The Chronology of the End of the World
March 15th, 1974
School of the Prophets
THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE END OF THE WORLD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
Now tonight the closing address for our study in these evening sessions is as I announced last night, The Chronology of the End of the World. What does the Bible say about the end of the world as it is chronologically enumerated? How do all of these things fit into place? How are they going to happen consecutively? The Chronology of the Consummation of the Age.
There is a passage in the Bible that follows through the entire period of time from the day the prophecy was given to the day that the new heavens and the new earth are created. It is the same scope of prophecy as you will find in the Apocalypse, starting from the day of the apostle John through the church age, through the tribulation, through the coming of Christ, through the millennium, and through the great final judgment, the white throne judgment, and then the creation of the new heavens and the new earth.
Now you will find this—as you find it in the Apocalypse, the whole scope of time to the end—you will find it also in Daniel; you will find it in the ninth chapter of Daniel. And in the ninth chapter of Daniel, you will find it from verses 24 through 27. In these verses, from Daniel chapter 9, verses 24 through 27, you have the whole period of time covered unto the end, to the consummation [Daniel 9:24-27]. Now this is the prophecy of the seventy weeks; literally seventy sevens.
And the Revised Standard Version translates it correctly: “seventy weeks of years” [Daniel 9:24], seventy sevens of years. Now the prophecy is this:
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people—
the Jewish people—
and upon the holy city Jerusalem, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins… to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto
The first coming:
unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off
The crucifixion of Christ:
but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.
Now, the prophecy there states that between the time that the angel Gabriel has brought this word from God to the prophet Daniel [Daniel 9:21], from that day until the end of time, to the consummation of the age, are seventy weeks of years, four hundred ninety years [Daniel 9:24]. Four hundred ninety years from the day that Daniel received that prophecy to the consummation of the age, four hundred and ninety years God is going to deal with the Jews, with Daniel’s people, until the end time, until there’s an end of sin, until there is brought in everlasting righteousness [Daniel 9:24]. Then he divides up that seventy weeks, he divides it up into seven and sixty-two [Daniel 9:25-26], and then one [Daniel 9:27].
Now he starts off from the commandment to restore Jerusalem [Daniel 9:25]. The commandment to restore Jerusalem is found in Nehemiah chapter 2, verse 1, which is the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, Artaxerxes “Long-hands,” Longimanus [Nehemiah 2:1]. That would be 450 BC.
All of the other commandments, permissive mandates of the Persian government, all of them that are listed in Ezra and other places, all of them are for the rebuilding of the temple, every one of them. But there is one of them that is for the restoration of Jerusalem [Daniel 9:25], and that is the commandment in Nehemiah chapter 2, verse 1, mandated in the twentieth year of the Persian King Artaxerxes. So the prophecy begins then in 450 BC. [Nehemiah 2:1]
Now he says that there is a period of seven weeks in which time Jerusalem will be rebuilt [Daniel 9:25-26]—that would be forty-nine years. And then threescore and two weeks—that would be four hundred thirty-four years beyond [Daniel 9:25]. There are seven weeks, forty-nine years; and threescore and two weeks, sixty-two [weeks], four hundred thirty-four years. There are sixty-nine weeks of four hundred eighty-three years from the day that the commandment was given to rebuild the city [Daniel 9:25], in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus [Nehemiah 2:1] until the Messiah is cut off [Daniel 9:26]. That is four hundred eighty-three years.
So after threescore and two weeks, sixty-nine weeks, four hundred eighty-three years, Messiah is to be cut off. So 450 BC plus 33 AD brings us to the death of Christ. Christ was crucified in just about 33 AD. I’ve preached a sermon here on the text that, “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself” [Daniel 9:26].
In preaching through Daniel and in those volumes on Daniel, there is a sermon in there on that little word, “but not for Himself” [Daniel 9:26]. He was cut off. He was crucified [Matthew 27:32-50]. He was slain. He was executed, He died, He suffered; “but not for Himself” [Daniel 9:26], He died for us, suffered for us, was crucified for us [1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21]. So according to the prophecy the Messiah is to be cut off in four hundred eighty-three years after the commandment to restore Jerusalem, sixty-nine weeks, sixty-nine weeks of years [Daniel 9:25].
Then it says, “And the prince of the people shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” [Daniel 9:26]. That refers to the Romans who destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary, the holy temple, in 70 AD. Then there is a last week, the seventieth week, that is put off out here by itself. And the last week, the seventieth week, is set apart [Daniel 9:27].
