Signs in the Heavens Above and Signs in the Earth Below
While there are certain itching ears Bible teachers who have specialized in the confusion of last time events (eschatology) in order to make disciples after themselves or due to time constraints have quickly adopted the Notes of the Scofield Reference Bible as Scripture, the actual events are not that difficult to sequence: (1) The Falling Away, (2) Visual of the Man of Sin, the son of perdition of Daniel and Matthew 24, (3) Signs in the Heavens Above and the Earth Beneath (Revelation 6 with the 7 seals, Revelation 8 and 9-11 with the seven trumpets, and Revelation 16 with the seven bowls), (4) Then the Great One Day of the LORD and Lord taught often in the Old Testament like in Joel 2:28-32 (quoted by Peter in Acts 2:17-21). This great One Day, often mentioned in Old and New Testament and by Jesus, doubtless is not one day of 24 hours although God certainly has the power to do all these Final Day events in One Day if He so desires. Of course in that One Great Day is the Second Coming of Christ with the destruction of His enemies in the Great last battle called Armageddon, the gathering of the tares and the wheat from the four corners of the earth, separation and judgment with heaven for believers and hell for unbelievers, and the new heaven and new earth. A lot right for One Day; however since the Hebrew word for “day”, “yom” is more a period of time, it can run for years or for one 24 hour day. Remember as Peter told us, to God “one day is as a thousand years and one thousand years as one day.”
Much of the confusion is rectified by a careful reading of Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:17-21 to comprehend that the last days started on the first day of Pentecost after the Ascension of Jesus back to heaven—“it will come to pass in the last days” that the Holy Spirit will be poured out; and that the last days end after some indefinite period of time where we have the signs in the heavens above and the earth beneath—some obvious signs above are a darkening of the sun, moon, and stars, and some obvious signs below are the shakings of the earth with earthquakes, the last days ending with the Great One Day of the LORD and Lord.
More confusion is rectified by a realization of the sweep method that Old Testament Prophets like Daniel used and New Testament Apostles like John used in the writing of the book of Revelation. You have, for example, in Daniel approximately 9 sweeps where each time the same basic events like the appearance of the man of sin is mentioned but with more details. I like to compare it to the sweeps of an airborne radar as you approach the coast of the United States where the first sweep catches only highlights such as coast line and mountain peaks, then each sweep thereafter although of the same topology fills in more details. You must see that in the seals, bowls, and trumpets—all in sevens—you are talking about the same events, that is rehashing the same events, but each time with more detail.
Oh, key to the understanding of the beginning and end of the last days is to note that part of the Falling Away of II Thessalonians is the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit from the earth. Stop to think about it, what truly bound Satan for an indefinite period of one thousand years was the historical coming of the Holy Spirit in great presence and power on the first day of Pentecost after the Ascension, and therefore what will lose Satan at the end of the last days is the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit from this earth. And what makes the one thousand years a variable in the mind and heart of God—besides how Peter told us to God it is a variable that runs from 1 to one thousand-are two things, one good and one bad: the good one is that as Jesus said after the Gospel is preached to every nation, then will the end come, thus depending on our evangelization as Christians; and the bad is the rising tide of the mystery of lawlessness already at work, according to Paul also in II Thessalonians, as it flows over the world to create the Falling Away. There is another factor related to both: you know how God has always demanded that the whole earth be populated, and I think it is also true for the new heaven and the new earth. God needs a certain number of people to repopulate the new earth and selecting some from each generation since the establishment of Christ’s kingdom approximately two thousand years takes a certain variable amount of time. When God has all His believers, in other words when the evangelization is complete, then God will usher in that One Great Day!