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What’s Ahead—The Future Foretold

What’s Ahead—The Future Foretold

The Family International

Current predictions about the future of the world run from the utopian to the cataclysmic. Is the world headed for a bright or dismal future, or both? Will humanity ever be able to overcome its legacy of centuries of conflict and short-sighted exploitation and build a unified society of peace and harmony? Or will the earth descend into chaos and become an environmental wasteland?

The prophets of the Bible foretold amazing things about the future. Many of their predictions have already come to pass. For instance, the general consensus among scholars is that there are over 300 prophecies about Jesus Christ, all written down hundreds of years before His birth, that were fulfilled during His lifetime on earth. The chance of even eight of those prophecies being fulfilled in one man have been estimated at one chance in one hundred million billion.1

More importantly for us now, there are hundreds more biblical prophecies about future events and world conditions. Some of these are being fulfilled in our times, and they presage the fulfillment of yet others in the future, perhaps even in our lifetimes. These future events are of such size and scope and are so momentous in nature that the Bible warns us to be prepared for them when they happen.

Our future was predicted thousands of years ago. You can know that future.

The following is a short summary of the events and conditions the Bible predicts are to come in chronological order.

1. Signs of the Times

Today, conditions prevail and events are taking place that Jesus said would signal His return and the end of the world as we know it. Jesus, as well as several biblical writers, likened these signs to a woman in labor prior to giving birth. Many of these "birth pains” such as war, famine, earthquakes, and pestilences, have been evident for a long time.

In this modern age, humankind has invented weapons capable of previously unfathomable death and destruction. Famine is a reality for millions, and the UN World Health Organization estimates that over 600 million people go hungry each day, and malnutrition in children contributes to over half of child deaths.2 Pollution, global warming, and the depletion of resources points toward even greater famine and consequent violence in the near future.

One bright aspect of the modern age is the global spread of the Good News of the Gospel, made possible by modern communication media such as radio, television and the Internet. As a result, the Gospel has been taught in all nations like never before in the course of history.

Daniel, a Jewish prophet who lived 500 years before Jesus, wrote that in the end times travel, knowledge, and education would increase, which has happened at an exponential rate in contemporary history and continues to do so. The labor that precedes childbirth doesn't go on indefinitely, and it will be only a matter of time before events culminate in the return of Jesus Christ.

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2. The Antichrist

A powerful empire will arise on the world stage, led by a person referred to in the Bible as a “vile person,” “man of lawlessness” and “son of perdition,” but most commonly referred to as the "Antichrist," who will come to power at the head of this world government.

His evil nature will not be so evident at first, and many will regard him as a savior because he will be able to bring solutions to some of the world's most intractable problems such as a more equitable distribution and consumption of resources; resolution of long-standing hostilities between nations, ideologies, and religions; and reduction of economic instability and exploitation. He will be a man of war and yet gain power by both intrigue and nonbelligerent means. He is, however, in league with Satan, and in the end will become the embodiment of evil.

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3. The Covenant

The Antichrist will initiate, or at the least be very much involved in, an agreement called the "holy covenant" in the Bible, which will temporarily bring a measure of peace and security to the world and will allow the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The signing of this covenant will signal the start of the last seven years of humankind's dominion on earth and this present age of human history.

Approximately three and a half years into the agreement, after surviving what may possibly be an assassination attempt, the Antichrist will break the covenant, declare himself God, and abolish all religious worship except devotion to himself and his totalitarian world order.

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4. The Image of the Beast

When the Antichrist breaks the covenant, the mysterious "abomination of desolation" will be erected in the precincts of the Jewish Temple. The prophet Daniel wrote of it several times, and Jesus confirmed that when it is erected there it will signal the beginning of the 1,260-day period known as the Great Tribulation. Daniel refers in his writings to this abomination's capacity to bring desolation. In the book of Revelation, it is called the "image of the beast" and it has power to cause those that do not worship it to be killed.

This image could be some sort of cybernetic representation of the Antichrist endowed with artificial intelligence that will allow it to speak and issue orders. The Antichrist's government will demand that all people worship it. However, those who willingly comply will be condemned to the same fate awaiting the Antichrist.

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5. The Great Tribulation

After the covenant is broken, the next three and a half years will see the world plunge into unprecedented social chaos. This period of time is known in the Bible as the "Great Tribulation." During this time, the Antichrist and his government will systematically persecute those who refuse to worship him.

An electronic monetary system will be put in place, and everyone wishing to "buy and sell" will be required to receive what the Bible refers to as the "mark of the beast." This will be a personalized account number somehow embedded, possibly in the form of an electronic chip, in people's right hands or foreheads. This account number is enigmatically linked to the number 666. God's Word warns people not to receive this mark.

Meanwhile, God will help Christians and others who resist the Antichrist, and in their defense will unleash pestilences and plagues on the Antichrist and his followers. We are also told that two of God's prophets will perform miracles and publicly defy the Antichrist.