And the prophecy says that in the midst of that seventieth week this prince that shall confirm the covenant for one week will break it in the midst of the week. So the last week, the seventieth week, is split in two, it’s divided in two [Daniel 9:27]. And that’s where you get the number, in Daniel and many times repeated in the Apocalypse of John, of three and a half years, forty-two months, 1,260 days, “a time, times, and half a time,” and “a time, times, and a dividing of times.” All of those expressions of the dividing of the last week, all of those refers to this prophecy here. When “the prince that shall confirm the covenant with the Jewish people will break it in the midst of that last seven years” [Daniel 9:27]. So you have three and a half years on this side of it, and three and a half on that side; forty-two months, 1,260 days, time times and a dividing of times; three and a half years.
Now all of this is God’s prophecy to the Jewish people. Well, why is it then that the millennium hasn’t come? Why hasn’t the end of the world come? Why hasn’t the world been rejuvenated and remade according to the prophecy here of seventy weeks? There were four hundred ninety years, seventy weeks of sevens, that God was going to deal with the Jewish people until the day of the consummation [Daniel 9:24].
All right, the consummation should have come when the Lord Jesus was crucified at the end of sixty-nine weeks [Daniel 9:26], and then there was one other week [Daniel 9:27]. At the end of one other week the consummation should have come. But it didn’t come. A week after the Lord was crucified, seven years after the Lord was crucified, the end didn’t come.
Well, what happened? This is the explanation of a mustērion that Paul describes in the third chapter of Ephesians [Ephesians 3:1-11]. And that I have referred to several times here. Between the sixty-ninth week and between that seventieth week that brings in the consummation of the age, there is a great hiatus [Daniel 9:26-27]. That was the mustērion, the secret that God kept in His heart [Ephesians 3:1-11]: the church age, the age of grace, the age of the preaching of the gospel, the age of the formation of this new thing that is called the church, the new body, the new Gentile, male, female, bond, slave, everybody could belong to. That age of the church was a mustērion, a secret that God kept in His heart. And He never revealed it except finally to the apostles [Ephesians 3:5]. So the prophets never saw the church age.
And do you remember in one of the lectures that I brought here, how you find some of these Bibles, and up here in the Old Testament, in the prophecies, it’ll say “God’s promises to the church,” then over here, “God comforts the church,” and on and on? And I look down on the text to read about the church and what I read about is Israel and the children of Jacob. Well, what’s the matter?
What is the matter is they have made a shambles of the prophetic Word of God. When the Lord, in the Bible, talks about Israel, He means Israel. When the Lord, in the Bible, talks about the children of Israel, He is talking about the children of Jacob. When the Lord talks about the church, He means the church.
And there is no instance in the Bible, there is no instance in the Word of God, there is no time or place in the entire apocalyptic revelation of God from the first to the last where Israel means the church, or the church means Israel. There’s no such thing as that in the Bible. And if you ever fall into that trap, you’d might as well quit.
The Bible will be an enigmatic jigsaw puzzle to you, and you will never put it together. And it’ll never make sense to you. And finally, if you study it long enough, you’ll be like the rest of the liberals. They take the Bible and put it in the ash can. To them it has no meaning, it has no sense, it has no common denominator. It is a mixture, so in order to try to get the thing to fit according to what they say, why, they take these things and they spiritualize it. This means that and that means the other, it doesn’t mean. God means just what He says, just exactly as He says it. So when God talks to Israel, He talks to Israel. And when God talks to the church, He is talking to the church. And when God says Israel, He means the people of the children of Jacob. When God says the church, He means us.
And I am not an Israelite. I am not of the seed of Abraham. I am not of one of the children of Israel. I am not a Jew. I am a Gentile and belong to the church of God like some of my fellow friends in the Jewish race and religion, who also have been saved and belong. But we’re two different things, and that is the way it is in the Bible.
So here, when God talks to Daniel, He is not talking to Daniel about the church. Daniel is an Old Testament prophetic statesman. And no man in the Old Testament ever saw the church, ever heard of the church, ever dreamed of the church. The church is a mustērion kept secret in the heart of God. So you don’t look in the Old Testament for the church. The church is not in the Old Testament. It is nowhere in the Old Testament. It is not there. It was a secret God kept to Himself [Ephesians 3:1-11].
When the prophecy, therefore, is given to Daniel, he says, “seventy weeks of years are determined upon Thy people and upon Thy holy city” [Daniel 9:24], upon the Jew and upon Jerusalem. So at the end of sixty-nine weeks, at the end of the period of the sixty-nine weeks when Messiah was cut off [Daniel 9:25-26], God did something else. The King was rejected and the kingdom didn’t come [Matthew 23:37; John 1:11]. It was announced by John the Baptist [Matthew 3:1-2]; it was announced by Jesus Christ [Matthew 4:17]. And had they accepted the King, the kingdom would have come, and you would have had on this earth the Lord Jesus Christ reigning with His people [Revelation 22:3-5]. But they did not accept Him [Matthew 23:37; John 1:11].
