Bible prophecies explained:
End time prophecy from the Bible

This selection of end times prophecies from the Bible involve the end times and events leading up to the end times, when Jesus is to return and judge the living and the dead.

The commentaries below are from the second edition of the book, 100 Prophecies, by George Konig and Ray Konig, who are the authors and copyright holders of the material. The commentaries are reprinted here with written permission from the authors. The third edition, revised and expanded, of 100 Prophecies: Ancient Biblical prophecies that foretold the future is available through Amazon.com.

Jesus will return (to judge the living and the dead)

Bible prophecy: Matthew 24:29-31
Prophecy written: During the first century
Prophecy fulfilled: To be fulfilled

In Matthew 24:29-31, as well as in other places within the New Testament, Jesus revealed about 2000 years ago that he will return in the future to judge the living and the dead. This is a core Christian belief that is reflected in the Apostles' Creed, which is a summary of Christian beliefs that was written many centuries ago. The Apostles' Creed is recited by Christians during Christian worship services.

Matthew 24:29-31:

29 "Immediately after the distress of those days " 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'

30 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.

31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

No one will know the hour or the day of Jesus' return

Bible prophecy: Matthew 24:36-37
Prophecy written: During the first century
Prophecy fulfilled: Many times throughout history

When Jesus lived in the land of Israel about 2000 years ago, he gave a very simple and concise answer when someone asked him when he would return: He explained that no one knows the hour or the day, except for God the Father (Matthew 24:36).

Even so, many people throughout history have falsely insisted that they knew the timing of Jesus' return, only to be proven wrong. During the past few centuries, for example, there have been some very influential people who have misled many people with their false predictions, including:

• William Miller, who is credited with the beginning of the Adventist movement, which includes the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He claimed that Jesus would return "sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844."

• After his prediction had failed, a colleague named Samuel Snow, claimed that the true date would be October 22, 1844. That prediction also proved false.

• Nelson H. Barbour, a Millerite Adventist who lived from 1824 to 1905, wrote a book entitled Evidences for the Coming of the Lord in 1873, and was involved in other date-setting attempts with Charles Taze Russell.

• Russell continued attempts at setting dates for the return of Jesus and spoke of invisible fulfillments. Russell is credited as being the founder of a religious organization called Jehovah's Witnesses.

• Herbert W. Armstrong, who lived from 1892 to 1986 and founded a religious organization called the Worldwide Church of God, wrote a book called 1975 in Prophecy! The book warned of a catastrophic drought, enslavement of Americans and Britons, nuclear war, and the return of Jesus as a dictator.

• Joseph Smith, the founder of a religion called Mormonism, claimed that Jesus would return by 1891.

Matthew 24:36-37:

36 No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

Jesus' return will be unexpected

Bible prophecy: 2 Peter 3:1-18
Prophecy written: During the first century
Prophecy fulfilled: To be fulfilled

In 2 Peter, which is the name of an epistle (letter) in the New Testament of the Bible, we are told that the return of Jesus will take people by surprise, that "the day of the Lord will come like a thief."

The author, Peter, who was one of Jesus' apostles, reminds Christians to live righteously (2 Peter 3:11 and 2 Peter 3:14) and to view the end times with joy rather than fear (2 Peter 3:12-13).

2 Peter 3:1-18:

1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.

2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.

3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.

4 They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation."

5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.

6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives

12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.

18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

The "day of the Lord" will take people by surprise

Bible prophecy: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-9
Prophecy written: About 50 AD
Prophecy fulfilled: To be fulfilled

In a letter addressed to the church of the Thessalonians, from Paul, Silas, and Timothy, we are reminded that the return of Jesus, which is referenced here as the "day of the Lord," will take people by surprise.

In fact, we are told that the day will come "like a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5:2), during a time when people are talking about peace and safety (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

1 Thessalonians 5:1-9:

1 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,

2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

3 While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.

8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Before the end comes, the Gospel will be preached to the entire world

Bible prophecy: Matthew 24:14
Prophecy written: During the first century
Prophecy fulfilled: Fulfilled in history, currently being fulfilled

In Matthew 24:14, the Bible says that the Gospel (the news about Jesus and his offer of salvation and eternal life) will be preached throughout the world. The Bible also says that sometime after this happens, the end will come. The Bible has been preached throughout the world for a long time. But now, with the increasing worldwide availability of television and the Internet, there is greater potential for the Gospel to be preached to everyone, everywhere.

Matthew 24:14:

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

There will be false messiahs before Jesus returns

Bible prophecy: Matthew 24:23-25
Prophecy written: During the first century
Prophecy fulfilled: Many times throughout history

Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24 that there would be false messiahs before his return and history has provided us with many examples.

Perhaps the most destructive of the false messiahs was Simon bar Kochba, who unleashed such great harm on his people that the injuries are still visible today.

Kochba lived during the second century of this era. With the help of the highly revered Rabbi Akiva, who declared that Kochba was the promised messiah, Kochba organized a rebellion against the Romans who occupied and controlled the land of Israel.

The Romans, at great cost to themselves, eventually defeated Kochba's rebellion, and destroyed villages, towns and settlements throughout the land of Israel, and forced a new exile of Jews from the land of Israel, the effects of which are felt today. Even now, the majority of Jewish people live outside of the land of Israel.

Matthew 24:23-25:

23 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it.

24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible.

25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

Jesus spoke of a day of unequaled destruction and suffering

Bible prophecy: Matthew 24:21-22
Prophecy written: During the first century

In Matthew 24:21-22, Jesus says that there would come a time of unequaled suffering. Many people have offered their opinions about this prophecy, claiming that it has already happened, or that it is happening, or that it will happen in the future. Some opinions involve claims of widespread disease and famine, or terrorism, or nuclear war, etc. And, so, it can be easy to overlook the good news contained in this prophecy: No matter what happens in this world, no matter how bad things get, God ultimately is in control. And, as we learn from other verses, such as John 3:16, no matter what happens, those who believe in Jesus are given the gift of salvation and eternal life with God.

Matthew 24:21-22:

21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again.

22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

Jerusalem will be trampled upon

Bible prophecy: Luke 21:23-24
Prophecy written: During the first century
Prophecy fulfilled: Currently being fulfilled

Jesus prophesied that the Gentiles, which is a word that refers to non-Jews, would trample upon Jerusalem until the end times.

It is interesting to note that when Jesus gave this prophecy during the first century of this era, the Jews had considerable control over the city of Jerusalem, even though they were forcibly incorporated into the Roman Empire. The Jews had a Temple in Jerusalem and were able to carry out various Temple functions associated with Judaism.

But, about 40 years after Jesus prophesied about Gentiles trampling upon Jerusalem, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple and forced Jews into exile. Even today, nearly 2,000 years later, the Jews still do not have enough control over Jerusalem to rebuild their Temple on the Temple Mount.

Luke 21:23-24:

23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people.

24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

All who believe in Jesus will be saved

Bible prophecy: John 3:16
Prophecy written: During the first century
Prophecy fulfilled: Currently being fulfilled

In books, movies and Internet articles, so much attention is given to the prophecies that foretell the future of the world that we sometimes overlook the prophecies that foretell our own futures, on an individual basis. Consider, for example, John 3:16, in which Jesus prophesies that anyone who believes in him will be given the gift of eternal life with God.

John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Notes: The commentaries above are summaries from the book 100 Prophecies: Ancient Biblical prophecies that foretold the future. Copyright © Ray Konig.

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