Seven Events That Will Quickly Follow The Rapture Of The Church
The next big event on the Bible prophecy calendar is the rapture of the church (I Thessalonians 4:13-18). This is when all who are in Christ will rise to meet the Lord in the air. I believe it will be a pre-tribulation rapture (see Is The Rapture True? Does It Matter? & The Rapture: Pre-Tribulation).
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But what will most likely happen following the rapture? There could be a gap of time that could come between the rapture and the start of the tribulation period. You can bet there will be a considerable amount of pandemonium and chaos the likes of which the world has never known. But once the shock of the rapture has subsided these next seven events will quickly follow.
First, the appearance of Antichrist who will confirm a seven-year peace agreement with Israel (What Could Happen After The Rapture). This agreement will include Israel with many other nations (Daniel 9:25-27). It's likely that Israel will be the centerpiece of this agreement and will serve to bring them world recognition and immediate favored nation status.
This agreement will probably coincide with the Middle East peace agreement or it maybe the agreement in totality. This agreement might even include an incentive for Israel to make peace with the Arab world.
I lean toward this theory. It will probably include Palestinian statehood, land concessions, and the promise of sharing Jerusalem as a capital for both Israel and Palestine. Although, in the past, I have included the rebuilding of the Jewish temple as part of the peace agreement, I now have doubts. That will be covered further in the fifth event.
Second, the appearance of the False Prophet (The False Prophet). Most prophecy teachers and experts tend to focus on the Antichrist failing to mention that the False Prophet will probably come to power at the same time. When Satan chooses his Antichrist, he will at this time choose his False Prophet. Whether he turns out to be the Pope or some other world religious leader is unimportant. When the Antichrist takes over the world, the False Prophet will be standing by his side performing mighty wonders.
Third, the appearance of God's two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-13 God's Witnesses). It is generally believed that the two witnesses will come on the scene at the same time the Antichrist and the False Prophet does. It will be through these two men (whoever they may be) that God will spread the Gospel.
There have been questions swirling as to whether we may already be in the tribulation period. If that's the case, when was the treaty with Israel signed and who are the Antichrist and False Prophet? Where are the two witnesses? When the tribulation period begins these figures will be present.
When the two witnesses do come, their ministry will center around Jerusalem. I believe they will be responsible for starting a great revival that will see at least 144,000 Jews saved in the early days of the tribulation period (Revelation 7:4-8). These 144,000 Jews will in turn be sealed by God and sent throughout the world to preach the Gospel. Many will come to know the Lord during this time and most will die for that privilege (Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9-17).
Fourth, the attack on Israel by Russia and the Arab world (Ezekiel 38 & 39 Russia And Their Allies Attack Israel). It's possible that this could occur before the beginning of the tribulation period but more likely that it will take place after the start.
It's also very possible that it could be due to a great Israeli oil or gas discovery that will literally siphon the oil deposits away from Russia and the Islamic countries (Article# 276). This would devastate both the Islamic and Russian economies. A recent case in point is Lebanon. Right now, they are claiming that Israel's recent natural gas discovery is for the most part located on Lebanon's territory and is being siphoned away. Israel is using an entry point to the discovery located on Israeli land to access the gas/oil. Because they have the means to extract the discovery they will likely reap the entire fortune. But with great fortune comes global publicity. This and other natural resource discoveries will likely play a major part as to why Russia will come calling.
Scripture also declares that the reason for their attack will be to take a spoil (Daniel 38:4, 11 & 12), and at the time of this attack, Israel will be dwelling safely and at rest (Ezekiel 38:11). This leads me to believe that they could already be at peace with the Islamic world, but not necessarily with the Antichrist. That agreement could come later in the form of E.U. membership. But it's most probable that they will be at peace with both at the time of the attack.
Fifth, the third Jewish temple must be rebuilt (Matthew 24:15, II Thessalonians 2:4, and Revelation 11:1). In the past, I have stated that the Temple would be rebuilt as part of the agreement with the Antichrist. I'm not so sure that's the case anymore. My main concern is that it is generally believed that no Muslim would ever allow such a sacred site to be desecrated by a Jewish Temple. It would be an unthinkable atrocity and simply would not even enter their minds. This would start a worldwide Muslim holy war.
It is more likely, after Israel's stunning victory over the Russian-Islamic Alliance, that no one will dare stop them. For the whole world will see this victory as a miracle from God (Ezekiel 38:18-23) and shake in fear. That's why I believe the temple will probably be rebuilt six months to two years after the start of the tribulation period.
Sixth, the Ark Of The Covenant will be revealed. After this stunning victory over the Russian-Islamic Alliance, Israel will rush to rebuild their Temple. It is at this time that the Ark Of The Covenant will finally be revealed. I am convinced that scripture supports that the Ark Of The Covenant will be used during the tribulation period but forgotten when Christ comes to rule and reign on the earth for one thousand years.
A reader of mine
brought this verse to my attention:
"And it shall
come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days,
saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD:
neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall
they visit it; neither shall that be done any more." (Jeremiah 3:16)
This verse speaks of
the Millennium when Jesus will rule and reign for one thousand years. Of
course, this is future, but what caught my attention was the portion of the
scripture that stated (speaking of the Ark) "neither shall it come to mind:
neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that
be done any more".
I realize that in the context of the entire chapter many interpret this verse to mean that Israel will forget the memory of the Ark Of The Covenant when the Lord comes back to rule the earth. But is it possible that it could be foretelling the revealing of the Ark Of The Covenant in the last days (tribulation period/rebuilding of the temple) just before the Lord's coming?
Seventh, the Antichrist will put down or subdue three nations (Daniel 7:22-24). Although remote, it's possible that this could occur before the tribulation period during the Antichrist's rise to power. If you remember, I believe there will be a space of time between the rapture and the beginning of the tribulation period. During this time, Satan will be free to work out his plan and build his kingdom (Holy Spirit will be removed-II Thessalonians 2:2-11)...he may have to subdue a few nations to accomplish his will. But it's more likely that Daniel is speaking of this happening during the tribulation period toward the middle. There maybe an uprising when the Antichrist declares himself to be God (Revelation 13). These three nations (along with others outside the E.U.) may see him as another potential Hitler.
When the rapture takes place, although chaos will ensue, these events will come with subtleness and most will pay little attention to them. With Satan in control (as God allows) this world will fall into deep apostasy very quickly...then the Antichrist will be revealed. But this doesn't mean that Satan knows about the timing of the rapture or God's plan. Scripture is clear, in reference to the rapture, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only (Matthew 24:36)." Even the angels of heaven. If the Son (Jesus) and the angels of heaven do not know the day of the rapture why would Satan have any idea as to its timing. He didn't know about Jesus' First Coming, why would he have knowledge of His Second Coming or any of God's future plans (Millennium). Yes, he will be surprised, but he will not give up (question 1134).
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