Without being dogmatic in any way, here is what I see happening BEFORE the second coming of Jesus.
NEGATIVE things to occur:
1. Increasing spiritual darkness (Is.60:1-3). Jesus told us that the last days just prior to his coming will be similar to the days of Noah and the days of Lot (Lk.17:20-37). He said that there would be great deception (Mt.24. 1 Tim.4:1) with many false prophets and false “Christ’s” appearing (Mt.24:5, 11, 23-26. 2 Thess.2:1-12. Rev.13). We are told of a great “apostasy” or “falling away” of many from their faith in Jesus Christ (2 Thess.2:1-3. Mt.24:12. Heb.6:3-8).
2. Great Tribulation (times of ‘pressure’). There will be a time of great tribulation (Mt.24) and “perilous times” (2 Tim.3:1-7). Wars, diseases and earthquakes will increase (Mt.24:6-7. Rev.6:1-17). There will be times of intense persecution of believers (Mt.24:9-10, 21).
3. The revelation of the Antichrist. The title ‘antichrist’ refers to someone who is ‘against Christ’ or who sets themselves up ‘instead of’ or in competition with Christ. Jesus himself predicted the appearance of “false Christ’s” (Mt.24:5). There is a ‘spirit of antichrist’ at work in the world (1 Jn.4:3). The apostle John tells that there will be ‘many antichrists’ in the last day (1 Jn.2:18). There also seems to be strong indication that there will be one very strong individual Antichrist (‘the’ Antichrist) who will be revealed in the last days before Jesus returns (see 2 Thess.2:1-12). The Antichrist will be revealed and will set up his kingdom for a time (Dan.2, 7, 11. Rev.13; 19:11-21). Satan knows that his time is short and in the last days he will throw everything he can against God and his work on earth.
4. God’s judgements will be revealed (Rev.14:7; 16:7). There will be a “time of vengeance” (Is.61 and Lk.4). These judgements are outlined under the seven seals, the seven trumpets and the seven bowls (“vials”) of wrath to be poured out on the earth (Rev.6-16).
1. A worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all people (Joel 2:28-32. Acts 2:17-21. James 5:7-8). This began on the day of Pentecost and will be completed in the “last days”.
2. A great spiritual harvest. Many people will become followers of Jesus and there will be a great harvest of souls into the kingdom of God. The gospel will be preached to every nation and people saved out of every nation or “people group”, before the end comes (Mt.24:14). Revelation tells us about a multitude of people worship around the throne from ‘every tribe, language, people and nation’ (Rev.5:9). There’s still more work to be done on this one.
3. A glorious church. The church of Jesus Christ will be united (Jn.17), glorious (Eph.5:25-27) and victorious (Mt.16). The “last day” church will be greater than the first church (Acts 3:19-21). We are not there yet.
4. The fulfilment of all true prophetic words. All words spoken by the prophets will be fulfilled (Acts 3:19-21). Not one word spoken by God through his prophets will be left undone. All will come to pass. In fact, one reason I don’t believe Jesus will come back tonight, is because there are a number of things yet to be accomplished before he returns.
Darkness and light (Prov.4:18-19. Is.60:1-3), the mystery of lawlessness and the mystery of godliness, the weeds (tares) and the wheat are growing together as the coming of Christ draws near. The evidence of many of these “signs” is all around us today and they will increase in intensity as the return of the Lord comes closer. We live in exciting yet challenging times.
Click here for Part 4.