The Great Mystery Lesson Three

The Great Mystery*

(Before and After the Rapture)

*1 Corinthians 15:51

Dr. Roger G. Ford, Ph.D., P.E. (




Three lessons on the End Times, the Rapture, and some prophecies that do not seem to fit into the generally accepted explanations of what God has in mind for the end of the Age of Grace.


Lesson One:


  1. What is the Rapture? Why is it important or why do we care?


  1. When will the Rapture happen? How do we know when? Why do we care?


Lesson Two:


  1. What has to happen before the Rapture? Why do we think it is very close? What about America?


  1. What happens after the Rapture? What becomes of those “Left Behind”?


Lesson Three:


  1. What is the Tribulation? Why is it necessary? Who is it for?


  1. When does the Tribulation start? What leads into the Tribulation?


  1. How does the Tribulation end? What happens after the Tribulation?















Lesson Three



The culmination of the Bible is the Book of Revelation (“apokalupsis”  meaning an unveiling or an uncovering or a disclosure) or, as John titled the book in its first verse, the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Note that the entire book is but ONE revelation given to the Apostle John while he was exiled to the island of Patmos by the Roman emperor Domitian (A.D. 81-96). John was in his 80’s while there, the date was about 96 A.D., and he was isolated being supplied probably on a monthly basis from Ephesus across a small expanse of water in the Aegean Sea between the mainland and Patmos. John could see other islands from Patmos, but none were close enough to risk a swim to try to escape especially at 85!


Many say that Revelation is difficult to understand, and they are absolutely correct! Why? Because most attempt reading Revelation without a thorough knowledge and familiarity with the rest of the entire Bible. Some call the Book of Revelation the Grand Central Station of Bible Prophecy since so very many other books, both Old and New Testament point to, are referred to, and are essential to Revelation. Isaiah, Psalms, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, some of the minor prophets, Genesis, all the Gospels, Corinthians, Thessalonians, Peter, and others. Without studying the rest of the Bible and doing a journeyman’s job of referencing and cross-referencing the other books of the Bible, Revelation is difficult indeed.


But, with proper preparation and study, plus the indispensable leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Revelation becomes a, literally, open book full of insight into what the Lord has in store for His Chosen People, the Jews. The reason? To bring them back to Himself for their restoration and their salvation.


The main event, so to speak, of Revelation is the Tribulation. So we come to the fifth inquiry: What is the Tribulation? Why is it necessary? Who is it for?


What is the Tribulation? The Bible gives us a lot of information about this horrible period of seven years called the Tribulation that is fast approaching. The entire book of Zephaniah is devoted to it. In addition to many other Old Testament passages, like Isaiah 24, fourteen chapters in the book of Revelation focus on it (Revelation 6-19).

The first mention of the Tribulation in the Bible is found in Deuteronomy 4:27-30. Before the Children of Israel entered the Promised Land, Moses warned them that if they were unfaithful to God, they would be scattered among the nations. He then prophesied that “in the latter days” they would come under “distress,” and the result would be their “return to the Lord.” This is highly significant since it ties one of the first books in the Old Testament with the very last book in the New Testament. Plus, it plainly describes the true reason for the Tribulation – the Chosen People’s return to the Lord!

The prophet Daniel defined the length of the Tribulation. He said God would accomplish all His purposes for the Jewish people and put an end to their sin during a period of 70 weeks of years (490 years). Sixty-nine of those weeks of years (483 years) would lead up to the death of the Messiah. A calculation from the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem given by Artaxerxes Longimanus on March 14, 445 B.C. until Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-9) exactly measures 69 weeks of years or 483 years. The final week of years would occur at the end of the age, right before the return of the Messiah (Daniel 9:24-27). This concluding week of years (7 years) corresponds to the Tribulation for, as Daniel put it, it will mark the time when “the prince who is to come” will “make desolate” — a reference to the Antichrist.

The timing  or length of the Tribulation established by Daniel is confirmed in the book of Revelation where the Tribulation is divided into two periods of 3 1/2 years each (Revelation 11:3,7 and 13:5). The dividing point between the two halves of the Tribulation will occur when the Antichrist reveals himself by entering the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, stopping the sacrifices, and declaring himself to be god (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; and Revelation 13:5-6).

