To get this right we are going to have to go through the prophecies and put together some information that makes sense. We don't want to pick-and-choose passages and manipulate a story line. What we want is some sound logical information. If we just take the words of scripture as fact we get the whole story.
We can find everything we need to know about the future of Judah from books like Isaiah, Daniel, Joel, Zechariah, and Revelation, etc. So let's see what we find. I am going to start with Daniel because I just finished an extensive study on that book and it is full of information about the people of Judah from Daniel's day to the coming of Christ, and until the end of this world and the establishment of a new earth. It is called "The Last Daniel Study" and is available online on Amazon, Kindle, and at some book stores.
Daniel was a Jew (tribe of Judah) and he was given a lot of information from Angels about what was going to happen to his people in the future. It started with the image of a dreadful metal statue that he interpreted for King Nebuchadnezzar. It had a golden head, arms and breast of silver, waist and thighs of bronze, and legs of iron, and feet and toes of mixed clay and iron. The end comes with a stone that destroys it all and the dreadful image crumbles and blows away like chaff (dust) in the wind.
It happened in Daniel's second year of captivity when he was about 16 yrs old. It was a vision of what was going to happen from the time of Daniel until the end of the world. The visions of Daniel covers this whole period of time until the creation of a whole new earth. The first three world powers get animal names in later visions but Rome is different. Rome is a monster that eventually tramples and devours the entire world.
- Head of Gold...Babylonians (1st Beast...Lion)
- Arms and breast of Silver....Medes and Persians (2nd Beast...Bear)
- Waist and thighs of Bronze...Greeks (3rd beast...Leopard)
- Legs (iron), feet and toes (clay and iron mixed)...Romans (is different)
About 285AD the Roman Empire began to experience some internal problems (they were never defeated) and it divided into the Eastern and Western Empires. Eventually the western Empire came under the control of the Holy Roman Empire ("The Church") which actually conquered, and ruled over, most of the world. But the part that is important is the ten toes. Daniel 2:44 says that during the time of these ten kingdoms a new kingdom will be made that will never be destroyed. Rome was in power in the days of Jesus and before he ascended he told his followers that he was "going to prepare a place for them, and when he came again he would receive them to himself".
Putting that together it is very obviously talking about the same thing. Ten kingdoms have ruled over Jerusalem and the land of Judah since that time. The l0th was the British Empire that paved the way for the children of Judah (the Jews) to return to the promised land. At that time Michael will stand up to protect Judah. The new kingdom is ready and Christ is coming.
Here is a run through of what happened.
After Christ ascended the Good News about his defeat of death and free gift of eternal life spread across the Roman Empire (Rev 5...Seal #1). There was a lot of harassment, but faith prevailed.
The Roman Empire lost control of Jerusalem the first time before they actually split (Palmyrene Empire in 259ad). Eventually the Empire split in two in 285ad (the feet). Emperor Constantine moved the capital city to Byzantium in 306ad and assimilated Christianity into the national religious system in 314ad. The west was taken over by the Goths in 476ad, and the east capital was renamed Constantinople. Constantine promoted a new Christianity as the national religion and by 500ad it was very powerful.
(Seal #2). In 538ad the Goths were driven out of Rome and "The Church" became the leaders of the western Roman Empire who immediately began using force and inquisitions to convert the world to their new form of Roman Christian worship. The Christians in the middle east rebelled (Asia Minor, Persia, Palestine, and North Africa). Mohammed tried to get them back on track about 609ad but his teachings led to the formation of another different religion (one god, no idols, resurrection, judgement, eternal life). The Christians in Europe scattered to new places like South Africa, and America.
From that time until today there have been exactly 9 other separate legitimate kingdoms that were from the territories once ruled by Rome that have ruled over the land of Judah. The last one was the current British Empire which was instrumental in the return of Judah to the land of Israel. Britain and America protect the "State of Israel" today though it is formally independent for almost 70 years now.
In Daniel's later visions three of the world powers that have control over Jerusalem are viewed as animals. But the fourth, which is the Roman Empire, is different. It is a monster with iron teeth and it tramples on the people of the earth. It has ten horns which represent 10 future kingdoms that once were part of the Roman Empire. From among those ten horns comes another horn (kingdom) that finally takes control of Jerusalem after subduing three of the 10 kingdoms that once ruled over Jerusalem.
