After human history is completed and the Lord has destroyed the current universe, the New Jerusalem hovers above the new earth which has no oceans, with the light of God from the New Jerusalem
illuminating the new universe as the only source of light during eternity.
“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light...The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp...It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal...The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.” (Rev 22:5, 22-24; 21:11)
Copyright © 2016 & 2018 by Neal Fox
The Future Times: Biblical Prophesies About the Remainder of History & Beyond
by Neal Fox
version 1.3 March 25, 2018
This book is entirely FREE.
Non-commercial redistribution of this book in its entirety is authorized.
All rights reserved solely by the author. This book, in whole or in part, must not be used for any commercial purpose. Reproduction or quotation in whole or in part requires proper source citation.
Bible quotations are taken from The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, Copyright © 2011
Biblica [Colorado Springs] and BibleGateway.com Web. Oct 2016.
Contact Information (email):
Other books by Neal Fox:
"Exploring Deep Concepts & Mysteries of the Bible" 2018
Prophecy concerning the future times is included as part of the Bible so believers in Jesus Christ can understand God's plan for history, know it is under His control, and live by faith trusting God. History will not play out in some random and uncontrolled way resulting in the earth and all mankind being destroyed. God has told us through His Word how human history will unfold so we can rest in the knowledge that His plan will proceed and conclude exactly as He has preordained. As believers we are on the winning side of history.
This book is a study of the future times, called eschatology, as revealed primarily in the book of Revelation and also in associated passages throughout the Bible. Note the use of “future times” instead of “end times” since the phrase “end times” for what Revelation reveals is generally inaccurate.
Revelation tells us many things about the future of human history, including great judgments to come, but they will not result in some random calamitous ending to the earth and all mankind. Even though there will be a seven year Tribulation in the future which will be horrific, it is by no means the end of human history since it will be followed by 1000 years of perfect environment on the same earth. God's plan for His believers will never end, although human history will end. We believers have a wonderful eternal future beyond human history in a resurrection body living with our Lord in a new eternal universe and on a new earth far superior to the current one. So this study is about the future times, not about end times since there will be no end.
Regarding future judgments, all Church Age believers will be removed from the earth by the Rapture (resurrection) before the severe judgments of the Tribulation begin. We Church Age believers have no need to worry about being caught up in the struggles and disasters which will engulf the earth during those very difficult times. But Revelation is still important to both Church Age as well as Tribulation believers since one of the main issues regarding our faith is trusting God concerning future things, whether personal or historical. Revelation completed the Bible, so we have all the information necessary to understand the will and plan of God for our lives, and we who have believed in Jesus Christ as our Savior may trust God knowing that the details are in His hands. With regard to how history will play out, we can live by faith knowing it is all under God's control. And if God can control 3
The Bible in general and Revelation in particular reveal how human history will play out, and what will become of all people in eternity. Every single person in all human history, and every single angel in all angelic history, will live forever. The issue is whether it will be with God or apart from Him. Human history will eventually end, but then the Eternal State will go on forever with all believers and elect angels residing with God, while all unbelievers, Satan, and fallen angels will reside apart from God in the Lake of Fire.
This study will begin with a brief overview of eschatology, or the study of future times as revealed in Biblical prophecies. This overview will provide a framework to help us understand specific prophecies along the way by viewing them in the overall context of where God's plan for the future is headed.
After the future times overview, a study of the eschatology contained in Revelation and associated passages will fill in the details. Since Revelation Chapters 1 - 3 contain no prophecies they will not be covered in detail, so we will focus on Revelation Chapters 4 – 22 which reveal six parts to Biblical eschatology as outlined in the following section.
1) Rapture of the Church: The next prophetical event in human history is the Rapture (resurrection) of the Church when all living believers will be removed from the earth apart from death and taken to Heaven in an eternal resurrection body. At the same time all Church Age believers who have
previously died are given their resurrection bodies during the Rapture. This happens just before the Tribulation begins, and is NOT the same as the Second Advent of Christ, which occurs seven years later at the end of the Tribulation. There are no other prophecies remaining to be fulfilled during the Church Age, so the Rapture can occur at any time since it is the next prophetical event in God's plan for the future times. Once the Rapture occurs a 1,007 year clock starts ticking toward the end of human history on the current earth.
2) Tribulation: Immediately after the Rapture occurs the Tribulation begins, initiating a seven year period of concentrated judgments and disasters divided into two parts, each lasting 3 ½ years. The last 3 ½ years is called the Great Tribulation, which is the worst period of disaster, misery and divine judgment in all human history.
3) Second Advent of Christ: At the end of the Tribulation Jesus Christ returns to claim His rightful possession, the earth, at the Second Advent of Christ. He will destroy the armies of unbelievers at Armageddon and elsewhere, remove all other unbelievers who remain on earth, and put Satan and all fallen angels into jail until His Millennial reign is complete.
