Introduction To End-Times




John Hoole - November 14, 2010





How many of you like to watch the odometer of your vehicle click over to a major milestone.  I remember our last car, and when it turned over to 100,000 miles.  I wanted to witness it when it turned.  I knew I would probably not own the car when the next big rollover occurred at 200,000.  On December 31, 1999, most of us were watching the countdown to a new millennium.  Y 2 K we called it. 


I believe we are seeing the odometer or the time-clock of this world and its history setting the stage for the next major milestone in God’s plan.  And today, we begin a brand new series on the End Times.


In a matter of minutes on September 11, Americans were forced into the world of terrorism.  Despite the fact that terrorists repeatedly declared their intentions against the nation they called the “great Satan,” – the land of the infidels.  Despite the fact that they stated they would kill and maim massive numbers, few people took them seriously.  It just couldn’t happen here, we thought.  But our free and open society made it quite easy for them to carry out their deeds.


When things happen like what happened in our country on September 11, there is always a surge of interest in Bible prophecy.


I have seen the interest in Bible prophecy ebb and flow during my lifetime.  In the 1940s, we had what was thought to be the war to end all wars (WWII) and many sermons and books were written on end-times during this time.  Then the interest waned for 15 – 20 years, until the 1960’s, when America was engaged in the Vietnam War, and there was much political unrest and violence in our streets.  And again, there were dozens, possibly hundreds of books written on the End-times.


It was during this time (late 60’s) that Hal Lindsey wrote his best seller, The Late Great Planet Earth.  In 1972 he writes his next best seller, Satan is Alive On Planet Earth.  In 1973 – There’s a New World Coming.  In 1974 – The Liberation Of Planet Earth.


After the Viet Nam War, the interest in end-time prophecy died down.  But in 1990, when the 1st war in the Persian Gulf flared, suddenly apocalyptic literature became one of the hottest subjects in Christian bookstores.  Even Time magazine featured a two-page article on this biblical subject.


In the late 90’s, with the coming of Y2K, there was again a flood of renewed interest in the end times --- in the apocalypse.  And now, the terrorists attacks on our own soil.


Books on Bible prophecy – including everything from hidden Bible codes to personal identification systems that might be the precursor to the Mark of the Beast – 666, were published,  Today you can find prophecy books on practically every thing from A to Z.  From Arafat to Zhirinovsky or from Armageddon to Zionism


Let’s face it – we all have different degrees of concern and curiosity about “if, how and when” the world is going to end.  Maybe you haven’t really given it a thought.  Maybe you can’t think about anything else.  Allow me to suggest a quick quiz to determine your “End Times Tolerance.”


You are “End Times Impressionable” if……


 If we have described you, then this series of lessons is for you


You are “End Times Insensitive” if……


If these statements describe you, then you need to get a clue.  You have either been hiding under a rock, or you have just returned from a decade-long vacation in Antarctica without the luxury of CNN or USA Today.  You also had better be here each week, to get up to speed with what is really going on.


Here is why each of us need this series of lessons.  Everybody has a theory about how the world is going to end.  Religious scholars look to ancient sacred manuscripts and predict the coming judgment of God.  Scientists warn of meteor showers which will pummel the earth.  And the publishers of supermarket tabloids predict an invasion of mutant alien creatures who are descendants of Elvis.


I believe there is a natural curiosity that people have about the future.  Even people who, under normal circumstances, are not very religious, are fascinated about this issue.  Why else would  the sayings of Nostradamus and the Mayan Calendar be so popular on TV?  What's all the talk about the "end of the world" on December 21, 2012?


The desire to know the future is not all fanciful or weird.  Have you ever thought about the fact that we live our lives based in large part to the calculations about the future.  Nearly all businesses requires some sort of forecasting.  Peter Drucker calls this the  "futurity of today's decisions."  This is true, whether we are in inventory management, cash flow requirements, staffing levels, loan rate assessments.


Our personal decisions about education, careers, raising a family, and buying a home all rely on our perception, or presumption, about the future.  But one of the problems we have in all our forecasting is that we tend to make linear assumptions.  We often make assumptions about the future based on what the trend is today.  But, there is in fact non-linear elements that make it more difficult to forecast.  There are natural nonlinearities such as an earthquake or a hurricane.  Medical nonlinearities can include a stroke or a car accident.  Our most critical crises arise from nonlinearities.