Why is the Tribulation necessary? Centuries after Moses wrote Deuteronomy, Jeremiah used the same terminology when he referred to the Tribulation. He called it “the time of Jacob’s distress (trouble)” (Jeremiah 30:7). In like manner, Daniel called it “the time of distress,” and he prophesied it would be the worst period of trouble in the history of the Jewish people (Daniel 12:1). Malachi stated it would be a time of refining for the Jews, as when silver is purified by fire (Malachi 3:1-4). And Zechariah used the same imagery when he prophesied that two-thirds of the Jewish people will perish during this time. Of the remnant remaining, he wrote, “I [the Lord] will bring the third part through the fire [and] refine them as silver is refined…” (Zechariah 13:8-9). The Jews must come to the realization that Jesus is and always has been their Messiah and that He is going to come back as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to fulfill what the devout Jews have always wanted in their Messiah.

How could a God of grace, mercy and love allow such an outbreak of unbridled terror and bloodshed? One reason is to satisfy the justice of God. God is characterized by grace, mercy and love, but He is also a God of perfect justice, righteousness, and holiness. Therefore, He must deal with sin. His justice demands it. Even His love compels it. How could a God of true love simply overlook the actions of a murderer or a pedophile?

The prophet Nahum understood the true nature of God. He wrote that “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him” (Nahum 1:7). That is the love and mercy of God. But the same prophet wrote (Nahum 1:2-3): “A jealous and avenging God is the Lord; The Lord is avenging and wrathful. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.”

Truly, the Lord is “slow to anger.” He allows the iniquities of Mankind to accumulate over long periods of time because He doesn’t wish that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). His desire, instead, is that all should come to repentance. But there is always a day of reckoning, just as there was in the days of Noah, and such a day has been set for this age. Paul referred to it in his sermon in Athens when he said, “He [God] has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:31).

A second reason for the Tribulation is to bring people to salvation. Amazingly, even when God pours out His wrath, His fundamental purpose is not to destroy but to save. Isaiah 26:9 explains it this way: “When the earth experiences Your judgments, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.”

The brutal fact is that God often has to hit us over the head with a two-by-four in order to get our attention and motivate us to repentance. The equally brutal and mostly inconceivable fact is that most people respond to such discipline by either cursing God or continuing to ignore Him (Revelation 9:20-21). But some people always respond in humility and are saved. As Billy Graham has put it: “The same sun that melts the butter, hardens the clay.”

When God’s wrath is poured out during the Tribulation, some hearts will be melted, but most will be hardened, illustrating once again that nothing is as “deceitful” and “desperately sick” as the heart of man (Jeremiah 17:9). Man is frivolous about sin. God is serious. The Tribulation will be a graphic expression of how serious God is about mankind’s rebellion against Him.

The signs of the times are shouting that we are standing on the threshold of the Tribulation. The message of the Holy Spirit is “Come out of Babylon” (Revelation 18:4). That message means for us to separate ourselves from the love of this world and prepare ourselves for eternity. For believers, it means a commitment to holiness. For unbelievers it means a commitment to Jesus as Lord and Savior before He returns as God’s avenger.

So, now we know that the target of the Tribulation is the Jews which answers who the Tribulation is for. But, there are multitudes of people left behind by the Rapture. The Bible is very clear that the Rapture is a pre-Tribulation event meaning that the Rapture, or the escape of the Church from the wrath of the Day of the Lord, will come before the start of the Tribulation, probably a few years before actually (refer to Lesson Two).

