The purpose of this post is to give an overview of what the scriptures say about heaven and what is to come in the future on earth. Hopefully, those who hold to atheism and those Christians not familiar with prophesy will find it informative.
When believers die and go to heaven they do not immediately receive rewards. However, some time after at the judgement seat of Christ there will be rewards for good works and faithful service during life on earth or will lose rewards but not eternal life (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10).
The scriptures do not say whether there is, or is not, a period of time between the rapture and beginning of what is called the Tribulation, which will be discussed later.
Following the rapture, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb takes place in heaven. The bible states that all those who are one with Christ will be there (Ephesians 5:30). In Revelation 19:7-9 it says, “Blessed are they who are called unto the Marriage Supper of the Lamb”. Those who are not there will be on earth and experience extremely difficult times in what is called the Tribulation. It will be a time of unparalled anguish (Rev. 3:10). Some of the events that will happen are wars, famine and diseases, water will be polluted, locusts from the pit (demons), sea life will be destroyed, strength of the sun will be heightened, and the list goes on (Rev. 6). The Tribulation lasts for 7 years.
In recent months, since the beginning of the Ukraine-Russia war, some prophesies in the bible have become meaningful, particularly Ezekiel 38 & 39. In these two chapters reference is made about a Gog and Magog situated to the north of Israel. Bible scholars think this refers to present day Russia. The prophesy in Ezekiel has not taken place at any time in history before, so is considered to be in our time.
According to the prophesy Russia moves to defeat Israel and capture its valuable riches. Russia (Gog and Magog) will be joined by other countries, Persia (Iran), Ethiopia (Northern Sudan), Put (Libya), Gomer (Turkey?) and Togarmah (Turkey?).
According to Ezekiel this move against Israel led by the man Gog, whoever he may be, and all the other countries with him, do not succeed. God in his protection of Israel becomes furious (Ezekiel 38:18). There will be a great earthquake. He will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur. The armies will be destroyed and buried in the area. Gog, the Russian leader, will be buried there also. This may happen before the rapture or before the Tribulation.
The strong suggestion here is that it would be wise to accept the salvation offered through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and avoid the difficult times to come now, or in the Tribulation.
Readers may wonder why God is so protective of Israel. If one reads biblical history, God chose an insignificant nation (Deuteronomy 7:7) because He needed a means to provide salvation for us, as a result of Lucifer’s actions and the resultant fall of Adam and Eve. As is well known, salvation became possible through Jesus, God’s son, being born to Mary and by his crucifixion and resurrection (John 3:16).
God through his prophet Ezekiel said that by the utter defeat of Gog and those armies with him, He will show his great concern for Israel and show that He is God.
God (Jehovah) has not been recognized as God Almighty by other nations. Even the Jewish nation did not meet His expectations and so its people were scattered throughout other nations. However, He said he would bring them back to Israel. And history records that Israel was again established in 1947.
The focus on Israel, through prophesy, now continues here. Daniel, as God’s prophet in chapter 2, prophesied a Revised Roman Empire which has not existed for hundreds of years. Some countries likely to be part of this Empire are current members of the European Union.
It is out of this Empire that a leader called the Anti-Christ will come. Who this man will be, of course, is not yet known. He will be a very charismatic individual but very evil, inspired by Satan. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 he is called the man of sin and speaks against God (see also Daniel 7:8, 20, 25). He will sit in the temple, which will have been built by then, and claim he is God and demand that everyone worship him.
As leader of the Revised Roman Empire he will have under his control a massive army. Very important, he signs a treaty with Israel to protect it. However, after three and a half years he breaks the pact. Because he claims he is God, Israel rejects him and he turns against it and against all in the world who do not worship him and take the mark of the beast.
As an aside, since this post is about heaven, it is important to remember that the raptured saints will be with Christ in heaven, at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, while the above is happening.
Because of Anti-Christ’s arrogance, other countries will not tolerate him. The bible states, “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind ….”(Daniel 11:40). The Anti-Christ challenges these armies but is prevented from destroying Israel because he hears about a threat from the East and North. He becomes furious and with his army of the Revised Roman Empire, of which he is leader, he goes to war.
At this time the big Euphrates River dries up. An angel brings this about (Rev. 16:12). This happens so that the armies from the East, from the Orient, can cross over to engage the Anti-Christ and other enemy forces. All the armies in the world will gather in an area called Megiddo and become involved in what is known as the Battle of Armageddon.
The Armageddon war will take place in an are about 20 miles wide and 40 miles long. It will be the biggest and most horrible battle of all time. One can view this large area by entering Armageddon on the computer.
During this terrible conflict Jesus Christ and his saints enter the battle. Anti-Christ and Satan and his armies and all those who have rejected Christ are defeated and thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:1-6).
After that event, Christ will begin his kingdom of a thousand years. However, that is material for another post.
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