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New York, NY — It is an understandable conclusion to think somehow in 2020, humanity has slipped into the apocalypse. We have seen wildfires, a pandemic, double-barreled hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, nearly slipped into a nuclear war, and we endured the virtual DNC. No one has had a good year in 2020, but for as horrible as 2020 has become, we can be certain the apocalypse has not yet arrived. Here’s how…
Although the term “apocalypse” is never found in the Christian Bible, everything we know of the end times comes from the holy scriptures. Daniel 11 and 12 and Matthew 24 gives us the most complete picture of the events that must take place before the end of times. Revelation 4-6 picks up with the events kicking off the great apocalypse. 1 Thessalonians 4 and Luke 21 also shed light on end-time events. Based on these scriptures, we can safely say we have not yet started the apocalypse.
Before the apocalypse begins, scripture teaches the Christian church will be raptured away. First, we will hear the blast of a trumpet from heaven; the ominous and booming sound will be heard globally and will surely catch everyone’s attention. The trumpet blast serves as a heavenly signal to humankind that things are about to change.
Next, “…the dead in Christ will rise…”; Imagine the horror of this scene for a moment. The body of every perished saint from all of human history will be called away up into the air. Every bone from the ocean floor will be resurrected, caskets from every graveyard will be opened, and even the bodies buried beneath city buildings and sidewalks will be called up. The carnage of this resurrection will be immense.
Then “… we which are alive and remain…” will be called up too. Immediately following the resurrection of the dead will be the rapture of the living. Millions of people will suddenly and simultaneously disappear. Cars will be left without drivers, families will be torn apart, and world leaders will vanish. Of course, the MSM will call it terrorism and still denounce the existence of God.
All of this desolation will open up the crumbling governments of the world to accept a single, centralized leadership of a new world order – the Antichrist. Even today, as a global pandemic cripples national economies, global leaders look towards the WHO and the UN for crisis leadership. Imagine what the response of world leaders following the rapture of the Christian church will be. The initial message of the antichrist will be one of unity: “We are all in this together.” Sound familiar?
For as much as 2020 has been a horrible year, the events of the apocalypse will be far, far worse. Twenty-one specific judgments will be released on Earth over seven years: 7 Seal Judgements (Rev. 6), 7 Trumpet Judgments (Rev. 8-9), and 7 Vial or Bowl Judgements (Rev. 15-16). This helpful chart lists the order of events and the specific details of each judgment. Following these judgments is the Battle of Armageddon, at which time the literal “cup of God’s wrath” will finally be emptied onto Earth. So, no, 2020 is not the apocalypse.
As dark as the apocalypse sounds, it’s actually only a small part of a greater story written by God. The story is about a Savior who came willing to redeem a fallen and hopeless race. Although His forgiveness is mostly rejected, a repentant few do find refuge in His grace. Ultimately, His side – the side of good – conquers all evil, and the apocalypse is only one step towards that end.
It may not happen in 2020, but, in the end, good eventually wins. Because of God’s grace, the children of God won’t be on Earth for the apocalypse, and those who aren’t on God’s side still have time to come to faith. However, because God is perfect and holy, His nature of justice and righteousness demands that every unrepentant aggressor face his/her sentence.
Thus, at the end of time, every sin ever committed. Every act of corruption, each racial injustice, every abuse of power, and each lie ever told by a politician will either be 1) forgiven by grace or 2) paid for by the sinner in an eternal hell. Either way, each person’s sin account will be closed, and justice – a balancing of the scales – will be established. So, for as bad as 2020 seems, this is not the apocalypse, and all hope is not lost. The good side wins in the end.
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