They rejected the King [Luke 19:14]. They rejected the kingdom [Matthew 21:43], and the kingdom took a mystery form, a mustērion form. And the mystery form of the kingdom is found in those parables in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew [Matthew 13:1-53]. The mystery is not that the Gentiles are going to be saved. The mystery is not that we’re going to have a consummation and a kingdom at the end. The mystery is that in this kingdom age there is the preaching of the gospel, and of the grace of God, and the gathering together of the Lord’s people into a kingdom of heaven, one down here in this earth, in the hearts of men, a mystery [Ephesians 3:1-11].
But the great purpose, and objective, and outreach, and prophetic consummation of the kingdom was postponed [Romans 11:25]. The King is gone; He is not here, He is in heaven. He ascended up to glory, and the disciples stood there watching Him as a cloud received Him out of their sight [Acts 1:9-10]. And there is no consummation of the kingdom yet. The King is gone.
Has God forgot all the prophecies concerning the kingdom? Has God put them aside? Is there to be no kingdom? Is there to be no consummation? Will we never see Jesus? And will sin, and death, and Satan, and the kingdom of darkness reign over this earth forever? No! The kingdom has been postponed. There is a hiatus between the sixty-ninth week and the seventieth week [Daniel 9:26-27]. And this is the mustērion, that in this period of time, in this age of grace, this age of the church, this age of the Holy Spirit, this age of the preaching of the gospel, this age of the building of the church, the body of Christ, the bride of our Lord; in this day we are gathering together a bride for Jesus [Ephesians 3:1-11].
But the disciples said when He left, “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” [Acts 1:6] Is there never to be a kingdom? Yes! It’s just for us not to know when. The day is coming, known but to God [Acts 1:6-7, Matthew 24:36]. But the day is coming when the Lord God from heaven will descend in glory, and when He will come with the hosts of His angels and with ten thousands of His saints [Jude 14, Zechariah 14:5], and He will set up His kingdom in this earth! [Matthew 25:31]. And that will be at the end of the seventieth week [Revelation 20:4]. And that’s when the Lord starts dealing again with the Jew: when the bride of Christ is raptured out and the Lord starts again with the Jew. And from that day after the church is gone [2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4:16-17], is raptured, and the Lord starts with the Jew once again [Revelation 7:4], from that day for seven years, then comes the consummation of the age [Revelation 19:11-21]. Now this is the prophecy of the seventy weeks [Daniel 9:24-27].
Now we’re going to follow it through. The seventieth week, God takes up with the Jew again [Daniel 9:27]. After the sixty-nine weeks, the Jew today is shunted off of the main track. God today is calling out preachers, you, and we’re preaching the gospel. And we’re getting people into the kingdom of Christ. We’re getting them saved. We’re baptizing them, and we’re getting them in the church. We are getting them ready for the Lord.
God is not dealing with the Jew now, as He did in the Old Testament. The Jew is just like the Greek, is just like the American, like the Brazilian, like the Mexican, all alike, lost, and all alike must turn in faith to Christ, and all alike must believe, and must be baptized, and must be a member of the church. That’s this age.
But at the end of this period, this mustērion, this age of the church, God’s going to take up with the Jew again. “How do you know that, preacher?” Well, I hate to take time but let’s turn to a passage or two just to look at it, just to be sure that we’re all thinking right. Let’s take Romans chapter 11, verse 25. Ready? “I would not have you, my brethren,” Romans 11:25, ”I would not have you, brethren, that ye be without knowledge, ignorant of this mustērion.” Mustērion; isn’t that what we’ve been talking about? This mustērion, “I would not have you without knowledge of this mustērion,” lest you be proud and lifted up, all of you Gentiles, “that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in,” the plērōma of the Gentiles. “I do not want you without knowledge concerning this mustērion, concerning the Israelites, God’s people, the Jew; lest you be conceited and lifted up in your own mind as though God dumped them. That blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in,” the plērōma of the Gentiles.
What does the word plērōma mean? It is a plain, simple, ordinary Greek word meaning full number, plērōma; “until the full number of the Gentiles be come in” [Romans 11:25]. You see, if you preach the doctrine of the Bible correctly, every piece of it will fall in place beautifully. If you don’t, you’ve got troubles all of your life and it will never fit. All right, when you preach it correctly, every little old thing will fit in beautifully, like a beautiful mosaic.