And, exactly when does the Rapture take place? We do not know exactly because it is imminent, it is sign-less, and we should expect it anytime and be ready to meet the Lord at all times. “Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:7–9). Therefore, we should be patient, not knowing exactly when to expect the Rapture, but knowing the general time for it to come. “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:34)

The Word is very clear that God has NOT appointed us to wrath, which is exactly what the Tribulation is – God’s wrath! In 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Paul assures us that God has not appointed His people to wrath. Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11, explains very succinctly that we, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, are children of light, not children of darkness. God’s wrath is for children of darkness or children of the devil (5:5-8; Ephesians 5:8). This wrath is plainly God’s anger against the unbeliever or the disobedient to God that will be poured out during the Tribulation. So, this means that Christians will be removed from the Earth by the Rapture. Even in Proverbs 3:26, the Old Testament specifies that God does not want His people to suffer wrath, “For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught”. Plus, the mid-Tribulation and post-Tribulation views, even the pre-wrath or 2/3 of the way through the Tribulation view, cannot be imminent because Revelation gives a blow-by-blow account of exactly what to expect throughout the Tribulation. You cannot expectantly wait for the Rapture and not know when it will come if you know what happens next.

What happens to those left behind, the unbelievers in darkness, is primarily a gruesome picture of death and destruction mixed with an amazing number of believers becoming Christians but losing their lives due to the hatred of them by Satan. The first half of the Tribulation is thought to be relatively peaceful, but that cannot be the case because the Antichrist’s rise to world domination power is not really complete until halfway through the seven years of the Tribulation. The first 3 ½ years contain wars and death and famine and pestilence as evidenced by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse or the first four Seal Judgments in Chapter six of Revelation plus the 5th and 6th Seal Judgments and all of the Trumpet Judgments. Realize that the judgments get continually harsher from Seal to Trumpet to Bowl.

Many believe that this first period of 3 1/2 years is going to be a time of peace that will be followed by 3 1/2 years of war. Some feel so strongly about this that they use the word, Tribulation, to apply only to the second half of the seven year period. This view is based primarily on a statement Jesus made that is recorded in Matthew 24. According to this passage, Jesus referred to the last half of Daniel’s 70th week of years as “the great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21). But it must be kept in mind that these words of Jesus were directed specifically to the Jewish people. The first half of the Tribulation is primarily for the violent rise of Antichrist, the setting up of his ten nation revived Roman Empire, and time for the 144,000 Jewish evangelists of Revelation Chapter six to bring multitudes into the Church. The Great Tribulation is defined correctly as the last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation which contains the Bowl Judgments or the most severe manifestations of God’s Wrath meant as a last chance to accept Him as the One True God and salvation through His Son, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Although this is not a pleasant subject, we must realize the amount of death that comes from the Tribulation. The Seal Judgments, the Trumpet Judgments, and the Bowl Judgments amount to 2/3rds of the world’s population dieing due to God’s Wrath, primarily, but also due to the Antichrist and Satan’s executions of Jews and Christians and those opposed to the Antichrist’s rule (who refuse to get the Mark of the Beast – Revelation 13). Let’s assume today’s world population is 7 billion souls. The Rapture probably takes no more than 10% (if that many) thereby reducing the post-Rapture population to around 6 billion plus. The in-between wars of post-Rapture and pre-Tribulation result in, again probably, 10% loss resulting in a population going into the Tribulation of approximately 5 ½ billion. Revelation tells us that fully 2/3rds of the world’s population dies during the Tribulation meaning 2/3rds of 5.5 billion or 3.3 billion. That leaves 1.7 billion alive to mount the great rebellion of the “Battle of Armageddon” which defines the very end of the Tribulation.

The relevant end time passages in Daniel and Revelation seem to make it clear that the acceptance of the Antichrist by the Jews will be as a political leader who works out a peace settlement what will guarantee that Israel’s God will not do further damage to the world and that he will enable them to rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem. There is no indication that the Jews ever accept the Antichrist as a spiritual leader or redeemer — as their Messiah. In fact, when the Antichrist enters the Temple in the middle of the Tribulation and declares himself to be God, the Jews revolt against him (Revelation 12:13-17). When the revolt occurs, the Antichrist becomes obsessed with annihilating the Jewish people and they flee to Petra. That is when the “Great Tribulation” spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24 will begin with 3 ½ years left before Christ’s Return!.