4) Millennium: Jesus Christ then implements the Millennial Kingdom on earth whereby He will reign from Jerusalem for 1000 years. There will be perfect environment on the current earth during this final stage of human history.
5) Human History Ends: After the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth is complete, Satan is released from the Abyss for his final judgment but attempts one last revolt on the earth. His revolt fails and he is thrown into the Lake of Fire along with all other fallen angels. The earth is vacated then it and the entire universe are destroyed. Both the angelic conflict and human history are complete at this point.
6) Eternal State: God creates a new heavens and new earth with a New Jerusalem hovering above the new earth. Eternity begins, and all believers live forever in resurrection bodies with Jesus Christ and the entire Trinity in this new eternal universe.
As this overview shows the future times will include a seven year period of great judgment and disasters on the earth during the Tribulation, however the following 1000 years of human history will be in perfect environment on the current earth. Afterward all believers will live eternally with the Lord.
Again we see why the phrase “end times” is not an adequate description for what lies ahead in the future times, either during human history or beyond it.
The book of Revelation can be divided into two sections, and starts by revealing information about the remainder of the Church Age in Chapters 1 – 3. But since these chapters do not reveal any prophecies, they are not part of a discussion of eschatology. The second part of Revelation in Chapters 4 – 22
contains the eschatology portion which discusses the future times. This study will focus on the eschatology portion of Revelation contained in Chapters 4 - 22 as a separate subject area. However, to briefly set the stage for the events of Chapter 4, Revelation begins in Chapter 1 with John on earth and the Lord Jesus Christ visiting him to provide information about the remainder of the current Church Age, which is the subject of Revelation Chapters 1 – 3. These three chapters cover the time period from 96 AD when the book was written until the Church Age ends with the Rapture (resurrection) of the Church just before the Tribulation begins. The information in these first three chapters outlines the types of issues facing believers during the Church Age by relating them to seven specific local churches on earth during John's time. This information focuses on issues associated with the spiritual life of Church Age believers and is not prophetical or sequential, so these first three chapters do not outline seven specific or separate time periods during the Church Age. This is consistent with the rest of the Bible whereby there is no prophecy associated with the Church Age once the Bible has been completed except that it will end with the Rapture. The overall purpose of Chapters 1 - 3 is to show how the Church will remain on earth for an extended and unspecified period of time until it is removed by the Rapture, which is covered at the beginning of Revelation 4. God has determined to keep the timing of the Rapture completely unknown, and since there is no prophecy which must be fulfilled 6
during the remainder of the Church Age prior to the Rapture any attempt to discover the timing of the Rapture using any method is futile. The structure and sequence of Revelation shows the Church will not go through the Tribulation, but instead will be removed before it begins. Until that happens, the Church has a mission to live the unique spiritual life God has given to it alone as a special category of believers blessed with the most powerful spiritual gifts God has given to any group of believers during any spiritual period of time (called in the Bible “Ages”). Therefore, since Revelation Chapters 1 – 3
are not prophetical they are not included as part of this eschatology discussion.
With the final instructions to Church Age believers serving as background in Chapters 1 – 3,
Revelation Chapter 4 proceeds with eschatology to reveal what will happen after the Church Age ends.
The future times immediately following the Rapture will be a time of intense disaster, human misery and judgment lasting for seven years, followed by 1000 years of perfect environment on earth.
An issue which makes the book of Revelation somewhat difficult to understand is how the narrative goes back and forth, rather than using a straight time-line approach. Trying to view the events as linear, with one event following another, can lead to confusion. The format is generally a back and forth “vignette” approach which describes certain future events in preview form, followed by going backward to explain other related issues in detail, or show different views of the same event from Heaven and then from earth, often while introducing new related events into the scene. This back and forth approach does not provide for a smooth flow of events in historical order, so it requires a detailed study, not simply a reading. Of course there is a purpose to the format of Revelation. The point of the book is to provide the information we need, not to tell us everything which will satisfy our curiosity.
Remember, we live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). God does not tell us everything we want to know, only what we need to know. This is so we will trust Him for the details, and is also why trying to predict the timing of these future events is futile. God does not want us to know certain things, especially the timing of future events. Knowing enough about what is to come in the future times strengthens our faith, but knowing everything about the future would set aside faith.
With this overview in mind as a framework to help understand the specifics which are about to be covered, let us begin the study of Revelation Chapters 4 – 22. All quotes from the Bible are New International Version (NIV). Any explanations and clarifications within quoted verses will be contained inside brackets [like this].
These chapters can be summarized as follows:
Chapter 4: The Rapture of the Church – John's Vision of Heaven
Chapter 5: The Book of Judgments