Wednesday night I was preaching on election and predestination, and when I preached the doctrine according to the Word of God, every thing in the Bible I preach will fit in correctly! I said God elects in His sovereign grace, and God predestinates according to His infinite wisdom. And so when I come to this passage I don’t have to stammer, and stutter, and say, “Well, I don’t believe that,” or, “I don’t understand that,” no! “Until the full number of the Gentiles be come in” [Romans 11:25].
God has it written in His Book of Life from the foundation of the earth [Revelation 13:8]. He knows every soul that is going to be saved, every one of them [1 Corinthians 8:3, 2 Timothy 2:19]. Every one of them, they are already written up there in the Book of Life. And when the last one comes in, and God checks him off, Sunday by Sunday, day by day, God adding to the church those that are supposed to be saved, that are ordained, that are being saved; God checks them off. God checks them off. God checks them off. Got a recording angel up there in heaven, and he is checking them off, and checking them off as they come down that aisle.
And when the last one comes in, when the plērōma, the last number of the Gentiles be come in, then God is going to do something else [Romans 11:25]. Then the seventieth week begins. “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching election” [Romans 11:26-28]—there it is in the Bible! Did you know that was in the Bible, Alan? That’s the reason I’m having you to sit under the drippings of the sanctuary, so you be baptized in the truth and go home an enlightened deacon. That’s what I want you to be, Alan—
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
For the gifts and the calling of God are without change, without turning, without the shadow of turning, without repentance.
So God is going to deal with that Jew someday, after something. After what? After the rapture of the church [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17].
Well, what do you mean by the rapture of the church? Well, Paul spoke of it in a beautiful way in 1 Thessalonians 4, described it by name. But I want to show it by symbol. Apokalupsis, unveiling,” that’s the way the Revelation begins; apokalupsis. Man, what a word to start off the book! “Apokalupsis Iēsous Christou, the Revelation, the uncovering, the unveiling of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him,” and he said, and let me pronounce the word, “He sign-ified it.” Now when you put the word together in the English language and pronounce it you pronounce it, “signified it,” Revelation 1:1. “And He sent and signified it.” All right, let’s break it down as it is put together. “Sign,” s-i-g-n, “sign”-ified. “He signified it by His angel unto His servant John, who bare record, wrote it down” [Revelation 1:1-2]. All right now, we’re going to take the symbolism, the signification, of God’s Word and just look at it. It won’t take but a second to do it.
So the Lord God says to the blessed sainted John, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which meta tauta, shall be after these things” [Revelation 1:19]. So John sat down and wrote the Revelation exactly according to the outline, exactly according to the outline of God’s command. He wrote the things that he saw. And he saw the vision of the glorified Lord Jesus, walking in the midst of His churches, in the midst of the seven lampstands. And he wrote that down, and that’s in the first chapter [Revelation 1:12-18]. And then He says, “And write the things which are” [Revelation 1:19]. And the things which are, are the churches. You’ve got one over there. I’ve got one here. You’ve got one over yonder, “the things which are” [Revelation 2:1-3:22]. So in chapter 2 and chapter 3 he wrote the things of the churches, “the things which are” [Revelation 1:19]. And everything in that period of time, chapter 2 and chapter 3, everything in it is the church, the church, the church [Revelation 2:1-3:22].
This is the church at Ephesus [Revelation 2:1-7]. This is the one at Smyrna [Revelation 2:8-11]. That is the one at Pergamos [Revelation 2:12-17]. Here is Thyatira [Revelation 2:18-29]. There is Sardis [Revelation 3:1-6]. There is Philadelphia [Revelation 3:7-13]. There is Laodicea [Revelation 3:14-22]. Everything is the churches. It is the churches, the churches, the churches; the things that are [Revelation 1:19], the churches, where you are, where I am, the churches.
Then when we come to the fourth chapter of the Book of the Apocalypse, why, he is going to write the things “meta tauta, the things after these things” [Revelation 1:19]. And that’s what he says:
After this I looked, and, behold, and a door was opened in heaven: and the voice I heard as if a trumpet talking with me, said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be meta tauta, after the things of the churches.
So by symbol, sign, “He sent and signified it” [Revelation 1:1], by sign, when the door was opened in heaven, and John was raptured up into heaven [Revelation 4:1-2], it was a sign, a symbol, a type, a harbinger, of the rapture of the church up into heaven [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17]. And from the fourth chapter, from that verse of the Revelation until the nineteenth chapter, when Jesus comes again, the church is not mentioned [Revelation 4:1-19:13]. It is not referred to. It is not in the book. Why isn’t it in the book? Because it is not here; it is in heaven. The church is in heaven. You don’t see it. Chapter 4, chapter 19; it’s gone. It’s not referred to.