The Tribulation Holocaust that will occur during the last 3 ½ years of that terrible period will be far worse than the Nazi Holocaust. Two-thirds of the Jews will be killed (Zechariah 13:8-9) along with literally billions of non-believers. The Antichrist will be possessed by Satan (Daniel 8:24), and Satan is determined to annihilate the Jews. Satan’s obsession with the Jews stems from the fact that he hates them with a passion. He hates them because they gave the world the Bible. He hates them because the Messiah came through them. He hates them because God loves them, and because God chose them to be a witness of what it means to have a relationship with Him. And Satan hates the Jews because God has promised over and over in His Word that at the end of the Tribulation, He is going to bring a great remnant to salvation through faith in their Messiah, Yeshua (Romans 9-11).

The second half of the Tribulation will truly be the “time of great tribulation” for the Jews. That’s because they will live in peace during the first half of the Tribulation because of the most prominent enemies of Israel being destroyed prior to the Tribulation. And, since the Jews have promised through the so-called peace treaty with the Antichrist that God will not need to destroy and revenge Israel any further (a promise that Israel really has no right to make nor one that they CAN make), the Antichrist will be focused on conquering the world. Once he has accomplished that goal — as he will (Revelation 13:7-8) — he will go to Jerusalem, enter the Temple, stop the sacrifices, and desecrate the Temple by erecting a statue of himself (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). The Jewish people will be outraged and will respond in a revolt. When they do this, the Antichrist will become obsessed with destroying them. That will be his primary goal during the second half of the Tribulation.

To summarize, the Jews will live in relative peace during the first half of the Tribulation, but not the Gentile nations of the world. The wars of the Antichrist will devastate the world. One-fourth of humanity will die in the initial war (Revelation 6:8). That’s 1.5 billion people in today’s terms. According to Revelation 8 and 9, when the war resumes, one-third of those left alive will die (another 1.5 billion). The first half of the Tribulation is going to be anything but a time of peace. It will, instead, be a time of unimaginable carnage, for one-half of humanity will die in the first 3 ½ years!

The Jews will not be the only ones to suffer during this period of unparalleled trouble. The Bible makes it clear that all the nations of the world will experience catastrophic calamities. Isaiah says it will be “a day of reckoning” for all the nations of the world (Isaiah 2:10-17). Zephaniah says that “all the earth will be devoured in the fire of God’s jealousy” (Zephaniah 1:18). Here’s how the psalmist Asaph put it: “A cup is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine foams… surely, all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs” (Psalm 75:8).

The unparalleled horror of the Tribulation is spelled out in detail in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. Isaiah wrote that it will be a day of “terror of the Lord” when “the pride of men will be abased” (Isaiah 2:10,17,19). Zephaniah proclaimed that it will be a “day of wrath,” “a day of trouble and distress,” and “a day of destruction and desolation” (Zephaniah 1:15). Men will stumble around like they are blind and “their blood will be poured out like dust” (Zephaniah 1:17).

This scary picture is echoed in the New Testament. Jesus said it will be a time of tribulation “such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall” (Matthew 24:21). In fact, Jesus said it will be so terrible that if it were not stopped at the end of seven years, it would result in the destruction of all life (Matthew 24:22). The Apostle John states that the chaos will be so great that the leaders of the world will crawl into caves and cry out for the rocks of the mountains to fall upon them (Revelation 6:15-16).

The sixth inquiry we are seeking clarity on comes next: When does the Tribulation start? What leads into the Tribulation?


When will this terrible period begin? As we have already covered in previous lessons, the Bible says in general terms that it will start after the Jews have been regathered and have been re-established in their homeland and in their sacred city of Jerusalem. Specifically, the Bible says it will begin at a time when the entire world comes together against Israel over the issue of who will control the city of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:2-3). Today, we are on the very threshold of the Tribulation today as we witness the United Nations, the European Union, the Vatican, the Arab nations, and, unfortunately, America demanding that the Jews surrender their sovereignty over Jerusalem.


