The Eschatological Need-to-Knows

This post serves as a foundation and an overview of the fundamental eschatological (end times) concepts and prophecies as described in the Bible. If someone were to read only one post on this website, I hope it would be this one.

One Sermon

The Olivet Discourse


The Olivet Discourse is one of Jesus' very last sermons during his ministry on Earth. Imagine if the disciples had asked Jesus, "Any last words?" and he responded with this sermon - that is how important this teaching is.

It is recorded in the synoptic gospels: Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21. The audience was (and still is) Jesus' disciples.

Birth Pains and Tribulation (Matthew 24:3-14)

At the beginning of birth pains Israel and the world will experience great deception, where many will be deceived and false messiahs will arise (like Muhammad, for example). There will also be wars and rumours of wars, like Ukraine vs. Russia, NATO vs. BRICS, WWI, WWII, WWIII, Cold War, Vietnam War, etc. Lastly, there will be famines and earthquakes.

Later into the birth pains, the church (Jesus' true disciples) will be hated and persecuted by the whole world (all nations). Many will turn away from the faith in these times either from fear of persecution, because of increased wickedness in the world, or because they have been deceived by the many false prophets that will arise in this time. However, out of this evil, at the time of the end of the birth pains (and/or perhaps at the end of the first 3.5 years of the final seven-year tribulation), the gospel of the coming kingdom is preached throughout all nations - fulfilling the great commission (Matthew 28:16-20).

The Great Tribulation (Matthew 23:15-22, 23:29-35)

The days of great distress (the final 3.5 years of the final seven-year tribulation), none like the world has ever seen, begin after the abomination of desolation is set up in the temple of Jerusalem (written about in Daniel 9 and 11). After these years, Jesus intervenes. He says that if he doesn't, then "no one would survive."

Jesus interrupts the great tribulation sometime after the sign of the Son of Man, where "the sun is darkened, the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken," which is referencing Isaiah 13:10, Isaiah 34:4, as well as Revelation 6:12-14.

A Parenthetical Step Back (Matthew 23:23-28)

In this portion of the sermon, Jesus warns his disciples again against deception. Specifically, he tells his disciples to look out for false messiahs and false prophets claiming they know where the messiah is and even performing great signs, wonders, and miracles. Jesus informs his disciples that his coming will be very obvious.

The Parables (Matthew 24:36-25:30)

The parables Jesus gave to the disciples contain rich connections that span across some of the most important eschatological concepts, books, and people throughout the Bible. They start when Jesus finishes talking about the great tribulation and begins comparing the end of days to the "days of Noah" (Matthew 24:36-41). In this specific parable, God raptures or "take[s]" (Matthew 24:40-41) the faithful from the earth into heaven before he judges the whole world, just like when God saved the faithful Noah (and his family) before judging the whole world with a flood (Genesis 7:16).

If we go back to the imagery of this story of Noah in Genesis, in particular the moment that God "take[s]" Noah before judgment, the imagery at this moment shares a striking resemblance to the parable of the bridesmaids awaiting the groom that Jesus talks about a few verses later (Matthew 25:1-13). In Genesis, God shut the door of the ark; "shutting them [(Noah and his family)] in[to]" the ark seven days before the flooding starts, and shutting out the rest of the corrupted world. In Matthew, Jesus describes the king locking the door when the groom comes for the wedding feast. When the five bridesmaids show up late, knocking on the door because they didn't bring enough lamp oil, they are not let in; they are shut out.

Lastly, if we consider the connection between the parable of the 10 bridesmaids with the later writings of John the Apostle, one of the audience members of the Olivet Discourse, similar eschatological themes of God rapturing his people out of end times judgment appear as well, and, in fact, these words are again straight out of Jesus' mouth (Revelation 1-3)! In particular, Jesus, in his letter to the church of Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13), speaks again about a door that only he opens and he shuts. This door is held open for the church until it is time for the "hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world" (Revelation 3:10) (i.e., the seven-year tribulation), and at that time no one but Jesus can open the door again.

The Great White Throne Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46)

After the antichrist is defeated at the end of the final seven-year tribulation at the second coming of Christ (Revelation 20); after the 1000-year millennial reign of Jesus, the King on earth (Revelation 20); but just before the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21-22); comes the Great White Throne Judgement where Jesus reads the names of those in the Book of Life.

Two Books

If you want to have a deep understanding you have to study these books, not just read them.

The Book of Daniel

The prophet, Daniel, is the only prophet Jesus addressed by name during his teachings. He referenced Daniel when he was teaching his disciples about the abomination of desolation on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24:15).