Well, what is this then, from chapter four through chapter 19? That is the last week; that’s Daniel’s seventieth week [Daniel 9:27]. This is the day when He is gone back to dealing with that Jew. And it says over here, it says over here that:
I saw an angel standing with the four corners, holding the four winds . . .
And I saw another one ascending from the east with the seal of God in his hand;
And he sealed twelve thousand from Judah; twelve thousand from Reuben; twelve thousand from Gad;
Twelve thousand from Asher, from Naphtali, from Manasseh, from Levi and Simeon . . . And Zebulun—
[Revelation 7:1, 2, 4-8]
from twelve tribes, 144,000.
And then I saw a great throng that no man could number… and they were, hē megalē, they were coming out of hē megalē hē thlipsis, the great, the tribulation—English—the great tribulation.
These are they who are coming out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
[Revelation 7:9, 14]
When these 144,000 Jews that are sealed by the Spirit of God start evangelizing this world, even though it’s a day of tribulation and darkness, there’s going to be the most mighty revival this world ever imagined or thought of. And so many thousands of people are going to be saved that they are uncountable! [Revelation 7:9]. And God showed them to John. And John looked at them. And the elder said, “Who are these? Out of every language, and tribe, and nation, and tongue, and family under the sun, who are these?” And John looked at them, and he said, “I do not know, I do not know” [Revelation 7:13-14].
Now I want to ask you a little plain question. Do you suppose John knew his own mother? You think he’d recognize his own mother? Do you think he’d recognize Zebedee, his own father? Do you think he would recognize Simon Peter, his old friend who was crucified head down about thirty-five years before? Do you think he’d recognize Andrew, his fishing partner? Wouldn’t you suppose John would have recognized somebody in that throng up there in the redeemed? Don’t you think?
Well, John looked at them, and looked at them, and he said to the elder, “Sir, I do not know a one of them. I do not know a one of them. There is not a one of those faces that I recognize. I do not know who they are. Who are they?” And the elder replied and said,
These are they who are erchomenoi, who are coming, who are coming, out of, hē megalē hē thlipsis, the great, the tribulation; these are they who are coming out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
In other words, that great throng that John saw, that wasn’t we—we were raptured before that day, we were up there in heaven before this day [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17]—these are the converts of that one hundred forty-four thousand [Revelation 7:4-8] who are winning uncounted numbers to Jesus, even though many of them laid down their lives as martyrs of the faith [Revelation 7:9-14].
And that ought to encourage you. There is never a time so dark but that revival is possible, never so dark. In fact, the darker the time the more certainly revival is on the way! And the greatest outpouring of God’s grace is going to be in the day of the tribulation [Revelation 7:14], after the rapture of the church [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17]. Just looking at it human-like; I would think the rapture of the church will make a profound impression on this world; that’s what I think, if for no other reason than my creditors want to know what has happened to me and my debts. Well, I’m way ahead of myself. Let’s take this up orderly.
In the seventieth week God starts with the Jew again [Daniel 9:27]. That’s at the end of chapter 3 in the Apocalypse and the beginning of chapter 4; He starts with the Jew again. There is the rapture of the church. John’s going into heaven through the opened door is a sign of the rapture of the church, the rapture of the saints of God [Revelation 4:1-2]. They are not seen anymore until they come with Jesus in chapter 19 [Revelation 19:11-16].
Now look: the Lord is coming as a thief in the night. One, two, three, four, five, five times does Jesus say that. In Matthew 24:43-44; in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, in 2 Peter 3:10, in Revelation 3:3, and in [Revelation 16:15], “Jesus is coming as a thief in the night.” What for? He is coming to steal away His jewels [Matthew 13:45-46]. He is going to take us out of the earth, and He can do it any time, any moment, any day, any second. There is nothing between us and that moment, nothing.
He can come for us any day, any time. That is when God calls us home. He is coming with unsandaled feet. He is coming clandestinely, and furtively, and secretly. He is coming as a thief in the night. And two things will happen. There will be first the resurrection of the sainted dead; these who have fallen asleep in Jesus. And then there will be the immortalizing, the change of the living. And both of us will be caught up to meet our Lord in the air [1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52].
In [1 Corinthians 15:55], “O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?” That is the cry of both groups. These that do not die, but are translated, “O Death, where is thy sting?” That is their cry. And these that are fallen asleep in Jesus and are raised from the dead, their cry is, “O Grave, where is thy victory?”
And as we go up to meet the Lord in the air [1 Thessalonians 4:17], those are the cries of the two people. These that are raised from the dead, “O Grave, where is thy victory?” [1 Corinthians 15:55]. And all of us who live to the coming of the Lord and are transformed, translated, immortalized in a moment, at the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, we are going to shout, “O Death, where is thy sting?” [1 Corinthians 15:55]. Isn’t that something? Dear me, hold my hand while I shout all over this place.