Of the ten nations that controlled the land of Judah we have three that are going to be subdued. Seven of the ten were Muslim Kingdoms so that basically leaves the East and West Europes and the British Empire that stand apart... and will have to submit. We will soon see.
We know that the Roman Empire never conquered the earth, but the Holy Roman Empire did. In Revelation 12 we see the Dragon attempting to destroy the promised child (Christ), the remnant of Israel, and then the followers of Christ. In 13 we discover that the beast that rises from the sea (of humanity) is the Holy Roman Empire with its false Christianity that persecuted true Christianity for 1260 years. Christians fled to new the New World and other lands to escape persecution. But now the beast has risen up again and will be joined by another beast.
Then at the end comes a 7th beast from the land, which is the False Prophet, that also persecutes true Christianity. With terror the False Prophet causes all the people of the world to seek the protection of the 6th beast which is the Holy Roman Empire. Both beasts receive their power from Satan.
Its a trap.
A political solution will come to Jerusalem. The False Prophet will cause all the world to seek protection from "The Church" and take the 'mark of the 6th beast'. Those who refuse will be tortured and killed. 2/3 of all Jews will die, and all who rely on Christ Jesus will be killed (the tribulation saints).
In the last days Jehovah is going to cause the nations of the world to gather at a place in northern Israel (near the sea of Galilee) at a place called Megiddo so the nations can be punished. Here they will rally against the land of Judah in the Battle of Armageddon. It will end in a final devastating defeat by the angel army of Christ. Revelation 16 describes the plagues that will be poured out on the rest of mankind as this period of time comes to its end.
Will there be a harvest of living believers before the plagues are poured out? Yes, at the end of the 3.5 years of the worst tribulations this world has ever known. Some people who have withstood the beast and are still alive (Rev 15:2) are set apart and harvested when Christ returns on the clouds, Rev 14:14 (they are judged and return to life and join the risen saints to govern the nations). The followers of Christ who died during those years (tribulation saints) will have a special place for eternity in the new world and dwell in the New Jerusalem in the courts of Christ.
[ But...what about the pre-tribulation rapture? That's a gimmick. It sells. It will be the death of many. According to the Revelation of John all the things promoted by this theory happen at the end of the 1000 yr reign of Christ on earth, just before the last (7th) trumpet. Futurism denies the 1000 yr reign of Christ on earth and all scripture that relates to it. ]
After the tribulation and harvest of living believers the 7 plagues of wrath will be poured out. As that proceeds the nations will gather to destroy Jerusalem which has failed to be the salvation the world expected. Christ and his his angels will come like a thief in the night and destroy the attacking armies. The dead will be pulverized by hail, and roasted with fire from the sky, and that is the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19...the bride is ready). The birds and wild animals will feast.
The prophecies (Ezekiel, Joel, Zachariah, etc.) tell of a powerful and large combined army that comes against the people of Judah. (This is not the 200 million warriors who kill 1/3 of all mankind at the end of the 1000 year reign of Christ on this earth.) But the Creator is going to send an army of Angels that is going to wipe out everything in its path as it comes to the rescue of Judah. All the armies of the world will be gathered to the valley of decision (Armageddon in northern Israel) and receive their punishment. The rest of mankind will barely survive the wrath of destruction, but "for the sake of the elect" the world will not be complete destroyed. The glory and fortunes of Israel and Jerusalem will be restored as Christ takes his place as the ruler of the one-world government.
The surrounding nations that did not support Judah will be left like a desert. According to Ezekiel 36 & 37, the saints of Israel will be sorted out, and resurrected to dwell in the promised land. People like Daniel, Kind David, Elijah, etc. Ezekiel 39 shows that the survivors of Judah will spend 7 years cleaning up the land and burying the dead.
After that great slaughter the 12 tribes of Israel will return from world dispersion to their homeland and David will be their king under the security and the leadership of the "good shepherd" Christ. From those 12 tribes will be the 144,000 chosen who will serve forever as the entourage of Christ on the new earth Paradise.
