The Order of Events Until the End of the World
(Based on the writings of Reverend Herman Hoeksema before his death in 1965)
- The Spreading of the Gospel of Christ Throughout the Nations
Jesus said unto him, "Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:60)
And He said unto them, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)
The Church shall witness of the truth and of Christ throughout this dispensation (the days of witnessing/the spreading of the gospel/the building up of the Church, spiritual Jerusalem of the New Testament, the True Israel of God).
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:14)
"And the gospel must first be published among all nations." (Mark 13:10)
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. (Revelation 14:6)
And they went forth and preached every where, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (Mark 16:20)
- A World Ripe for Judgment at the Time Near the End of the Present Dispensation
Near the end of this dispensation, the devil, Satan, will be released from the bottomless pit to rule over his earthly kingdom for "a little season," so that he as God will stand in the holy place, showing himself that he is God, and he will deceive many with his signs and wonders.
And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. (Daniel 8:23-25)
And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that is determined shall be done. (Daniel 11:36)
The day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:2-4)
- The "Wrath of the Lamb"
Near the end of this age, the devil shall reign supreme for "a little season," and he will be allowed to persecute the Church.
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:9-11)
"And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth... And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them." (Revelation 11:3,7)
God's people shall be persecuted; they shall be delivered up to synagogues and into prisons because they shall refuse to deny Christ and to worship the "beast," the anti-Christian kingdom. And some of God's elect shall be put to death for the testimony that they keep.
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." (Matthew 24:9)
"Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost." (Mark 13:8-11)
"They shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls." (Luke 21:12-19)
However, this culmination of antichrist and time of great tribulation, of which Scripture has warned us so frequently and which the Church shall experience just before the resurrection, shall be cut short for the elects' sake.
"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:22)
- The Return of Christ
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even Him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-9)
At the end of this dispensation, antichrist shall have accomplished his work against the Church and the witnessing shall be finished: the Church shall be cut off and her testimony shall be ceased (the two witnesses lying dead in the street of the great city, Revelation 11:8).
"But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." (Matthew 18:16)
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20)
Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. (1 Corinthians 14:29)
This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. (2 Corinthians 13:1)
Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:19)
He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. (Hebrews 10:28)
Immediately after the tribulation of those days there shall be fearful sights and great signs from heaven: witnesses of Christ lying dead in the streets ascend to heaven in a cloud, voices from heaven, Temple of God opened in heaven, sun darkened, moon darkened, stars fall from heaven, a great earthquake shakes heaven and earth, lightning, thunder and great hail. And then shall the Son of man come in the clouds of heaven with a rainbow upon His head, and His face as it were the sun, and His feet as pillars of fire.
"For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall He send His angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven." (Mark 13:22-27)
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him. (Ephesians 1:10)
At this darkest hour, Christ shall return in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory to deliver up His Church to the kingdom of heaven. In other words, immediately after the tribulation of those days, while antichrist and the heathen nations, "Gog and Magog," are still on earth, the Church shall be taken away from her shame, persecution, and terrible suffering.
"Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:24)
And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, "Come up hither." And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. (Revelation 11:12)
The persecuted saints shall be changed in the 'twinkling of an eye' and they shall be united with those already "fallen asleep in Christ," "dead in Christ."
Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18)
Christ shall separate the wicked from the just; and He shall deliver up the just to the kingdom of heaven, and the Church of all ages shall be glorified in heaven.
And Jesus said, "I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Mark 14:62)
"When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." (Matthew 25:31)
"And He that sat on the cloud Thrust in His Sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped." (Revelation 14:16)
"Let them grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, 'Gather ye together first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn'… The tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world." (Matthew 13:30,38-40)
I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen and am no widow and shall see no sorrow." (Revelation 18:4-7)
- The Destruction of the Anti-Christian Kingdom
Gog and Magog shall prepare for battle against the kingdom of the Beast, believing that they will be battling against Christ and His saints. However, the Church is no more in tribulation, for the time of her tribulation is past. The time for conversion is now past as well, for the witness of the Word, the Church, shall have been taken away from her shame, persecution, and terrible suffering and delivered up to the kingdom of heaven. It shall be only a time for judgment: Christ shall judge the earth and destroy the anti-Christian kingdom.
"Behold, the days come," saith the Lord God, "that I will send a famine in the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord." (Amos 8:11)
"And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled." (Luke 21:8-22)
The followers of the anti-Christian kingdom and the heathen nations, gathered for battle, shall remain on earth while God pours out His wrath upon them.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon Him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war... And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean... And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. (Revelation 19:11,13,19)
For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty… And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (Revelation 16:14,16)
- The Final Judgment
God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. (2 Peter 2:4)
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:7-15)
The Lord shall judge the earth and destroy the kingdom of antichrist: the earth shall be utterly consumed by fire. And whosoever is not found written in the book of life shall be cast into the lake of fire. And the devil that deceived them shall be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, along with the beast and the false prophet, and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
"Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death and mourning and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: the merchandise of gold and silver and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass and iron and marble, and cinnamon and odours and ointments and frankincense, and wine and oil, and fine flour and wheat, and beasts and sheep and horses and chariots, and slaves and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate." (Revelation 18:8-19)
- The Inauguration of Eternity
And the Lord shall create a new heaven and a new earth, and He shall establish His glorious kingdom forevermore. And He that sits upon the throne shall say, "Behold, I make all things new… he that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son (Revelation 21:5-7)."
"Rejoice over her thou heaven and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers and musicians, and of pipers and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the Bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all that were slain upon the earth." (Revelation 18:20-24)
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Revelation 7:13-17)
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude… saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:6-9)
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:2-8)
When I was a little girl, I went to my father and said,
"Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ."
"Tell me," said father, "When you take a train trip to Amsterdam,
When do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?"
"No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train."
"That is right," my father said, "And so it is with God's strength.
Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.
He will supply all you need, just in time."Corrie ten Boom
"'When I am weak, then I shall be strong,' the Bible says.
Betsy and I were prisoners for the Lord.
We were so weak, but we got power because the Holy Spirit was on us.
That mighty inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit helped us through.
No, you will not be strong in yourself when the tribulation comes.
Rather, you will be strong in the power of Him who will not forsake you.
For 76 years I have known the Lord Jesus,
And not once has He ever left me or let me down."
Corrie ten Boom, 1974