The specific event that will mark the seven year start of the Tribulation will be the signing of a peace treaty between Israel and the world — a treaty that will allow the Jews to rebuild their Temple (Daniel 9:27). But, before that can actually happen, as we have learned, much has to happen. First, the Rapture occurs catching away the Church to be kept “out of” God’s Wrath to come. Then, the in-between wars must occur to set up the world for a world dictator by the name of Antichrist. Those “in-between” wars are found in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and 39. Many other things happen also like the destruction of Damascus, the destruction of Elam, and the removal of He that restrains. But, when the world is ready for the Antichrist, or, in other words, all of the present day opposition is either removed completely or is intimidated to the point of silence, then the Antichrist can enter the scene in a relatively peaceful manner at first. Then, after the treaty is signed, he begins his war-enabled domination to start bringing the entire world into submission through intimidation, threat, murder, and invasion.


What leads into the Tribulation? The Olivet Discourse is full of what we call “signs of the times” that point to the Lord’s return. Some argue that these signs will be confined to the Tribulation and will be provided for the benefit of those living during the Tribulation. In other words, the signs have no relevance to the Church existing on earth before the Tribulation. But this cannot be true. We can look around us today and see the precise signs mentioned in the Olivet Discourse. They are already appearing on the world scene. There is no way these signs can be confined to the short period of the seven years of the Tribulation. They may intensify during that time, but they don’t just pop-up overnight once the Antichrist signs a treaty with Israel and the Tribulation begins.


Jesus said these signs would be like birth pains (Matthew 24:8). It is a fact that all the signs mentioned in the Olivet Discourse began to intensify like birth pangs during the 20th Century, increasing both in frequency and intensity.

Some counter by arguing, “But there are no signs of the Rapture. It is an imminent event that could occur any moment.” That’s correct, but the Olivet Discourse is not about signs of the Rapture. It’s about signs that point to the beginning of the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Jesus. And, since the Rapture could be about three years BEFORE the start of the Tribulation, we really should be looking up!


As we have learned, there is a time in-between the Rapture and the Tribulation that we, as saved by the Grace of God and the Blood of Jesus, will miss completely because of the Rapture. But, there are many signs of the times for those left behind after the Rapture that foretell of the Tribulation and exactly when to say it starts. The Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and 39 wars are easy signs to know the Tribulation is getting very close. But, the main sign is, as we have stated, the peace treaty in Daniel 9:27. That kicks off the seven year duration of the Tribulation and the reign of the Antichrist.


Now, the seventh and last inquiry. How does the Tribulation end? What happens after the Tribulation?


The sign most associated with the end of the Tribulation is the Battle of Armageddon. But, there is a far more significant event that takes place just before the so-called “battle” of Armageddon. That is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords! And we, as the Bride of Christ, come with Him from Heaven! (Revelation 19:11-16) We are all riding on white horses, clothed in fine white linen, following the One called Faithful and True, His robe dipped in blood, and “the name by which He is called is The Word of God.”


All the time we are in Heaven experiencing the Marriage and Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the world below has now gone through about three years of “in-between” prophecies, the entire seven year Tribulation with the Antichrist, his false prophet who gets the entire world to bow down to the beast (the Antichrist), and unimaginable death and destruction.

At the end of the Tribulation, Satan has been busy amassing an enormous army (Revelation 19:19), and Jesus captures the beast and the false prophet, throws them alive into the Lake of Fire as the first inhabitants of that dreadful place where total darkness, absence of God, total aloneness, and raging fire all exist simultaneously, and all of the that great army rebelling against the living God numbering in the millions are slain by a simple word from Jesus’ mouth! Jesus stops this “battle” with a word. Zechariah tells us about it. So, it’s not a “battle” at all but an instant devastation (Revelation 19:21).

Zechariah 14 says that the Lord is coming back to this Earth again. The passage is written in simple language that any ten year old can understand.  When His feet touch the ground (Zechariah 14:1-5), the Mount of Olives will split in half. The remnant of Jews left in the city will take refuge in the cleavage of the mountain. The Lord will then speak a supernatural word, and the armies surrounding Jerusalem will be destroyed in an instant. Verse 12 says that the destruction of the Antichrist’s armies and the kings of the East will unlike anything any man has ever seen, “…their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.” The Voice of Jesus is powerful to an infinite amount! Then, verse 9 declares that on that day “the Lord will become king over all the earth.” And that marks the end of the Tribulation. Thus says the Lord: “I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.” (Zechariah 8:3)

Jesus deals with the devil also. Revelation 20:1-3 tells us that Satan is bound by an angel (probably Michael) and thrown into the pit for a thousand years which is until the end of the Millennial reign of Christ. He then will be released for a short time to raise a final rebellion against Jesus Christ. More to come on that next.