This abomination is written about in Daniel 11:31 and Daniel 9:27 and is when the Antichrist and his military forces abominate the temple and stop sacrifice and offerings (ref. "changes the times and laws" earlier in Daniel) at the 3.5-year mark of Jacob's trouble (the 7-year tribulation).

Naturally, this event makes one ask, "Who is the antichrist?" Especially since, just before and after the verse about the abomination, it is written that the antichrist rewards those who defect from the Holy Covenant (written in Jesus' blood). It is written that he will corrupt defectors with flattery (i.e., deception, what Jesus warned us about in the Olivet Discourse). We are responsible for knowing who this Antichrist figure is because the truth in Christ's word defends our minds against the enemy's great deception.

The rest of the book of Daniel answers the question of the identity of the Antichrist, among others. The prophecies in the book teach us about the empires that have ruled and will rule the world, and detail the sins that the final worldly empire will commit against the inhabitants of and surrounding Israel. However, throughout the tribulations of the writings, we are constantly reminded of the sureness and the power of God's coming final heavenly kingdom which is to rule all of creation forever.

Lastly, to dive deep into Daniel's prophecies, I recommend listening to FAI's Maranatha Global Bible Study series on Daniel.

The Book of Revelation

The book of Revelation is the longest and most detailed account of God's end game. The concepts, imagery, themes, ideas, and events described throughout the Bible all culminate here.

For example, there are many allusions to the concepts Jesus talked about in his Olivet Discourse, which is unsurprising because this is the Revelation from Jesus Christ after all - the same Son of Man who gave the Olivet Discourse (Revelation 1:1)! Specifically, scholars believe the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-17 is an allusion to the sign of the coming of the son of man, where “ the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken." Another important reference, perhaps the most important, to the Olivet Discourse is found in Revelation 20:11-15, where God separates the sheep (those whose names are written in the Book of Life) and goats (those who choose to live outside of God's presence - i.e., those who choose to die) for eternity.

Looking beyond the Olivet Discourse into the Old Testament, we see a reference to the final beast (Revelation 17) first referenced by Daniel in several chapters of his book. In the chapters following Revelation 17, we learn that this beast establishes the final city of Babylon, which parallels Daniel's time as he and Israel (God's people) lived in Babylon for 70 years. Additionally, we can be fairly certain that the 7-year period of Jacob's Trouble initially written in the book of Daniel consists of the very same judgment events laid out in Revelation because of the congruency of the details, timing, and eventual outcome of the abomination of desolation (Revelation 11, 13, 21-22).

There are many other eschatological references found in the book of Revelation. Many are references to the Old Testament, including one of my favorites in Revelation 20 which clearly references the very same empire (Gog and Magog) from Ezekiel 38 and 39.

To effectively connect all these dots, I highly recommend listening to FAI's Maranatha Global Bible Study series on Revelation. Also, it may be helpful to some who really like to do their research to use ChatGPT as a tool to connect the themes, imagery, and ideas in Revelation to other parts of the book and the Bible in general. Any tool, whether it is a podcast, an article, or a large language model, should be used properly, in community, and in prayer; but most importantly, tested against the true word of God in the Bible.

Three Prophecies

The Rapture

Paul describes the rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4, where he writes:

"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

Paul declares that Jesus will descend from heaven and gather those who belong to Him, whether they are dead or alive. He goes on to clarify the context of this event in 1 Thessalonians 5:

"Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief... For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him."

Paul is telling the church of Thessalonica that if they truly belong to Jesus that they are not appointed to his wrath that will come upon the Earth, just like God's wrath came upon the Earth in the days of Noah when He flooded the whole world. And just like Noah on his ark, we can expect Jesus to come to take us out of the Earth before his wrath overwhelms the wicked world. As Jesus stated in his Olivet Discourse:

"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man."

In his letter to the church of Thessalonica, Paul is clearly referencing this scripture that Jesus himself breathed into existence. And if there's any doubt in your mind that we may be saved through wrath instead of saved from wrath, Jesus goes on to say this:

"Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

The worldwide judgment, consuming the entire Earth in fire instead of water, will not take one man and leave another; it is the rapture of the church that does this before the wrath. This rapture, if it comes before the wrath of God, comes before any of the events that occur after Revelation 3. After all, we know that it is Jesus himself punishing the Earth when he begins to open the seven seals in Revelation 4:

"And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?' But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it... Then one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.'”

