Jesus’ Return!

Satan knows his fate, he won’t give up easily. But nothing will stop Christ the King’s return to earth. In this installment in our Back to the Future series, we will explore Armageddon in more detail, including Christ’s victory over the Antichrist. We will also take a look at what is happening in Heaven during the final part of the Tribulation. We will see God’s final fulfillment of His New Covenant to Israel: their national salvation. And finally, we will explore what happens after Christ’s victory but before His setting up of the Millennial Kingdom.


Through the Antichrist and the False Prophet, he gathers his allies for war against Israel at a place we now call Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16). Armageddon is in the valley of Megiddo, about 60 miles north of Jerusalem. The valley of Megiddo has not been a stranger to battles. “Over 200 battles have been fought in the region, from 1468 b.c. (with Pharaoh Tuthmosis III) to 1917 (with Lord Allenby of the British)”. (Enduring Word)

Satan’s posturing doesn’t concern God. He has expected it and even planned it. He supernaturally cleared Antichrist’s way to Israel by drying up the river Euphrates to gather the nations for judgment (Joel 3:2, 12).  God will not be mocked. The Psalmist describes God’s reaction to an attempt to defeat God like this: “The Lord “laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain (Psalm 2:4-6).

As the Antichrist gathers his troops at Armageddon, Babylon is attacked and destroyed by Antichrist’s enemies (Revelation 18:21). At this point, the Antichrist begins to move south towards Jerusalem, intent on destroying the Jews once and for all.  Jerusalem falls once again under Gentile control (Zechariah 12:1-3, 14:1-2; Micah 4:11-13) but not for long as Jesus is not far behind.

Celebration in Heaven

As the Tribulation’s end is near, a great celebration in Heaven takes place (Revelation 19:1-10). The heavenly hosts rejoice over the righteous judgment of Babylon and the avenging of those saints who have died at her hands.  A voice from Heaven urges those in Heaven to rejoice and be glad for the marriage supper of the Lamb to His bride.

The Bible applies the symbolism of marriage to Christ and the Church. Christ is the bridegroom and the Church, the bride.  God, the Father, initiated the betrothal of the Church to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2). There was a betrothal period in a Jewish marriage where the bride and groom remained apart until the wedding ceremony. The Father decided when the son would go get his bride for her presentation and the wedding ceremony.

Similarly, the Church and Christ remain apart during the Church Age. God, alone decides when He will send Jesus for His Bride. This sending and Christ’s return for the Church is what we call the Rapture. This is when the Church will be presented to Jesus (John 14:3). The wedding will take place after the Rapture probably at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The final supper is a symbolic meal that will signify the end of the ceremony. John sees Heaven celebrating the Church’s eternal wedding to Christ in Revelation 19:7-9.

  National Salvation of Israel

John the Baptist’s message to the Israelites at Christ’s First Coming was one of repentance and of the coming Kingdom (Matthew 3:2); however, the Nation of Israel rejected their Messiah and the Kingdom He offered (Acts 2:22-23). Because of this rejection, God partially hardened until all the Gentiles who will be saved are saved ( Romans 11:15, 25).

Jesus was heartbroken over His rejection by His own people, and in Matthew 23:37-39, he lamented that Jerusalem will not see Him again until they accept Him as their Christ. The Old Testament also points to this eventual reconciliation but says that before Christ goes to them, they must first confess their sins, humble their hearts, and seek God’s face (Leviticus 26:39-42, Jeremiah 3:11-18, Hosea 5:15). They cry out for Messiah. At that time, forgiveness for sin and impurity will flow through the land like a fountain (Zechariah 13:1-2). God will give them a new heart and a new spirit, and they will be God’s people, and He will be their God (Ezekiel 36:24-28). At last, they will call on His name and be saved! (Zechariah 13:9).

Christ’s Glorious Appearing and Return to Earth

Israel sees their prayers answered with Christ’s return. When they see Him, they will mourn and weep bitterly over their rejection of Him (Zechariah 12:10-14, Zechariah 13). But just as God promised, He saves Israel supernaturally from its enemies and from its sin (Jeremiah 31:34-35). The New Covenant is finally fulfilled for Israel!

Jesus’ Second Coming will be spectacular. He will come back to earth in the same way He ascended to Heaven, but unlike His ascension, every eye will see His return. Jesus describes His return in Matthew 24:29-31. He says:

“But immediately after the Tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

Jesus’ return is also described by John in Revelation 19:11-16.

