In the book The Last Trumpet: The Mystery of God is Finished and a New Age Begins, author Robert Johnston explores biblical prophecy and the promises of God that relate to the end times. This excerpt is from chapter 1.
THIS PRESENT AGE
The Bible word used for “age” is aeon or aion, which means a period of time. It could refer to the past, the present, or the future. The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible says the following about the word aeon: “The present age is transitory and evil, its values contrary to those of God; the future age is that in which God holds undisputed sway.”1
THE BEGINNING AND END OF THIS PRESENT AGE
The beginning of this present age, as used in the Bible, refers to the period or day when sin and death entered the world in the garden of Eden. On this day Satan became the god of this world and reigned over evil in the world. The present age will end on the day Antichrist is defeated, Satan is bound for a thousand years, and Christ begins to reign in righteousness for a thousand years over all the kingdoms on earth. The day of the Lord will mark the end of this present age and will come after the last trumpet is sounded and announces God’s wrath.
The apostle John was raptured in his spirit on the day of the Lord (Rev. 1:10). A voice told him to “write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter” (v. 19). He was allowed to see the events of the last days, and he saw that great day when the last trumpet will sound, and he wrote what he saw. “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever’” (Rev. 11:15 NASB).
Even after incurring many judgments effecting one third of the world (which will precede God’s wrath), the defiled and wicked will not repent of their sorceries, murders, immoralities, or thefts. The age of grace will have ended for those people, and at the sound of the last trumpet, God’s angels will pour out seven vials (bowls) of wrath on the earth in the following order:
- Grievous sores will come on those who possess the mark of the beast.
- The sea will turn to thick blood, killing all sea life.
- Rivers and fountains will turn to blood. No one will be able to drink from them.
- Mankind will be scorched with fire and heat, and they will blaspheme God.
- Antichrist’s kingdom will be thrown into darkness. People will gnaw their tongues in pain.
- Evil spirits will gather the kings of the world at Armageddon to battle Christ.
- The greatest earthquake in history will divide Jerusalem into three parts and destroy the cities of the world, including Babylon. Every island will disappear, and the mountains will be leveled. One-hundred-pound hailstones will fall on mankind.
We know when and how this present age began, and we can see in the Scriptures how this present age will end. But what do we know about the beginning of the end? The Scriptures indicate that the beginning of the seven-year tribulation period will be the beginning of the end (“the beginning of sorrows” [Matt. 24:8]; also see Luke 21:9). God told Moses—at the time Moses was teaching the statutes to the congregation—that Israel would one day turn from God and be scattered among the nations but that they would return to him during the time of tribulation. “When you are in tribulation and all these things come upon you, in the latter days you will turn to the Lord your God and be obedient to His voice” (Deut. 4:30 AMP).
THE SEVEN-YEAR TRIBULATION PERIOD
The Old Testament prophets addressed their prophesying about the tribulation and the day of the Lord to the nation of Israel, and the events they described seem to be mostly concentrated in that nation. To understand when this tribulation period will begin and the nation of Israel will be grafted back into God’s plan, we must first understand a vision the angel Gabriel gave to the prophet Daniel for the nation of Israel. The vision concerns seventy weeks, which are actually seventy weeks of years (70 x 7) or 490 years God gave to Israel to fulfill his plan (Dan. 9:24). In the next chapter we will discuss that vision to better understand the response Jesus gave his disciples about when all these things will take place.
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