To learn more about the rapture, I recommend checking out Jimmy Evan's recent rapture teaching, FAI's rapture series, and Robert Breaker's YouTube channel.

The Rebuilding and Worship in the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount

The rebuilding of the Jewish temple is one of the most concrete prerequisites before Jesus can come back. After all, in order for the antichrist to abominate the temple at the 3.5-year mark of the final 7-year tribulation (go read Daniel!), there must be a temple built and worshiped within by God's chosen people - the Jews.

One of the most miraculous steps in this process was on May 14, 1948, when Israel became a nation in one day, fulfilling the prophecies declared in Isaiah 66:8 and Ezekiel 37. Many do not realize how prophetically significant a Jewish homeland in the promised land is, and even fewer realize that the way the modern Jewish state of Israel was formed is a direct fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

Today, Jews from many different walks of life seek to rebuild the temple. For example, the conservative religious right at the Temple Institute is actively preparing priests and furniture, and some even claim that the institute knows where the Ark of the Covenant resides. Further, they're preparing a rare Red Heifer sacrifice which, according to Jewish custom, purifies an entire generation and is required to rebuild the temple. Even the most powerful and influential Jews in the world like Yuval Noah Harari, a top advisor at the World Economic Forum, seek to change the laws (Daniel 7:25) and rebuild the temple in order to create a utopian society.

Lastly, many who are familiar with the eschatological scriptures also see the treaties like the Abraham Accords, which normalize relations between Israel and many of its Muslim neighbors. If you're at all familiar with the tensions and conflict in the middle east over the last 80 years, normalization of relations between the Jews and others who lay claim to the promised land is clearly something that would need to happen before the Jewish temple could be rebuilt. If you're not familiar with this topic, Ray Bentley provides valuable insight in this teaching. A peace accord not so far off from the Abraham Accords is also a prerequisite to Jesus' return and is the first definitive event that reveals the antichrist to the world. It is written in Daniel 9:

"The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."

In other words, keep your eyes on Jerusalem. If you see a temple being rebuilt, look at who signed a treaty just before or just after its construction began. One of these men is the antichrist.

The Mark of the Beast

The mark of the beast is written about first in Revelation 13:

"It [the antichrist's empire] also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666."

It is mentioned next in Revelation 19:

"But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image."

The last mention of the mark of the beast is in Revelation 20:

"And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years."

While there is mystery related to the mark of the beast (a lot of people get hung up on the name of the beast, number of the beast, 666, etc.), the Bible is very clear about a few characteristics of the mark:

  1. The mark is taken on the wrist and/or the forehead.
  2. After the antichrist's empire implements the mark of the beast, no one can participate in the mainstream, global economy without it.
  3. The false prophet is only able to perform signs for and delude those who had received the mark of the beast.
  4. Those who take the mark of the beast are not resurrected at the first resurrection, and they do not rule with Christ during his physical 1000-year reign on Earth.

When I compare these four points to the world we live in today, the first thing that comes to mind is the Covid-19 vaccine. That is not to say the vaccine is the mark of the beast, just to be clear. However, there is a remarkable parallel to the mark if you simply consider that the mandates and laws enforced (granted, for a short time in most cases) in what were known to be the most freedom-filled countries on Earth banned people from working (selling) and going to certain stores, restaurants, movies, concerts, etc. (buying) if they did not take the Covid-19 vaccine. To take it even further, the Canadian government froze the bank accounts of any citizen who supported truckers' rights to medical freedom in this arena.

It is not hard to imagine how these legal precedents in symphony with the rise of tap-to-pay digitalization and automatization (think of Apple Pay, Amazon One, or already-implemented Swedish microchip technology), crypto-currency/central bank digital currencies, electronic tattoos, and the massive surveillance and data processing capabilities of artificial intelligence (just look at China's social credit system) could be combined at the right place and at the right time by the right leader (the antichrist) to create the mark of the beast reality described when John says that no one without the mark could buy or sell.

When considering points one and three (above), one could also imagine how John may be hinting at some sort of transhumanist aspect of the mark of the beast, whereby those who have it have a mind of God-given flesh (the brain) and silicon (e.g., Neuralink). After all, it is not totally out of the question that the mark of the beast could introduce some sort of mind control mechanism that allows the taker to be deceived by what they believe to be miraculous signs and wonders (just look at AI-generated deep fakes). Some prophetic teachers (like JD Farag in this teaching) go as far as to say that the section of the statue corresponding to the antichrist's empire, which is a combination of iron and clay, as described in Daniel 2 represents the unholy combination of silicon and flesh, or technology and man.