And the last question is what happens after the Tribulation?

The answer to that one is that there is to be a Millennial reign of Jesus Christ upon the Earth for a thousand years which is a millennium. God has made several promises concerning the Millennial Kingdom.

First, God has promised that He will gather to the land of Israel the remnant of Jews who accept Jesus as their Messiah at the end of the Tribulation (Ezekiel 36:22-28 and Zechariah 10:6-9). He will pour out His Spirit upon this remnant (Isaiah 32:15; 44:3), greatly expand their numbers and their land (Ezekiel 36:10-11; 48:1-29), and make them the prime nation in the entire world (Isaiah 60-62). They will serve as an object lesson of the grace and mercy which God bestows upon those who turn to Him in repentance: “And it will come about that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you that you may become a blessing” (Zechariah 8:13). Zechariah says the blessings of God upon the Jewish remnant will be so great in those days that “ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’” (Zechariah 8:23).

A second reason for the Millennium relates to a promise which God has made to the Church. God has promised that the Redeemed in Christ will reign over all the nations of the world. This promise was given through the prophet Daniel in the following words: “Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him” (Daniel 7:27).

In the New Testament, Paul repeated the same promise in the simplest of terms: “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him” (2 Timothy 2:12). Jesus affirmed the promise in His letter to the church at Thyatira when He wrote: “And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron…” (Revelation 2:26-27). When John was taken to Heaven for a visit to the throne room of God, he heard a heavenly host singing a song that contained the following verse: “And Thou has made them [the Redeemed] to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth” (Revelation 5:10). This promise to the Church of worldwide dominion is going to be fulfilled during the Millennium. That is what Jesus was referring to in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Jesus will reign as king of the world from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem (Isaiah 24:23 and Zechariah 14:9). The Redeemed, in their glorified bodies, will help Him with His reign by serving worldwide as administrators, judges, and spiritual tutors to those who enter the kingdom in the flesh — and to their children (Daniel 7:18,27; Jeremiah 3:15; Luke 19:11-17).

Third, God has promised that a time will come when the nations will be provided with their greatest dream — namely, worldwide peace. This has been an international dream since the beginning of time, but it has proved to be impossibly elusive. Peace conference after peace conference has been held. Multiple treaties have been signed. World organizations have been formed. Yet, war continues to ravage the nations. God has promised to give Mankind and the earth a rest from its wars. But that peace will not come until the Prince of Peace returns. Only then will the nations “hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.” Only then will we realize the dream of a world where “nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war” (Isaiah 2:4). God has promised that He will flood the earth with peace, righteousness, justice, and holiness: “The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). Even the bells on the horses bridles and the pots in the kitchens will bear the inscription “Holy to the Lord” (Zechariah 14:20,21). These glorious promises of peace and rest and righteousness will be fulfilled during the Millennium.

Fourth, God has also made promises to His creation which He will fulfill during the Millennium. God has promised to remove the curse which He placed upon the creation due to the sin of Man. He has promised to deliver the Creation from its bondage of decay and to restore it to its original beauty, balance, and peace (Romans 8:18-23). The carnivorous animals will become herbivorous (Isaiah 11:6). The deadly snakes will cease to be poisonous (Isaiah 11:8-9). The plant kingdom will flourish and produce bountifully (Isaiah 35 and Ezekiel 34:25-31). The land of Israel will be so radically transformed that visitors will proclaim in amazement: “This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden” (Ezekiel 36:35).

