“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31).
HERE JESUS IS telling us that the world’s darkest period of tribulation and horror will abruptly end with the dawning of the brightest day. Jesus Christ Himself returns to gather His people to be with Him!
The Book of Revelation tells us that just prior to Jesus’ return, God will unleash terrible plagues and judgments upon the forces of the Beast, who will be doing their damnedest to wipe out all who refuse to take his mark. The Bible spells out exactly how long this period of “great tribulation” will last: 3½ years, or 42 months, or 1,260 days. (See Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 13:5; 12:6.) So on the day that the coming world leader breaks his peace covenant and sets up his image and demands the world’s worship, we will know exactly how long it will be till Jesus’ return.
Bye-Bye, Beast and Hello, Heaven!
The world will be shocked by the awesome sights and sounds that will herald Jesus’ Second Coming. When the greatest sign of all is revealed, Jesus Himself coming in the clouds, supernaturally beaming God’s power and might around the world, those who have rejected Him and worshipped the Beast will suddenly realize how very wrong they’ve been. “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him” (Revelation 1:7).
But for those of us who know and love the Lord, His return will bring us greater joy and deliverance and freedom than we have ever known! All God’s children who have died through the ages will be miraculously resurrected in new supernatural bodies, bursting out of their graves and ascending to meet Jesus in the air. Those of us still alive on earth will be instantly transformed with new bodies as well, and we’ll soar into the clouds to meet the Lord! Jesus will snatch His people out of the reach of their anti-Christ persecutors and whisk them away to the grandest, most thrilling victory celebration that’s ever been held – an event known as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Heaven! (Revelation 14:14-16; 19:6-9).
Meanwhile, the horrific wrath of God will be poured out upon the Beast’s forces, a time so terrible that the Bible says, “In those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them” (Revelation 9:6).
The superhuman hosts of Heaven will then return to earth, led by Jesus, to defeat and destroy the Beast and his wicked one-world empire in the dreaded battle known as Armageddon. The focal point of this great slaughter will be in and around the valley of Megiddo, near Haifa, Israel (the Hebrew word Armageddon literally means the height or mount of Megiddo). It will mark the end of man’s cruel rule on earth, as God Himself, through Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, and His heavenly forces take over the world to rule and reign and run it the way it should have been run all along if man had not disobeyed God and gone his own selfish way! And so begins a period known as the Millennium, a thousand years of peace, plenty and paradise on earth (Revelation 19:11-21; 20:1-4).