So, why do I think that what the Bible tells us about the future is any more credible?  For the present, that is a rhetorical question.  But I want to address the answer to that question by asking a series of additional questions.




A reasonably large part of the Bible is predictive prophecy.  We will look at that in some detail in a few minutes, but for now, let me say that some of those prophecies have come to pass.  Those that remain unfulfilled are what we would say are End-Time Prophecies.  In the study of End-times, some of the recently fulfilled prophesies of the Bible are also included, because they throw light on some yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecies.  A good example of that would be the re-emergence of the nation of Israel.


We also need to be aware of the various terms that seem to be used interchangeably with "End-times."




•  "the last days," "the last times," "the latter years," "the time of the end," "the end of the age," "the day of the Lord," "the last hour," or "that day."


While we often use these terms  interchangeably, we need to understand them in light of their context.  Such phrases in the Old Testament quite often focus on the future Tribulation or Messiah's coming.  In the New Testament epistles these terms generally have in mind the end of the Church age through time Coming of Christ.


There are at least two exceptions of note to that general rule.  The first is at the beginning of the book of Hebrews.


Hebrews 1:1-2 NKJV


1       God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,

2       has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;


This evidently refers to the time from Christ forward.  The other exception is 1 John 2:18.  The author is using the term, "the last hour" to refer to the church age, and that throughout it there would be "many antichrists."


In most cases the terms for the "last days" or "end times" refers to a rather short period of time, from the end of the Church age - the Rapture - along with the future Tribulation, and the signing of a treaty with Israel until the Second Coming of Christ.  This might be a period as short as maybe seven to ten years.


While the various terms of the "end-times" rarely, if ever, refer to events beyond the Second Coming, the study of "end-times" does.  With that, a study of the end-times - called eschatology - does also include:


         •  The future of the Antichrist and False Prophet.

         •  The binding of Satan for 1,000 years.

         •  The establishment of Christ's kingdom and his reign for 1,000 years on earth.

         •  The Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

         •  The various judgments - for both the saved and unsaved.

                   •  The Bema judgment

                   •  The judgment of the nations

                   •  The great White Throne judgment

                   •  The judgment of Satan

         •  The two eternal destinies - Heaven or Hell (Lake of Fire)..

         •  The New Jerusalem.


Having given a definition of "End-time Prophecy," I now want to ask another question.




1.      There are just too many different opinions and interpretations.


2.      Because of the many interpretations, it might cause division among the body.


3.      All the weird symbols make it impossible to understand prophecy.


4.      It isn't as important as other topics and doctrines.


5.      Some people went off the deep end in their pursuit of understanding the End Times.


Because of these reason, many of God's people simply choose not to study Bible prophecy.  They think that it is an exercise in futility.  I have heard, more than once, comments like: "no one really knows for sure what is going to happen, so why waste time on it?"  That leads to my next question.




I believe I could take an entire lesson to answer this question.  I won't do that, but I will give you four salient points.


1.      We should study about the end-times because a large part of the Bible is dedicated to it.


About 27% of the entire Bible is predictive prophecy.  I will say more about this is a moment.


2.      We should study the end-times because of 2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV.


16     All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,


All Scripture is profitable.


3.      Bible prophecy reveals to us who Jesus Christ is.


         Revelation 19:10 tells us:  "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."  One version renders this verse: "The essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness of Christ."  Jesus Christ is the central theme of all prophecy.


4.      The Bible tells us that God promises special blessings for those who read and obey prophecy.


Revelation 1:3 NKJV


3       Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.


The Book of Revelation is the only book that contains this unique promise from God.  And near the end of this last book of the Bible, this issue is mentioned yet again.


Revelation 22:7 NKJV


7       "Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."


The word "blessed" is used in each of these two verses.  They are the first and last of seven times that term is used in the book of Revelation.


A moment ago, I mentioned that predictive prophecy makes up a major segment of the Bible.  And I said I would return to add some more thoughts.


One young pastor commented to one of his former seminary professors that he didn't preach on prophecy because "prophecy distracts people from the present."  His professor replied, "Then there is certainly a lot of distractions in the Scriptures."


Let me give you some very basic information relative to predictive prophecy in the Bible.