Then after the church is raptured [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17], there are two things up there while that seven-year period is going on down here in this earth [Daniel 9:27]—the great tribulation [Revelation 7:14], the judgments of God upon unbelieving men: first, there is going to be the bēma. All of us appear at the bēma of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:10, to receive the rewards that God is going to give us. All of us will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, members of His church, to receive the things God has given us.
And then we are going to sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb [Revelation 19:7-9]. We are going to eat and drink in the kingdom of heaven. That’s why it’s good for us to sit down here and break bread together. That is the koinōnia. That is the fellowship. That is what we are going to do in glory.
And I’ve already spoken to some of my brethren here in the church. When you men came this time we made arrangements for you to eat at noonday. When you come back next year, we’re going to make arrangements for you to eat in the evening also. We’re going to sit down in heavenly places with Jesus and break bread together. I believe in eating.
Then after the rapture of the church [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17], there is the tribulation [Revelation 9:1-21]. And that’s divided into two parts. The first part is when—one of the men came to see me this week, one of our men of the School of the Prophets, and wanted to know, he said, “Do you think that Henry Kissinger could be this Antichrist that is to come?” Here he comes, “When they opened the first seal, one of the four cherubim said, Come and see; and I saw, and behold, a white horse; and he that sat upon him went forth conquering, and to conquer. And then the red horse, then the black horse, then the pale horse of death” [Revelation 6:1-8].
Now what that is this: that white conqueror is not Jesus. Jesus does not come until the nineteenth chapter of the Revelation [Revelation 19:11-16]. That white conqueror coming is the Antichrist [Revelation 6:2]. He comes as the great exponent of world peace. He has the answer. You know what I told the young minister who came and asked me, “Do you think that Henry Kissinger could be the Antichrist, he’s bringing peace to the people and hope to the people, and having great success?” I said, “I do not think so. For one reason: I have spent two hours with Henry Kissinger. He is a professor. He talks like a professor. He has the aura around him of professorial book and study. He is a professor. The Antichrist is going to be the super man. He’s going to be eloquent as the world never saw or heard eloquence. He’s going to be a dynamic personality. Put all the Hollywood stars into one. Put John Wayne, and Clark Gable, and Douglas Fairbanks, and you’ve got a—well you don’t go to the picture show—well put them all together and that’s the kind of a man he’s going to be. And,” I said, “for the second reason, he’s going to arise, the Antichrist is not only going to be a tremendous personality, an eloquent, dynamic, charismatic man, but also he’s going to arise out of immeasurable, catastrophic chaos among the nations of the world [Revelation 17:13]. And we haven’t nearly got that far yet, not nearly. It’s going to be,” I said to the young minister, “the same kind of a thing exactly as you saw in Germany.”
After the First World War, Germany was in abysmal defeat and despair. It would take several billion marks to buy a loaf of bread. So tragic was inflation in post War I Germany that if you had an insurance policy of say, twenty-five thousand dollars, you could not afford to mail it in because the stamp would cost you fifty thousand dollars to mail the policy in that would pay you only twenty-five thousand dollars.
You can not conceive of the ruin and national chaos that fell upon Germany after World War I. She was defeated. She was in despair. She was despised. She was an outcast and a leper among the nations of the world.
When they formed the League of Nations, Germany could not join. They would not look upon her with even the courtesy of an invitation to belong to the family of the nations of the earth. And out of that chaos, and out of that despair, and out of that ruin and abysmal shame there arose a man who could talk as I have never heard anybody talk in my life. I have listened to Adolph Hitler as he would talk, and though I couldn’t understand the language, it just did something on the inside of me. The flow of that man’s words and the torrent of his eloquence, I could feel it though I was six thousand miles away and couldn’t understand a word that he was saying.
Now that is the Antichrist exactly. Out of the chaos of the nations there’s going to arise a man who says, “Follow me, I have the answer.” He’ll be like a Joan of Arc, lifting a banner. And the nations of the world, including the Jew, are going to follow him. He’s going to be looked upon as the great deliverer, and the great savior. He’ll be a Demetrius Soter, a Philadelphus Soter, an Antiochus Soter, a Seleucus Soter. He’ll be a great soter, savior to the whole world. He can lead us out. And the stated religion is going to say, “Amen. Let’s follow him.” That is the man in the white horse, riding the white horse, the Antichrist [Revelation 6:2].