If we go to Micah we read in chapter 4 that in the latter days...the house of the Lord will be on the highest of mountains (a severe earthquake will flatten all the mountains of the earth). People will flow to Jerusalem from many nations to learn of the God of Jacob. The Laws and the Judge will be in Jerusalem and there will be no more battles. The nations will beat their swords into plows and their spears into pruning hooks. Everyone will have his place and no one will be afraid. The world will rebuild and prosper. People will grow old and children will play. The Church and the False Prophet are no more...they were thrown into the Lake of Fire. Satan is chained for 1000 years in the bottomless pit.
Zechariah has a good description of how this current world will end and the coming events that will lead to the 1000 year reign of our Messiah on this earth.
The final end of this planet comes after the 1000 years have been completed. Jerusalem is the capital of the world where law and justice prevail. Merchants of the earth are prosperous and Jerusalem is exceedingly rich. The temple has been built. But Satan has to be released one last time.
The inhabitants of earth (not Israel) are punished with the soundings of 4 trumpets. The 5th trumpet releases Satan (who is wickedness). Satan torments mankind into a envious rage against the holy city of Jerusalem. Everyone blames Christ and his people. Christ calls all his people to gather to him and flee from the city, which is now called "like Babylon". Christ takes his people away to a sea of glass.
This is the rapture of his living and risen saints described by Paul.
He sends two witnesses to warn the world that the end is near. 200 million warriors prepare to attack and conquer the Lamb and his people in Jerusalem (but they escape). The temple is violated and desecrated by Satan himself after he kills the two witnesses. But the two witnesses come back to life and Satan is revealed as a true fake. Fire and brimstone pour down onto the inhabitants of the earth and every person is killed. Satan is thrown into the Lake of Fire where he will suffer with his demons for eternity.
The 7th trumpet sounds. Judgement Day.
Then all people who have ever lived from the beginning of time until the final destruction of all mankind will be raised up from the dirt and the seas to appear, body and soul, before the throne of Christ, on the sea of glass. All who were raised the first time are not part of the second resurrection. Death and Hell (the grave) are things that will never exist again. The old earth and stars will be gone. All people will be judged by their choices in life, the deeds they did will bear witness, and they will be judged by their true hearts.
Some will be saved whose names are found in the book of life. Many will be condemned and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth as they are led to be burned to ashes in the Lake of Fire. Gone forever.
A new earth and stars will appear. A new Jerusalem will descend from the sky. It is 1500 miles long and wide and high (the new earth is HUGE). This is the Bride of Christ. The marriage of the Creator to his creation.
Revelation 21 and 22 show the picture of what the new Jerusalem will be like. Paul got a chance to see Paradise in a vision...he couldn't even describe it.
For more information about the 7 seals of mankind's fate go to the Revelation study.
There are different beliefs how this all will end...check out Preterism, Futurism, and Biblicism and this time chart below.
--Preterism is a simple belief that all prophecy was fulfilled and ended at the ascension of Christ who now reigns over the earth from heaven with his saints. His second coming will be on judgement day which could happen at any time. Heaven is a spiritual place they call Paradise. Hell is the spiritual realm of Satan.
--Futurism is the same as Preterism but adds that after the temple is rebuilt the living followers of Christ will be secretly “raptured” before the final years of the “great tribulation which will have an anti-christ one-world government, animal sacrifices, the mark of the beast, and the tribulation saints will be saved by works, not grace. All persons who died from the beginning of time will return from heaven and hell to be re-jujdged by Christ. Heaven is a floating golden city in the spiritual realm. Hell is the spiritual realm of Satan.
--Biblicism believes that Jesus actually meant what he said and will literally reign on this earth with his risen saints for 1000 years after his second coming. His second coming will be preceded by a period of great tribulation, the mark of the beast, and the slaughter and death of most Jews and true Christians (tribulation saints). The tribes of Israel will re-unite and return to the promised land and re-build the temple. At the end of the 1000 years Christ will take (rapture) his saints and living believers to a sea of glass before all life on the planet ends and this corrupt world is permanently destroyed. All persons from the beginning of time will awake and physically rise to be judged by Christ. The risen saints and redeemed believers who reigned with Christ on earth will not be re-judged. Paradise is a new physical world similar but better than the first. Death and Hell and the unsaved will cease to exist.