Fifth, a question that many overlook is what happens to the Old Testament believers in Jehovah who had their faith counted to them as righteousness – such as Abraham, Noah, Moses, and many others? At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus Christ will return with all of the Christians who died during the church age and were raptured prior to the tribulation period (Revelation 19:11-15). After He defeats the armies of the Anti-Christ (Revelation 19:19-21), Jesus then resurrects all of the bodies of those Christians who died during the Tribulation and all of the Old Testament saints. Revelation 20:4 includes the Tribulation saints. “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the 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 upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years”- Revelation 20:4. The prophet Daniel predicted that the Old Testament saints would be resurrected when he said, “And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt” – Daniel 12:1-2. These saints receive their bodies after the Tribulation is over. It is important to remember that these souls are already in Heaven enjoying God. Jesus took them from Abraham’s Bosom (the “good” side or paradise section of Sheol or Hades – Luke 16:19-31) to Heaven. Ephesians 4:8-10 says Jesus went to the paradise section of Hades between the time of His death and resurrection. Christ then led those in Abraham’s bosom to Heaven (1 Cor. 15:20). Christ holds the keys to Hades (Rev. 1:18) and took the Old Testament saints to Heaven there to await the time that they receive their glorified bodies just as we, the New Testament saints, receive ours at the Rapture.

And last, but certainly most important, God is going to use the Millennium to fulfill promises which He has made to His Son. God has promised Jesus that He will be glorified in history to compensate in part for His humiliation in history. The Bible says point blank that Jesus will return to manifest His glory (Isaiah 24:23; 66:18-19; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). God also has promised that He will give Jesus dominion over all the world and that He will reign over the nations from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem (Daniel 7:13-14; Isaiah 2:2-4; Zechariah 14:1-9). He is currently serving as our High Priest before the throne of God (Hebrews 8:1). He is waiting for His Father’s command to return and claim all the kingdoms of this world (Hebrews 2:5-9 and Revelation 19:11-16).

The Millennium is the final dispensation or age in which God has taught mankind the lessons that he needed to learn in order to finally grasp that man cannot save himself, and the only hope for the restoration of relationship of man with God is His Son Jesus. The Millennium answers the question that man asks, “I could be sin-free if Jesus was visible and approachable!” Of course, the answer, as all the answers to the dispensations is that man cannot be sinless on his own.

The Millennium is essential for the fulfillment of all the promises that God has made to the Jews, the Church, the nations, and the creation. It is also essential to His determination to prove that the source of all evil is the fallen nature of Man, not the corruption of society or the devil, and that the only hope for this world is Jesus, not political reform or meditation or worship of some other so-called god. The One True God is the only God, there is no other. Most important, the Millennium is essential to God’s purpose in glorifying His Son. He is going to manifest the glory of Jesus before His redeemed saints and before all the nations of the world.

The Creator of this universe is a covenant-making God who is faithful to all His promises. He cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18). He cannot forget a promise (Deuteronomy 4:31). He is faithful even when we are unfaithful (2 Timothy 2:13). Just as He fulfilled all the promises related to the First Coming of His son, He is going to fulfill all those that relate to His Second Coming, including the promise of a millennial reign. Many in the Church may be ignorant of His unfulfilled promises. Others may have forgotten them. But God has not. He intends to fulfill every one of them. We are privileged to live in a time when we can witness God orchestrating the events of this world to the fulfillment of all the promises in His master plan.

The last and most glorious reality is what comes after the Millennium, the final dispensation. First, Satan is loosed from the pit for a “little while” (Revelation 20:3 and Revelation 20:7,8)), and he is able to recruit so many followers that they number as the sand of the sea! Incredible! Imagine living all your life with a visible Jesus as King over the entire Earth, and many of your brothers and sisters follow Satan instead. And this action proves why God has a Millennium – to prove to all of mankind that even if Jesus was visible and reigning on the Earth, there will still be those who choose their selfishness over righteousness. Jesus deals with this blatant rebellion swiftly. Revelation 20:9,10 says He brings fire from Heaven and consumes them all. Then He takes Satan himself and casts him into the Lake of Fire there to join the Antichrist and the false prophet as the only three inhabitants to date.