And in the middle of the week, after three and one half years [Daniel 9:27], he’s going to show his true colors. He arrogates to himself deity. He sets himself in the temple in Jerusalem as God [Matthew 24:15]. And he is going to precipitate, after that three and a half years [Daniel 9:27], he’s going to precipitate war, war, war, the red horse! And the red horse is going to be followed by the black horse, famine, famine and starvation! And the black horse is going to be followed by the pale horse of death, death, death, death! [Revelation 6:2-8]
This is the course of the tribulation that leads up, finally, to the great battle of Armageddon, described in Isaiah 63 [Isaiah 63:1-6], Revelation 14 [Revelation 14:14-20], Revelation 16 [Revelation 16:13-16], Revelation 19 [Revelation 19:11-21], at which time there is the open intervention of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ comes in Revelation 19:11-16. And He comes in the midst of the last great battle of the Lord God Almighty, the battle of Armageddon [Revelation 19:17-21].
And He is coming openly, like the livid lightning that cleaves the bosom of the sky [Matthew 24:27], with the hosts of heaven and with the saints of glory [Zechariah 14:5]. The Lord will come! And that’s why the Bible will say, “He will come as a thief in the night, to steal away His jewels [1 Thessalonians 5:2]. And He is coming as the livid lightning that shines across the dark heavens of the chalice of the sky” [Matthew 24:27].
Well, how could He come as a thief in the night, and how can He come as the lightning across the heavens above the earth? Well, the reason is, He is coming twice; one time to steal away His jewels, the rapture of the church [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 5:2], and the second time, openly, descending with His saints and the angels of glory [Matthew 24:27; Acts 1:11].
Now our preparation for the—and Jimmy Draper said, “Now, pastor, don’t feel any compulsion to quit because my talk is telescopic and whatever time you leave, well I’ll just take up.” So Jimmy, you just take up the last few minutes and say, “Amen,” or something like that. Isn’t that terrible? If Jimmy were not a marvelous Christian boy he sure wouldn’t like to be around me, I tell you. Takes grace to be around me. I’m going to quit in just a minute, Jimmy. Now, then comes our preparation for entrance into the millennium, when the Lord Jesus Christ comes in the nineteenth [chapter] of the Revelation [Revelation 19:11-16]. Then we’re going to have the preparation for our entrance into the millennium [Revelation 20:1-6].
First there will be the judgment of Israel, and this is described in Ezekiel 20:33-38. Israel’s going to pass under the rod. What does that mean, “pass under the rod?” The prophecy in the Old Testament, “Israel is going to pass under the rod” [Ezekiel 20:37]. Well, I could see that over there in Israel. There is a sheepfold, and there is a little door into the sheepfold, and the shepherd puts his staff, his rod, across the entrance, and the sheep goes over, one at a time, and he knows them all by name. He names all of his sheep. He lives with them day and night, all of his life, so he passes them under the rod, into the fold, and he calls their names, and when they’re all in, why, then the shepherd lies down with his sheep, and they rest for the night. And that’s what God is going to do with Israel: He is going to put them all under the rod. And those that repent and accept Him are going to be saved and enter the millennium [Ezekiel 20:37]. And those that will not accept Him are going to be cast out and destroyed [Ezekiel 20:38]. Now that’s the judgment of Israel.
Then there’s going to be the judgment of the Gentiles, and that is in that beautiful, magnificent story in Matthew 25:31-46. “When the Lord shall come and sit on His throne of glory, there shall be gathered before Him,” you have it translated, “all nations” [Matthew 25:32]. Well, let’s just translate it as it actually is, “All the Gentiles, all the Gentiles will be gathered before the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes and sits on His throne of judgment and glory [Matthew 25:31-32]. And He is going to divide them as the sheep is from the goats” [Matthew 25:33]. And this is going to be the division: “Inasmuch as you did it unto one of the least of these My brethren, you did it unto Me; and enter thou into the joy of the Lord [Matthew 25:34-40]. And when you did not receive one of My brethren, then you are going into the place of torment prepared for the devil and his angels” [Matthew 25:41-46]. Well what does that mean? That means simply this. In the preaching of the one hundred forty-four thousand Jews, the brethren of the Lord Jesus [Revelation 7:1-8], those that receive them and believe their word and turned, they are going to be saved [Revelation 7:9-17]. And those that rejected the message and the messenger are going to be lost [Matthew 25:41-46]. And that is the judgment of the Gentiles!