Total Verses in the Bible


Total Number of Predictions in the Old Testament


Total Number of O.T. Verses that Contain Predictions

6,641 out of 23,210

Percent of the Old Testament that is Predictive Prophecy


Total Number of Predictions in the New Testament


Total Number of N.T. Verses that Contain Predictions

1,711 out of 7,914

Percent of the New Testament that is Predictive Prophecy


Total Number of Separate Prophetic Topics in the Bible


Total Percent of the Entire Bible that is Predictive Prophecy



If 27% of the entire Bible is prophecy, it seems it would be unwise to disregard it.  And of all the prophetic predictions in the Bible, about 30% are yet unfulfilled.


We have addressed three questions.  But they have only partially answered the rhetorical question I asked preceding these three.  Again, that question was: "Why do I think that what the Bible tells us about the future is any more credible and reliable than other prognosticators?"


Near the beginning of this lesson, I mentioned that the decisions we make on a daily basis are quite often using forecasted information - Insurance, Retirement, Careers, etc.  But most of this is based on linear prognosis.  A forecast begins at one point on the left and proceeds along a line to the right.


Unfortunately, many of us use this kind of logic when talking about biblical forecasts - or prophecies.  When we think of eternity, we tend to think of it as a straight line of infinite length from "infinity" on the left and continuing towards "infinity" on the right.  And when we think of God, we simply presume that He is someone with unlimited amounts of time.


Except for the Son of God, when He became a man, is God subject to time?  --  To gravity?  To get from one place to another, does God have to accelerated from a stopped position in order to get there?  Some of you are probably thinking: "John, those are ridiculous questions."  Of course the answer is "NO" to each of those questions.  Likewise, God is not someone who has an infinite amount of time.  He is outside the domain of "time" altogether.  That is what Isaiah means when he says of God, it is He who "inhabits eternity." (Isa 57:15).


Let me give you an illustration of how God's forecast goes beyond linear reasoning.  If you were to sit on a street corner to watch the Rose Bowl Parade on January 1, 2011, you would observe each float, marching band and other elements coming around the corner and passing in front of you.  The parade, for you, is clearly a sequence of events.


However, to someone who is outside the plane of the parade's existence, say, a helicopter above the city - the beginning and ending of the parade can be simultaneously in view.  We must realize that only God is outside our frame of reference and beyond our limitations.  This gives Him, and Him alone, the ability to take all factors into account.


It is my opinion – and I don’t think that I am going out of a limb here, that the Bible is the only reliable source for information about the end of the world.  But you won’t have to take my opinion for it.  During this series, I will show you why the Bible can be trusted.  Then you can decide for yourself.


What is so important about knowing how things will end, or about knowing what is going to happen when I die”  Knowing what is going to happen when you die just may change the way you live in the here-and-now


The Bible says that God has an intricate plan all worked out, and everything is going according to his schedule.  He is going ahead with it whether you of I believe it or not.  He won’t cancel the whole thing just because we deny it.  So I think you owe it to yourself to see what the Bible says about God’s plan for the world and for you.  Your life will depend on it…..and your life after death will be determined by it.


So, is the Bible that difficult to understand as it related to the end-times?  It is my opinion that while it is not like reading a novel, .it is not something beyond our understanding and grasp, if we are willing to study a little.


The Bible is a prophetic book.  It speaks of historical events in the lives of people and nations with a certainty and clarity that is unique.  Thousands of years before they existed, in many cases,……the destinies of individuals and nations were charted with precision and history bears out the accuracy of those predictions.


The prophecies of the Bible are being fulfilled right up to the present time and we are reading about events related to them in our newspapers today.  In this book we call the Bible, it is truly easy to see the signature of God all over it.  While these many authors wrote about hundreds of different and often controversial subjects you can see one underlying theme from Genesis in the Old Testament to the Book of Revelation in the New Testament.  That theme is the coming of the Savior to pay the price of sin, and His return to bring a climax to this world’s history.


I believe the Bible has clear and understandable answers with regard to the end-times.  Christians are probing biblical prophecy for clues to where we are in God’s program and what great events may be shortly coming to pass.  It truly would be foolish for a Christian to disregard prophecy.


Consider for a moment these statistics: The coming Messiah as King (in what Christian call the 2nd Coming) is mentioned 1,845 times in the Bible.  In the Old Testament it is the dominant theme of 17 of its 39 books.  In the New Testament it is discussed in several New Testament books as the dominant subject of the books.