“And I saw Heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in Heaven, clothed in fine linen white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

 Earth’s Armies Destroyed by Christ

After the Antichrist breaks the peace treaty with Israel and sets himself up in the Jewish temple, many Jews flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:15-16), most likely to the region of Bozrah and/or Petra (Isaiah 33:13-16 and Jeremiah 49:14-17). In Micah 2:12, we read that God gathers and protects His remnant while they are there.

Once the Antichrist successfully takes Jerusalem, his forces will move south to the desert towards  Jehosophat (Joel 3:2, 9-12) and Bozrah/Petra (Jeremiah 49:13-16) where the Jewish remnant is hiding. Christ will arrive at Bozrah and push the forces of Antichrist back towards Jerusalem. 

In Isaiah 63:1-3, Christ is depicted as approaching Jerusalem from Bozrah with bloody garments described as looking like “the ones who tread the winepress.” You will remember that John uses the imagery of a winepress when he is describing Christ’s judgment of His enemies at His Second Coming (Revelation 14:20 and 19:15).  Additionally, Joel uses the imagery of the treading of a winepress when speaking of the final judgment of Israel’s enemies (Joel 3:11-14). The bottom line is that Christ will destroy the Antichrist’s forces.

Zechariah 14 tells us that Jesus will stand upon the Mount of Olives as the victor over the forces of the Antichrist. As He stands, the Mount of Olives will split in half, and the Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem will be able to escape. This event occurs in conjunction with the seventh bowl judgment, which causes a great earthquake that splits Jerusalem into three parts. During this time, the light of the sun, moon, and stars will fade. Yet, we are told that in the evening, there will be light. Isaiah 60:19-20 tells us that this light will come from the Lord! Then living waters will flow from Jerusalem in both directions. The topography of this area will be forever changed; the land will be transformed into a plain.

Next, in Revelation 19:20-21, John sees the beast and the false prophet thrown alive into the lake of fire. The rest of the Antichrist’s armies were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Jesus (the Word).

Events Associated with Christ’s Return

From Daniel 12:11-12, we see an interval of time between the Tribulation’s end and the beginning of the Millenial kingdom.

“From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12 How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!”

1,290 days are given in v. 11 as the time period of the second half of the Tribulation. Yet, we know that there are 1,260 days in the last half of the Tribulation. This means there are 30 extra days. And then, Daniel tells us that the blessed will wait a total of 1,335 days. This adds 45 more days to the period. So, after Christ’s victory but before He sets up the Millennial Kingdom, there are 75 days. Let’s explore the events of this period.

Judgment on Satan

In Revelation 20:1-3 an angel comes down from Heaven holding a key of the Abyss and a great chain. He lays hold of Satan and binds him for a thousand years, throwing him into the Abyss, shutting it off, and sealing it over him. For 1,000 years Satan will be bound and not be allowed to deceive the nations.

The Resurrection of Tribulation Martyrs

Next, the Tribulation Martyrs, those who were beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their hand or forehead were resurrected. They would rule with Christ for 1,000 years. Revelation 20:4

The Resurrection of the Old Testament Saints

In Daniel 12:1-2, Daniel prophecies that after the Tribulation, “many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life.” This reference is specifically to Daniel’s people, the Jews.  Isaiah 26:19-21 further speaks to the bodily resurrection of the Old Testament saints, saying, “corpses will rise…awake, shout for joy…the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.”

Judgment of Living Israelites

We have seen the nation of Israel repent and turn back to God. But personal salvation is always a choice of the individual. Ezekiel 20:33-38 speaks to God’s “face to face” judgment of the Israelites after they are gathered back to their land. This judgment uses the imagery of a shepherd standing at the entrance to the sheepfold using his rod to count, examine and sort his sheep. He will separate those Israelites who have faith in Christ from those who do not.

 Judgment of Living Gentiles – Sheep/Goat Judgment

In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus describes the judgment of the Gentiles at the end of the Tribulation before the Millennial kingdom. Christ will sit on His throne with the nations gathered before Him. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. The sheep are those saved during the Tribulation. The goats are the unsaved who survived the Tribulation. The sheep are blessed and will inherit the Kingdom. The goats are cursed and will go to eternal judgment.

Stay tuned for our next segment where we talk about the Millennial Kingdom and Christ’s reign on earth!



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