And then comes the consummation of the age, the millennium, the “Israel and the Gentiles”; in Isaiah 2:2-4, and Isaiah 19:23-25. Then the animal, and vegetable, and mineral recreation: the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans, the apostle says the whole creation was destroyed in the fall of Adam [Romans 8:19-21]. But there’s going to be a new creation, and there’ll be a new animal world. “The leopard will lie down with the kid; and the wolf with the lamb; and the voracious, carnivorous lion will eat straw like an ox” [Isaiah 11:6-7]. There’s going to be a whole new world, even in the animal world. And the curse of Genesis 3:17-19 is going to be removed. That’s in Isaiah 35 [Isaiah 35:1-2, 7], and Isaiah 55 [Isaiah 55:13]. And then there will be the exaltation of our Savior, the King of the whole universe, in Zechariah 14 [Zechariah 14:3-9], Luke 1 [Luke 1:26-35], Philippians 2 [Philippians 2:5-11], and Revelation 11 [Revelation 11:15-17].
Now in that time at the end of the millennium [Revelation 20:1-6], at the end of the thousand years, there’ll be a last rebellion [Revelation 20:7-9], and I cannot understand that. The only suggestions there have been made is that those who are born in the millennium will have to be tried to see whether they really want to accept the Lord or not. It is a mystery to me. But anyway, God allows Satan out.
When God has him down and got him chained [Revelation 20:1-2], why doesn’t God put a foot on his neck and hold him there forever? He lets him out, and Satan comes to deceive the nations once more [Revelation 20:7-9]. And at the end of that [Revelation 20:10] is the great white throne judgment [Revelation 20:11-15]. It’s in the twentieth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, the great white throne judgment. And that’s a judgment for the lost. Not as to whether they’re going to be saved or lost. There’s a judgment of works for the lost [Revelation 20:12], just as there’s a judgment of works for the Christian up there at the bēma of Christ [2 Corinthians 5:10].
When the church is raptured [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17], when we are up there in glory, we are all going to stand at the bēma of our Lord to receive the reward of the deeds done in our flesh [2 Corinthians 5:10]. Now the same type of a thing, same kind of a thing is going to be for the lost. They’re going to stand at the great white throne judgment in the twentieth chapter of the Revelation, and there they’re going to be rewarded according to their deeds that are written in the books. They’re going to be judged by the things that are in the books [Revelation 20:12].
Why is that at the end time? When the guy dies why doesn’t he receive his reward then? Why is it, that this lost man isn’t judged to receive his reward until that great white throne judgment at the end? [Revelation 20:11-12]. Why doesn’t he receive it when he dies? Well, the reason is, a man doesn’t die when he dies. His works go right on. I went to school with a dear friend, whose name I could call, in Amarillo. And he and I were graduated together. We were in the same Sunday school class. We played in the band together. We played the same instrument. We went to Baylor together, and he turned to infidelity, a blatant infidel down there in Baylor. And I went to see him one night, and walked into the room, and there he was at his study table, under a lamp, reading Tom Paine’s, The Age of Reason. Why, that infidel had been dead a hundred sixty years, but his work and his influence was still going on. And that’s why the judgment is at the end time, at the consummation of the age: for the man doesn’t die when he dies. The evil of Tom Paine, and the evil of Voltaire, and the evil of the deists and encyclopedists, the evil of those blaspheming men is going on today and will have repercussions till the end of the time.
And God’s going to unravel that scheme. And that’ll be their reward at the great judgment day of Almighty God [Revelation 20:11-12]. Think of the reward that Paul will have [2 Corinthians 5:10]. Think of the good that he’s still doing. Oh dear, oh dear!
And then after that, the great white throne judgment, closing the twentieth chapter of the Revelation [Revelation 20:11-15], then you see the vision of the new heaven and the new earth [Revelation 21:1]. In my preaching through the Revelation, though I may be mistaken in it, there are great scholars and theologians, that I could name, that believe that when the twenty-first chapter opens the new heavens and new earth, they mean that this heaven and this earth are utterly destroyed, all of it destroyed.
I think it means, the best I can understand the language and study it, I think it means a rejuvenation. I think it means a purging. God is going to recreate [Revelation 21:1-5], as He did in Genesis 1:3 and following [Genesis 1:3-31], going to recreate the fallen universe. And I think heaven is going to be here. “And I, John, saw the holy city, coming down out of heaven from God to this earth” [Revelation 21:2]. It’s going to be a great, beautiful city. And it’s going to come down to this earth, out of heaven from God’s hand. And that’s going to be our home. Our address will be in glory. On such and such Hallelujah Boulevard, just across from such and such Glory Square, that’s where we’re going to live [Revelation 21:9-21]. That’s our address in the beautiful heavenly New Jerusalem [Revelation 21:2].
Then we’re going to inherit the entire creation of God [Matthew 5:5]. And as I suggested one night here, we can go from one place to the other with the speed of thought, just like that. But our home address will be in heaven. And if I had one humble request to make of our living Lord it would be this: Lord, that I might have a mansion, a home [John 14:1-3], where I could see the Prince of glory walk in and out in the morning. Wouldn’t that be great? O God bless us!