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What’s Ahead—An Overview

What’s Ahead—An Overview

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 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, there are over 400 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 calculated at one chance in one hundred million billion.

More importantly for us now, there are hundreds more biblical prophecies about future events and world conditions. Some of these are now being fulfilled in our times, and they presage the fulfillment of yet others in the near future, even in our lifetimes. These future events are of such size and scope, and are so momentous in nature, that you will want 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.

Yet man has in this modern age invented weapons capable of previously unheard of death and destruction. Famine is a reality for millions, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 800 million people go hungry each day, and malnutrition in children contributes to over half of child deaths. Pollution, global warming, and the depletion of resources points toward even greater famine and resultant violence in the near future. And the Gospel has been taught in all nations, like never before in the course of history, by radio, television, and Internet.

Daniel, a Jewish prophet who lived 500 years before Jesus, wrote that in the end times travel, knowledge, and education would increase, something that has happened at an exponential rate in recent years and continues to do so. The labor that precedes childbirth doesn't go on indefinitely, and we believe there is now only a short time before events culminate in the return of Jesus Christ.

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2. The Antichrist
An evil man—called many things by the prophets, but most commonly referred to today as the "Antichrist"—will come to power at the head of a world government. His evil nature will at first not be so evident, 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 in the Bible the "Holy Covenant," that temporarily brings a measure of peace and security to the world. It will include a solution to the vexing problem of a just Israeli/Palestinian settlement. This agreement 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 man's dominion on Earth.

Approximately three and a half years into the agreement, after surviving what may likely be an assassination attempt, the megalomaniacal Antichrist will break the covenant, declare himself God, and abolish all religious worship except that of himself.

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4. The Image of the Beast
When the Antichrist breaks the covenant, the mysterious Abomination of Desolation is erected in the precincts of the Jewish Temple. The prophet Daniel wrote of it a number of times, and Jesus confirmed that when it is put in its place it will signal the beginning of the 1260-day period known as the Great Tribulation. Daniel refers several times 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.

It could be some sort of cybernetic representation of the Antichrist endowed with artificial intelligence allowing it to speak and issue orders. The Antichrist's government demands its worship! However, those who willingly comply are condemned to the same fate awaiting the diabolical 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." The Antichrist becomes fully possessed by Satan, and his government will 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 the "mark of the Beast." This will be a personalized account number somehow embedded, probably 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 helps those Christians and others who resist the Antichrist, and in their defense unleashes horrific pestilences and plagues on the Antichrist and his followers. We are also told how two of God's Endtime prophets will perform miracles and publicly defy the Antichrist. These two are probably not alone in having these powers available to them, as other believers could have comparable abilities.

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6. Nuclear War
At some point, probably near the end of the three-and-a-half-year 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, 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 and thus could possibly be Europe.

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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
In Heaven a celebration is then held 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 the enmity between animals—and between animals and man—will be gone. There will be those who survive the cataclysms surrounding Armageddon, people who neither followed the Antichrist nor believed in Jesus Christ. These live on in a simpler and righteous world, where loving God and others will be the governing rules.

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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 Jesus' 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. Then a beautiful new and significantly changed surface will be recreated on the Earth.

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13. The Great White Throne Judgment
After this, all people from the beginning of time who had not known or believed in Jesus will 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. And Satan will be cast into "the lake of fire."

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14. The Heavenly City
God's great pyramid-shaped heavenly city, the dimensions of which are an astronomical 2,200 kilometers square at the base and 2,200 kilometers high at the apex, will then descend to the recreated surface of the Earth. God and Jesus will dwell in that city with those who love and serve Them!

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And that is the happy ending. Although there are certainly frightening things looming in the near future, we can take heart that God is in control and that after the dark night there is a beautiful and eternal tomorrow waiting. All of these things will come to pass, and you can be prepared in the best way possible for all these events by asking Jesus into your life and heart now. He will answer your call and you will be blest with everlasting life and happiness now and in the future. Eternal life in the heavenly conditions of the new Earth and Heavenly City are yours for the asking by simply praying this prayer or one like it in your own words: Dear Jesus, I ask You to come into my heart. Please forgive me for all the wrongs I've done, and give me Your gift of everlasting life. Help me to love You, and help me to share Your love and truth with others. Amen.

For more detailed explanations of Endtime events and what is in store after them, see The Future Foretold, The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist, and From the End to Eternity, at www.countdown.org.