Second, the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15 occurs probably in the Valley of Gehenna after Satan is dealt with. The unrighteous dead from all of time stand before Jesus, the books are opened which contain all their works, and the most important book, the Book of Life, is also opened. All will be found deficient in works to gain salvation and escape judgment, and their names will not appear in the Book of Life which contains all the names of the redeemed. All are cast into the lake of fire there to exist eternally in everlasting torment (Isaiah 66:15 and Revelation 20:13-15). A way to look at this judgment is that these people who have turned their backs on God will forever be mad at God and/or their consciences will constantly remind them of their sin which generates the very fire that torments them forever. Not even God will ever be in that place.

Third and last, there is to be a new Heaven and a new Earth. Jesus simply “lets go” from His holding together (Colossians 1:17), and the entire universe explodes into fire (2 Peter 3:10 says, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved…”) Then, in Isaiah 64:17, Isaiah 66:22,23, and Revelation 21:1, the Lord will make a new Heaven and a new Earth for the redeemed to dwell and serve Him. Plus, the New Jerusalem will descend from Heaven (Revelation 21:2-4), rest on the new Earth, and our promised mansions or dwelling places will be there for us throughout eternity while we serve, learn from, glorify, and worship He who alone is worthy, Jesus Christ – Yeshua Hamashiach!! Maranatha!





















The Great Mystery*

(Before and After the Rapture)

*1 Corinthians 15:51

Dr. Roger G. Ford, Ph.D., P.E. (


Lesson Three


  1. What is the Tribulation?


  • Deuteronomy 4:27-30 – Moses prophecies that in the latter days the Children of Israel would come under “distress” and return to the Lord


  • Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 says a period of seven years comes just before the Messiah comes to put an end to Israel’s sin

Why is the Tribulation necessary?

  • The “time of Jacob’s trouble” is for refining the Jews as silver is purified by fire – Malachi3:1-4


  • Isaiah 26:9 says when God judges then righteousness is learned


  • We must separate ourselves from the love of this world and prepare ourselves for eternity

Who is the Tribulation for?

  • The Tribulation is primarily for the Jews, but many come to Christ who are not Jews


  1. When does the Tribulation start?


  • When all the world is against Israel


  • When the Antichrist signs the peace treaty with Israel


  • But many “in-between” prophecies must happen after the Rapture and before the Tribulation


What leads into the Tribulation?


  • The “signs of the times” or “birth pains” – Matthew 24:8


  1. How does the Tribulation end?


  • The Second Coming of Jesus Christ WITH His saints


  • Jesus speaks and all rebellious people in the army of the Antichrist are slain

What happens after the Tribulation?

  • The Millennial reign of Christ on the Earth for a thousand years


  • After the thousand years, the Great White Throne Judgment of all those who rejected God and Christ


  • A new Heaven and a new Earth and living in the New Jerusalem


The Great Mystery*

(Before and After the Rapture)

*1 Corinthians 15:51

Dr. Roger G. Ford, Ph.D., P.E. (


Lesson Three


  1. What is the Tribulation?


  • ______________ 4:27-30 – ________ prophecies that in the latter days _______would come under “distress” and return to the Lord


  • _________’s prophecy in _________ 9:24-27 says a period of ________ years comes just before the Messiah comes to put an end to Israel’s sin

Why is the Tribulation necessary?

  • The “time of __________’s trouble” is for refining the Jews as silver is purified by fire –____________ 3:1-4


  • ___________26:9 says when God ____________ then ______________________ is learned


  • We must separate ________________ from the _______of this world and prepare ourselves for___________

Who is the Tribulation for?

  • The Tribulation is primarily for the _________, but many come to Christ who are not ____________


  1. When does the Tribulation start?
  • When all the world is against ____________


  • When the ______________ signs the __________ treaty with ______________


  • But many “______________” prophecies must happen after the _________ and before the _____________


What leads into the Tribulation?


  • The “_______________________________” or “____________________” – Matthew 24:8
  1. How does the Tribulation end?


  • The ______________________________ of Jesus Christ WITH His saints


  • Jesus speaks and all ____________________________ in the army of the ____________________ are slain

What happens after the Tribulation?

  • The ____________________________ of Christ on the Earth for a _____________________years


  • After the thousand years, the ________________________ Judgment of all those who rejected God and Christ


  • A new ______________ and a new ________________ and living in the New _____________________