There are 318 references to Christ’s second coming in the New Testament.  This subject is mentioned and discussed in 24 of the 27 books of the New Testament.  This amounts to a prophetic reference being found in 7 our of every 10 chapters in the N.T.  What’s more, the very first prophecy ever uttered by man in the Bible deals with the second coming of Christ.




                   It was by Enoch, and is recorded in Jude 14.


Jude 14 NKJV


14     Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,


The very last prophecy in the Bible is also about the 2nd coming of Christ.  It is found in Revelation 22:20.  Given this preponderance of prophecy in the Word of God, .it is incredible that any believer would avoid it.  Furthermore, given God’s attention to this subject, why would anyone want to avoid it.  If we can talk about the first coming of Christ as good news, should we not talk about His second coming as great news?


The very fact that the Bible contains predictive prophecies makes it a unique book.  No book of any other major world religion can make such a claim.  And history has consistently taken the stand as a reliable and authentic witness to the accuracy of Bible prophecies.


Isaiah shows us why God considers prophecy to be very important.  He tells us how prophecy demonstrates the uniqueness of God and how, because of already fulfilled prophecy, there is none like Him.


Let’s look at three Passages in the Book of Isaiah.


Isaiah 46:9-10 NIV


9       Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.

10     I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.


Isaiah 42:9 NIV


9       See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you."


Isaiah 48:5 NIV


5       Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, `My idols did them; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.'


The Scriptures we just read tell us that God is unique in that He alone knows the end from the beginning.  He says, in effect: “You have seen things come to pass as I had told you beforehand.  This proves that I am God.”


Then He goes on to tell us that, because former things have come to pass as He had said, then we should also believe Him when He tells us things about the future which are yet to come to pass.  We can trust biblical prophecies which are yet unfulfilled because of God’s past track record.


In my opinion, already fulfilled prophecy is quite possibly the greatest internal evidence of the divine inspiration of the Bible.  You just don’t see these kinds of prediction in the writings of other major world religions.


We all have questions about the end-times and how it relates to us today.  Here are a short list of questions that you may have right now.  We will be tackling most of these and more during this series of lessons.



The Bible says that God has a timetable.  He has had one ever since the creation of this world.  But, in His Word, He has given us a glimpse of some of the detail of this timetable.  Some of the things in God’s timetable have already occurred.


Galatians 4:4-5   NIV


4       In the fullness of time [according to God’s timetable], God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.

5       In order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.


We all were born under the law of God, and all of us have broken that law and sinned.  So God sent His only Son to pay the penalty of that broken law – which was death.  What’s more, He didn’t just set us free, but He adopted us as His sons & daughters.


Forty days after He paid the price for our sins, we find Jesus about ready to return to the Father.  He and his disciples were standing atop the Mount of Olives.  One moment they had been talking to Jesus, and the next moment they saw him rise through the clouds, hidden from view.


Acts 1:9  (KJV)


“….while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”


I can imagine that for a few second there was complete silence, and they gazed at the cloud that engulfed Him.  For 3½ years, they had been with Jesus nearly every moment.  In the most recent 40 days following his resurrection from the dead, Jesus had been coming and going, as He showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive……and spoke about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)


Would He come back again.  There had been many times when He had left them alone.  Sometimes He just disappeared out of their sight (Luke 24:31).  But this time, somehow His return would be different..


When Jesus left, it didn’t take them by surprise this time.  Jesus had warned them about it on several occasions.  One thing was certain ... Jesus was coming back again.  Along with telling them of his departure, he promised to return.


John 14:2-3   (KJV)


1.      Let not your heart be trouble;  Ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2       In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3       And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.


It is important to notice that all the Lord promised on this occasion was the simple fact that He would return for His followers.  In other words,……they would see Him again.  He didn’t elaborate with much detail at this point.  His intention was to provide comfort to his disciples about his leaving.  He did not want their hearts to be troubled.  But He did not say anything about HOW he would come back, or WHEN His coming would occur.


It was then, while they were still on the Mount of Olives looking at the clouds, that they notices the two angels.  It was they who would begin to unfold some of the details about their Lord’s return.


In Acts 1:11, they say:


         ....Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  this same Jesus, which is taken up

         from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.


We find other details about his return in the writings of others.  We are also told of many other events that are going to occur in the End Times.