Today, I would like to conclude this series by presenting the sequence of events that lead to the time when, as true believers, we will spend eternity with our God. I will begin by describing the condition of the Church at this time.
Today, the Church is clearly pictured by the Church of Philadelphia and the Church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:7-22. Jesus says He will keep the faithful Philadelphia Church "from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (v. 10). The faithful will experience the Rapture, which could occur at any time (Jn. 14:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thes. 4:13-18).
On the other hand, He says that the Laodicean Church is a church in name only, and that it is operating with Him on the outside looking in (v. 20). Because He still loves these folks, He warns them, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent" (v. 19). Because the Tribulation immediately follows the Rapture, and it is God's seven-year chastening of His chosen people, Israel, I believe the Church of Laodicea, a church in name only, will have to endure the Tribulation, which is also known as the "Time of Jacob's Trouble," or "Daniel's Seventieth Week" (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:24-27).
Although there is a specific time the Tribulation begins, when the antichrist signs a seven-year peace covenant with Israel (Dan. 9:26-27), it is not until Israel sees the "abomination of desolation" take place (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15), that they recognize him. Jesus called the signs leading up to the desecration of the temple the beginning of sorrows, and described it as Israel’s birth pangs or time of travail (Matt. 24:8; Rev. 12:1-17).
Israel will finally understand that their true Messiah had to be Jesus, and having now been “born again,” Israel will spend the last forty-two months of the Tribulation in hiding (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15-28; Rom. 11:25-29; Rev. 12:1 - 18:24). Notice Israel now has a testimony concerning Christ: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 12:17). It is difficult for the Church to understand that “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26), but just as the Church is saved by the grace of God, so likewise, God intends to save Israel by His incomprehensible grace!
Following the Tribulation, Christ's Second Coming occurs (Dan. 2:34-35, 44-45; Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 19:11-21). After the defeat of the antichrist, the Lord begins His one thousand year kingdom known as the Millennium (Rev. 20:1-6). His Kingdom is followed by the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15), and finally, by an Eternity spent with God (Rev. 21:1 - 22:5)!!! WE WIN!!!