Light for the Last Days


The Future of our Planet

Many people today wonder what the future of our planet is. There is widespread anxiety about the financial situation, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, the environment, social disorder, and violence. Any number of world situations could suddenly tip us over into a frightening new crisis which either creates chaos and anarchy or a dictatorial government with huge technical resources at its disposal to control the population. 

Today we see events shaping up for the time of great trouble prophesied by the Lord for the last days of this age:

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

Matthew 24.21-22

This crisis will come to an end with the return of Jesus the Messiah. This event will not be the end of the world, but the end of this age and the beginning of God’s New Age. (Note the Authorised Version of the Bible translates the question the disciples ask about Jesus’ second coming as

“What shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?”

Matthew 24.3

However, the word translated ‘world’ here is ‘aeon’ which can also be translated ‘age’ as it is generally done in modern versions. I believe the words that follow are Jesus’ description of what will happen at the end of this age, not the end of the world.)

When Jesus returns, He will take control of the world and rule it directly from the restored temple in Jerusalem (Revelation 20, Ezekiel 40-48). The devil who is responsible for all the sin and misery of this age will be cast into the abyss from where he will be unable to continue to deceive the nations (Revelation 20.1-3).  According to Revelation this rule of the Messiah on earth will last 1000 years (note ‘Millennium’ means 1000 years):

They lived and reigned with Christ / Messiah for a thousand years … they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

Revelation 20.4-6

This corresponds to the words in the Hebrew Prophets concerning the Messianic kingdom age. One of the best known passages on this subject is Isaiah 2.1-4:

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the Law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Isaiah 2.1-4

This is one of many passages in the Hebrew prophets which speak of a time of peace and justice on earth and the world rule of the Messiah. It corresponds to passages in the New Testament which speak of the Second Coming of Jesus. If you take a literal view of the Bible, there must be such a time on the earth following the physical return of the Lord Jesus to the earth.

What Biblical Prophesy tells us

Jesus’ first coming

According to the book of Revelation this present age will end with a time of great trouble on the earth and the final battle at Armageddon. Then Jesus will return with all the power of God at His disposal. This coming will be entirely different from His first coming when He came to fulfil the prophecies of the suffering servant Messiah by laying down his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. The best known passage on this subject is Isaiah 53 which prophesies the sufferings of the Messiah:

He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripe we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53.4-6

Jesus fulfilled this prophecy and many others at His first coming. For details on this go to our article or send for the article in print form. He came to be born as child, a Son descended from King David, to live a perfect life without sin, and to demonstrate His divine power through His miracles. He was rejected and put to death on the cross where he took the sins of the world upon himself. He rose again from the dead and sent out his disciples to preach the message of the Gospel, that sins are forgiven through repentance and faith in his death on the cross. Those who accept this salvation are born again and will be resurrected to eternal life and saved from hell.

He promised that He would come a second time in an event which will demonstrate the supernatural power of God and bring a total change to the earth. In Acts 1.11 the angel told the disciples:

This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.

Acts 1.11

Jesus’ second coming

Jesus ascended in the ‘clouds of heaven’ (the glory of God) so He will return in the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7.13). He ascended from the Mount of Olives on the east side of Jerusalem, so He will return to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14.3-4). He will come as the Reigning King Messiah of Hebrew prophecy. ‘The government will be upon His shoulder’ and He will reign as ‘the mighty God’ upon the throne of David (Isaiah 9.6-7).

At his first coming, He submitted to the unjust rule of wicked men who put Him to death by crucifixion. At His second coming the wicked will submit to His judgement (Revelation 6.15-16).

And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Revelation 6.15-16

He will make war with the armies gathered by the beast (Antichrist) and false prophet in the final battle and defeat them, throwing the beast and the false prophet straight into hell (Revelation 19.19-21). The survivors of the tribulation period will be gathered before Him for the judgement of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25). Israel too will be judged in like manner as prophesied in Ezekiel 20.33-44. At this time, the wicked will be cast off the earth into the place of punishment. The righteous will enter into the kingdom (Matthew 25.31-46) and repopulate the world, having children in the normal way (Isaiah 11.6-8, 65.20, Zechariah 8.4-5). The devil will be bound

for a thousand years, and he will cast him into the bottomless pit and shut him up and set a seal on him so that he should deceive the nations no more until the thousand years were finished.’

Revelation 20.3-4

The saints in Christ Jesus

When Jesus returns, the saints will be with Him (in New Testament terms ‘saints’ simply means those who are redeemed). In Zechariah 14.5 we read,

Thus the Lord my God will come and all the saints with you.

Zechariah 14.5

Jude 1.14 says,

Behold the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints to execute judgement on all.

Jude 1.14

In Revelation 19, John sees Jesus coming as ‘KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS’.

‘And the armies in heaven clothed in fine linen white and clean followed him.’ Revelation 19.14.

Those clothed in fine linen white and clean have already been identified in the chapter as ‘saints’ (Revelation 19.8).  

So those who have been redeemed through the blood of Jesus in the present age will come back with the Lord in glorified bodies and reign with Him in the renewed earth of the Millennial period. The people who will take part in this glorious event are those who have been taken to be with the Lord at their death or at the Rapture of the Church:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4.16-17

They will have new eternal bodies (1 Corinthians 15.53-54) not subject to death or decay. 

He will also resurrect those who were martyred for their faith during the tribulation period.

Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands.  And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.   … They shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Revelation 20.4-6

This means that those who came to believe in Jesus during the tribulation after the rapture of the church will also be resurrected, and reign with Jesus in the Messianic kingdom.  

