of the 6th Bowl judgment, Satan will send 3 demonic emissaries with miraculous powers to persuade all the Kings of the Earth to gather their armies at Har Megiddo, known to us as Armageddon (Rev. 16:14,) Mt. Megiddo overlooks the plains of Jezreel in central Israel, where the world's armies will come together for the battle of Jerusalem, less than 100 miles to the south. The anti-Christ will invade Israel and set up headquarters in Jerusalem (Daniel 11:41.45). According to Zechariah, the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. (Zech 14:2)
Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations as He fights in the day of battle (Zech 14:3). In Rev. 16:14 John called this the battle on the great day of God Almighty, and it will all be over in less than one day. But which day? Jesus said, "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” (Matt. 24:42) Let's see if we can piece the various scripture references together to make some sense of the chain of events.
He told us that “immediately after the distress of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” (Matt. 24:29)
480 years earlier He had Zechariah say, “On that day (the day of the battle) there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime—a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light.” (Zech 14:6-7) That tells us this battle will follow on the heels of the Great Tribulation and occur during the time when there's no light on Earth, on a day only the Lord will know. I think this time of darkness will be a brief one, perhaps just a few days long. It only has to last long enough to make the Lord's statement that no one would know the day or hour of His return come true.
Picture the armies of Earth gathered in Israel knowing they're going up against the King of Kings in the final round of the battle for control of Planet Earth. Babylon the Great will have just been destroyed (Rev. 18) and you'd think they would have had enough. But obviously they've been emboldened by Satan's demonic emissaries. The miraculous signs these three display will convince them they have the necessary force to prevail. Then without warning the whole world will be plunged into absolute darkness with no Sun, no Moon, no stars to illuminate the endless expanse of the night sky. Everything will come to a standstill. Where is their enemy? Why doesn't He come out and fight?
Suddenly the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. (Matt. 24:30) At that moment they'll realize their mistake, their confidence will evaporate, and they'll wish with all their heart they hadn't listened to Satan's emissaries. But it'll be too late for that.
John described the ensuing battle this way.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. (Rev. 19:11-15)
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. (Rev. 19:19-21)
The Armies of Earth will quickly discover that their worst fears have become reality. They're no match for the Lord. The sword that comes from His mouth is obviously symbolic, standing for His Word. Having spoken the universe into existence, defeating this army with the word of His mouth will be no challenge. The armies of Heaven won't even get their robes dirty. But the Kings of the Earth will realize they've been misled by Satan once again, and this time it will prove to be a fatal mistake.
On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea (Dead Sea) and half to the western sea, (Mediterranean) in summer and in winter. (Zech 14:8)
From Ezekiel 47:2 we learn that the water comes from the Temple, flowing south into a great ravine formed by an earthquake that will occur when the Lord's foot touches the Mt. of Olives (Zech 14:4). This ravine will run west to east from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea, forming the bed of the mighty River of Life (Ezek. 47:1-12, Rev. 22:1-2). Splitting the Mt. Of Olives means it will go straight through the current Temple Mount, eliminating all traces of it. Since the water flows south it means the Temple built at the beginning of Daniel's 70th Week will have been located to the North of the current Mount. Last time we identified its location as Shiloh, 20 miles north of Jerusalem.
The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name. (Zech 14:9)
This is a long awaited fulfillment of prophecy. Within a few short days, everyone on Earth will stand before King Jesus and agree that He is Lord of all the Earth. Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9-11) Tragically, many will not have confessed Him as their Savior, and now it's too late. As they depart to begin an eternity of torment they'll have to admit that as Lord, He has the right to banish them. Even worse, they'll know that He died for their sins, but they refused the pardon His death purchased for them, and the time for claiming it expired with His Coming.
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. (Rev. 20:1-3)
The anti-Christ and false prophet will have been cast into the Lake of Fire, and Satan will be bound. Finally peace will come to Earth. Zechariah said that in the evening of that day there will be light (Zech. 14:7), but Jesus said the Sun would go dark to mark the end of the Great Tribulation. Where will the light come from?
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Rev. 21:2-3)
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. (Rev. 21:23-25)
Believers who died before the Church age will rise from their graves (Daniel 12:2), accompanied by Tribulation Martyrs (Rev. 20:4). Together they'll witness the Glorious Appearing of the Lord and join the grateful multitude in welcoming Him to Earth. The Creation itself will have been waiting in eager expectation of this day, when it will finally be liberated from it's bondage to decay. (Romans 8:19-21)
The Lord's first order of business upon returning will be to summon all the survivors of the Great Tribulation to determine their disposition. First the Jew,
Jesus said to them (the Disciples), "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.(Matt. 19:28)
then the Gentile.
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (Matt. 25:31-32)
This prophecy first appeared in Joel 3:1-2. "In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.”
The parables of the Faithful Servant, the Ten Virgins, and the Talents in Matt. 24-25 also describe this time of judgment that I believe will consume the Lord's first 30 days back on Earth. The net result of these events is that surviving Tribulation believers will be welcomed into the Millennial Kingdom, while unbelievers will be taken away to begin an eternity of torment (Matt. 24:51, 25:30, 25:41)
Next will come the business of establishing His Kingdom. The Temple, defiled by the abomination of desolation, will be cleansed and made fit for service again like its predecessor of Maccabean days. The new levitical priesthood, led by the descendants of Zadok, will be installed (Ezekiel 44:10-16) to officiate therein. The promised Land will be divided and re-distributed to the Jews (Ezekiel 48:1-29) while believing Gentiles will be sent to re-populate the nations. Governmental and administrative systems will be put into place.
This will require an additional 45 days. These two periods were hinted at in Daniel 12:11-12.
"From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
The Great Tribulation will be 1260 days long. 30 days to judge the survivors brings us to 1290 days and 45 more to set up the Kingdom totals 1335. Blessed is the one who reaches this time because he will be counted among those who've been judged worthy to inhabit the kingdom. Every one will be a believer.
So as the Millennium begins there will finally be peace on Earth, a peace so real they'll be able to feel it. The Lord will be King of all the Earth and His name will be the only name (Zech 14:8). You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. Are you ready?