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6. Nuclear War

At some point, likely near the end of the three-and-a-half years of Great Tribulation, the Antichrist and "ten kings" who join forces with him will destroy the mysterious "Babylon the Great," in what sounds like a nuclear holocaust. Scripture indicates that this Babylon is not the ancient city or empire by that name, but rather the great worldwide, materialistic, capitalistic system, currently epitomized by—but not limited to—the USA. According to the visions of the prophet Daniel, the ten kings who join with the Antichrist emerge from the ancient Roman Empire.

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7. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

At the end of the Great Tribulation, Jesus will return. The sun and the moon will be darkened, but then a bright light will be seen around the world, followed by the sound of a mighty trumpet. Jesus will be seen by everyone as He appears in the clouds of the sky surrounded by angels. Then He will rescue His followers out of this world, and they will receive new immortal bodies and be caught up from the earth in what is called the Rapture.

Scripture is clear that this event occurs "immediately after the Tribulation" and not before, as portrayed in recent popular novels and movies.

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8. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

A celebration is then held in heaven, called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. One of the titles for Jesus is the "Lamb of God," (John 1:29) and His bride is all those who believe on Him. (Romans 7:4) The marital metaphor is used in the Bible to describe the intimate spiritual unity between Christ and His people, and the fervency of the loving union of heart, mind, and spirit that accompanies this relationship.

During this Marriage Supper, Jesus will unite with those He rescued in the Rapture, and His followers throughout the ages, and at His Judgment Seat He will reward them with eternal crowns of life.

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9. The Wrath of God

The devastating plagues described in the Bible as the "wrath of God" will be poured upon the world, at the same time that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is being celebrated, specifically targeting the Antichrist and his forces.

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10. The Battle of Armageddon

On a plain in northern Israel, the Antichrist will muster his armies for his final campaign against the nations that still oppose him. At that time Jesus and His heavenly army will return to earth to utterly destroy the Antichrist's forces and deliver those who opposed his tyranny. The Antichrist and his leading henchman, the false prophet, will both be cast alive into the lake of fire, a place of punishment. Satan, who plagued humankind throughout history and possessed the Antichrist, will be imprisoned in the "bottomless pit."

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11. The Millennium

The restoration of the war-damaged earth will then begin. Jesus will rule on earth for 1,000 years, assisted by those who had been His followers in their earthly lives. This time is commonly called the Millennium and will be a veritable golden age compared to the world that preceded it. Peace and harmony will be largely restored to the world and enmity between animals—and between animals and humankind—will end.

There will be those who survive the cataclysms surrounding Armageddon, people who neither followed the Antichrist nor were believers in Jesus Christ. They will live on in a simpler and righteous world, where loving God and others will be the governing rule.

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12. The Battle of Gog and Magog

At the end of the Millennium, Satan will be released from the bottomless pit. He will recruit followers, and form a rebellion against Jesus and His government. Although it seems inconceivable, apparently he will find plenty of followers who rebel against the conditions of Christ's benign but firm rule in the Millennium.

That rebellion will be obliterated, along with the entire surface of the earth in the Battle of Gog and Magog, after which a beautiful new and significantly changed surface will be recreated on the earth.

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13. The Great White Throne Judgment

All people from the beginning of time who had not known or believed in Jesus will then be resurrected, and will stand before God's throne to be judged. They will be either rewarded or punished according to their works, and assigned to their places in the hereafter. Satan will be cast into "the lake of fire."

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14. The Heavenly City

God's great heavenly city will then descend to the recreated surface of the earth. God Himself will dwell in that city with those who love and serve Him. The Bible tells us that God will wipe away ever tear, and there will be no more death, sorrow, crying or pain. Justice will reign, and there will be no more wars, oppression, power struggles, racial prejudice, disparity between rich and poor, poverty, disease, tragedy, or injustice.

The Bible tells us that God is a God of love (1 John 4:8). His kingdom will be filled with love, beauty, peace, comfort, joy, and compassion, and will be enveloped in the love of God Himself.

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And that is the happy ending. Although there are frightening events looming in the future, we can take heart that God is in control and after the dark night there is a beautiful and eternal tomorrow waiting. These events will come to pass as foretold in the Bible, and you can be prepared in the best way possible for the future by inviting Jesus into your life and heart today. He will answer your call and you will be blessed with His presence and love from this day forward and on into eternity. You can simply pray this prayer or one like it in your own words:

Dear Jesus, I believe that You died for me and that You love me. I know I need Your presence in my life, and I open my heart and ask You to come in. Forgive me for my past sins. Thank you for Your free gift of everlasting life and for Your forgiveness of all my sins. Help me to love You and to share Your love and truth with others. Amen.

For more information regarding Endtime events, visit www.countdown.org.