[3 1/2 years] [….3 1/2 years…..] [ 30 days ] [45 days] [1,000 years]
A. The period of Beginning Birth Pangs, lasting 3 1/2 years, is a time of turmoil for the world in general marked by warfare, famines, pestilence and earthquakes- all of which help to disrupt the world’s economies and social structures, putting the majority of the population in the position of having great needs. It sets the stage for the revealing of the Antichrist (point 2) and emphasizes the great proposition: Who will people turn to in their time of need?
2. At the mid-point of this seven year period the one described as the Antichrist enters the temple in Jerusalem, declares he is God and demands the worship of the world. This event is referred to as the Abomination of Desolation. This point also signals the arrival of two extraordinary, powerful and godly witnesses in the city of Jerusalem. They prove to be an irritating challenge to Antichrist who is unable to overpower them (until a very specific time determined by God). It is also at this time that Satan is permanently booted out of heaven and comes to earth “having great wrath.”
B. This represents the period I refer to as the Great Persecution/Tribulation. It is characterized by the forces of Satan and Antichrist persecuting Jews and professing Christians. Contrary to popular teaching this period is of unknown duration and most likely continues for 2 1/2 to nearly 3 years- but definitely does NOT last 3 1/2 years! It would also be scripturally accurate to refer to this period as the time of Satan’s wrath.
3. Signs in the sun, moon, stars and heavens cause the earth to be enveloped in supernatural darkness, initiating a dramatic interruption as the period of Great Persecution/Tribulation is cut off and curtailed. These signs in the heavens set the stage for two prophetic events. The first will be the spectacular PAROUSIA (pronounced: par-oo-see’-ah), the Second Coming of Christ as He comes to earth in the clouds, having great power and glory. It is at this time that genuine Christians, the elect of God are gathered up to meet with Christ the Lord in the clouds (popularly referred to as “the rapture”). The PAROUSIA has many facets associated with it stretching over several months.
C. The Day of the Lord is far longer than a 24 hour period, in fact it lasts over six months, continuing 30 days past the completion of Daniel’s 70th Week of years and culminates at the Battle of Armageddon. Its primary focus is physical judgment against the wicked and ungodly as expressed by John’s visions of the seven trumpet and seven bowl judgments found in the book of Revelation, although other issues are involved as well. On the time-line chart it encompasses the area between the big, bold parentheses( ) and its scope includes points C, 4, D and 5. As you can see, it begins sometime during the second half of Daniel’s 70th week but ends 30 days after the conclusion of the 70th week.
4. The completion of Daniel’s 70th week of years actually occurs within the Day of the Lord period, as illustrated in the above graph. Apparently on the final day completing this seven year period God allows the two special witnesses that will vex the Antichrist during the second 3 1/2 years to be killed. Three days later they will be supernaturally resurrected from the dead in triumph.
D. Following the completion of the 70th week, there will be a 30 day Reclamation period as Christ reclaims rightful rulership over the earth. Several notable features highlight this short period such as the outpouring of the final wrath of God, illustrated as the seven bowl (vial) judgments of Revelation.
5. Armageddon is significant as it is the culmination of both the Day of the Lord and the 30 day Reclamation period. It is the famous battle in which Christ conquers the forces of Satan and the Antichrist with complete and utter destruction.
E. Following the battle of Armageddon is a 45 day period of Restoration in which preparation is made for the Millennial Kingdom as the earth will have a hostile environment in the wake of the Day of the Lord judgments.
F. The Millennial Kingdom commences in answer to the prayers of “…Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”
[See the Glossary of Eschatological Terms for a more detailed description of these events and time periods.]