The redeemed of Israel / the Old Testament period will also be resurrected:

At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that time.  And at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book.  And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Daniel 12.1-2

“But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” 

Daniel 12.13

See also Isaiah 26.19, Ezekiel 37.

The millennial Kingdom

Following the return of the Messiah and the judgement of the wicked, the Lord will reign over the earth bringing a period of universal peace and prosperity. In the passage from Isaiah 2 already quoted in this article, the Bible says that the nations will go up to hear the word of the Lord in Zion, streaming to the Lord’s temple rebuilt on Mount Zion which will be lifted up above the other hills around Jerusalem. They will seek the Lord and walk in His ways. This implies a total change from the present world situation in which the overwhelming majority scoff and reject God’s word and walk in their own ways to destruction. There will also be a total change in how they relate to one another. Instead of war and hostility there will a peace settlement between all nations – including the currently intractable Middle East situation. 

In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria … In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria – a blessing in the midst of the land.

Isaiah 19.23-24

Isaiah 2.4 tells us there will be an end to all weapons production and military training. All this will happen because the word of the Lord will go out from Zion.  

The Lord Himself will be there to judge between the nations and settle their disputes. Psalm 2.9, Isaiah 11.4 and Revelation 19.15 say that He will rule the nations with a ‘rod of iron’ – in other words they won’t be able to vote him out of power or start making weapons of war or doing drugs or pornography or anything else that is evil in the eyes of the Lord. This will be a benevolent rule which will be for the welfare and provision of all the peoples on the earth.   

The redeemed of Israel will be gathered to the land of Israel and dwell there in safety.

He will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

Isaiah 11.11

What changes can we expect?

The Lord will bring about change in the natural world as the desert blossoms (Isaiah 35) and the waters of the Dead Sea are healed and become fresh, teaming with fish (Ezekiel 47). Even the animal kingdom will change as

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together and a little child shall lead them.

Isaiah 11.6

There will be abundant provision for all:  

But everyone shall sit under his fig tree and none shall make them afraid.

Micah 4.4

Do these prophesies make sense?

Such miraculous changes can only come about through the power of God. No great man can accomplish these things, so the Messiah who will do them must be more than a great man. He must be Immanuel / God with us. This conflicts with rabbinic teaching on the Messiah which says that he is a great man who brings Israel to keep the Torah and walk in the ways of God and brings peace to the nations. However, for the kind of changes the Prophets describe taking place in the Messianic Age, the Messiah must be more than a great man, He must be a divine person. A number of prophecies in the Hebrew Bible equate the reigning King Messiah with God.

This raises an issue of God as a plural unity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) as opposed to God as an absolute unity of one. There is evidence in the Hebrew text of the Bible that God is a plural unity so that it is possible for the Father to be reigning in heaven while the Son is reigning on the earth

For more on this see our article ‘Messiah a great man or a divine person’

(Also available in print form on request)

The prophecy of Zechariah 14 speaks of the coming of the Messiah and shows that the One who will reign is the LORD (Adonai / Yahweh). It says,

The LORD will go forth and fight against those nations as He fights in the day of battle.  And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which faces Jerusalem on the east. … And the LORD shall be King over all the earth.  In that day it shall be – ‘The LORD is one and His name one.

Zechariah 14.3-9

The word used for LORD here is the Hebrew term Yahweh which is only used of God. So, the LORD will stand with feet on the Mount of Olives (and the rest of a body!) and be king over all the earth. A number of other prophets speak of the Lord being present in the midst of His people.

In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Do not fear Zion, let not your hands be weak, The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One will save, He will rejoice over you with gladness.

Zephaniah 3.16-17

Cry out and shout O inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst.

Isaiah 12.6

During this time all idols and false religions will be abolished (Isaiah 2.17) and there will only be one LORD and one way to worship Him (and one universal language – Hebrew).

For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language that they all may call on the name of the LORD to serve Him with one accord.

Zephaniah 3.9

How can peace be achieved? And what about evil?

As people praise and walk in the ways of the God who made them, they will know peace and harmony and the ‘earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea’ (Isaiah 11.9). There will be a good one world government and one world faith in one God.

During this time children will be born in the normal way to the survivors of the tribulation who go into the Millennium. Long life will be the norm, but sin and death will still be a possibility (though not for those who have previously been resurrected and come back with the Lord in glorified bodies):

No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days, for the child shall die one hundred years old but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.

Isaiah 65.20

Because Satan is bound and unable to deceive the nations during the 1000 years and the Lord Jesus is ruling the nations, the ability to sin will be very limited.  But at the end of the 1000-year period:

Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.  They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.  And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.  The devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are.  And they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Revelation 20.7-10

Those who are rebelling against the reign of the Messiah will join Satan in his final rebellion against the LORD at the end of this period. This futile rebellion will end in complete defeat for Satan and all who join with him.  

This will be the end of the world as this earth is burned up and God creates a new heaven and new earth in which there will be righteousness. Satan and sinners will have no access (Revelation 21.22-27). All saved believers in the Lord will be taken to this new Jerusalem (Revelation 21-22). All unsaved will be thrown into the lake of fire at the Great White Throne judgement of Revelation 20.11-15. This will lead to the eternal state for believers and unbelievers alike – with only two possible destinies – heaven and hell.  

Now is the day of salvation. Yeshua / Jesus the Messiah is coming back soon. Avoid hell by accepting Jesus as Saviour now so that you will have a part to play in His glorious coming Kingdom.

Tony Pearce

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