This series has been written from a futurist, pre-wrath, pre-millennialist perspective. The aim has been to derive a basic chronology for the end times from Scripture. I was prompted to write this because Audre explained that, in her experience, there is generally little teaching on these matters in her church. My concern when introducing people to study of the end-times is two-fold: that they will either get lost in the complex passages or that they will come with pre-conceived ideas that will result in forced, rather than natural, readings of the texts.

Our chronology

The basic chronology has been derived by:

  • looking for markers of sequence in passages;
  • assuming similar passages are referring to the same thing, unless there is warrant to infer otherwise;
  • taking a futurist approach to interpretation where comparison of a passage with history shows poor correlation or absurdity; and
  • understanding that Scripture involves progressive revelation: an idea is introduced and then later texts will expand upon it.

As diagrams can be confusing to some, I have avoided using them, and opted instead to present our chronology as a numbered list, to the extent that this is possible. It is important to note that various events happen in parallel and that it is difficult to settle on a precise chronology for others. Even within pre-wrath circles, some matters are debated. This chronology is repeated here.

  1. The Antichrist confirms a covenant or treaty with a term of 7 years, which probably includes provision for the rebuilding of the Temple; the 70th Week begins
  2. Satan is cast out of heaven and the Antichrist invades Israel and commits the Abomination of Desolation, 3.5 years after the confirmation of the covenant
  3. The Great Tribulation
  4. The heavens are darkened and the sign of Christ appears
  5. Christ appears in the sky in glory with His angels
  6. The saints are resurrected and gathered to meet Christ in the sky (the “Rapture”)
  7. The Day of the LORD: Christ pours out the wrath of God upon the wicked on earth
  8. The Battle of Armageddon: the Antichrist and his armies are defeated; Satan is bound and thrown into the Abyss
  9. Christ rules the earth from Jerusalem, his saints ruling the nations, for one thousand years (the “Millennium”)
  10. At the close of the Millennium, Satan is released from the Abyss to tempt the nations one last time; he and his rebellion are suppressed by God
  11. The general resurrection and Great White Throne Judgment
  12. (The new heavens and new earth)

Much of this information is set out in the Old Testament, but the New Testament is invaluable for:

  • its confirmation that various texts are to be read futuristically;
  • additional points about chronology;
  • points of Christology; and
  • general expansion of detail (e.g. the judgments of the Day of the LORD set out in Revelation).

Below I set out the key texts where these events can be found in Scripture.

EventScripture Reference
Covenant confirmed by the AntichristDaniel 9:27
Satan is cast out of heavenDaniel 12:1
Revelation 12:7-9
The Antichrist invades IsraelEzekiel 38
Daniel (8:9); 11:41, 45
Micah 5:5
Zechariah 12:2, 14:2
(Luke 21:20)
The Abomination of DesolationIsaiah 14:12-14
Daniel 7:,8,25; (8:11-14); 9:27; 11:31, 36; 12:11
Matthew 24:15
Mark 13:14
2 Thessalonians 2:3-11
Revelation 11:2; 13:4-6, 15
The Great TribulationJeremiah 30:7
Ezekiel 38:12
Daniel 7:21, 25; (8:24); 11:33-35; 12:1
Zechariah 14:2
Matthew 24:16-22, 29
Mark 13:15-20, 24
(Luke 21:21-24)
Revelation 6:9-11; 12:13-17; 13:5-7, 10
The heavens are darkenedIsaiah 13:10
Joel 2:31
Matthew 24:29
Mark 13:24-25
Luke 21:25-26
Revelation 6:12-14
Christ appears with angelsDaniel 7:13
Matthew 24:30
Mark 13:26
Luke 21:27
1 Thessalonians 4:16
2 Thessalonians 1:7
Jude 14
Revelation 1:7
The resurrection and RaptureIsaiah 26:19-21
Daniel 12:2
Matthew 24:31
Mark 13:27
Luke 21:28, 36
(Romans 11:15)
1 Corinthians 15:23
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
2 Thessalonians 2:1
Revelation 7:9-17; 14:14-16; 20:4
The Day of the LORDIsaiah 2:12-21; 13:9-13; 26:19-21; 34
Ezekiel 38:18-23
Joel 2
Malachi 4:5
Matthew 24:37-41, 51
Luke 17:26-37
2 Thessalonians 1:8
Jude 15
Revelation 6:15-17; 7:1-3; 8-10; 11:17-19; 14:17-20; 15-16
The Battle of ArmageddonEzekiel 38:18-39:11
Zechariah 12-14
Revelation 16:13-16; 19:11-20:3
The MillenniumIsaiah 2:1-4; 65:20
Ezekiel 40-end
Zechariah 14:17-18
Matthew 19:28; 25:31, 34
Acts 1:6
1 Corinthians 15:24
Revelation 20:4-6
The final rebellionRevelation 20:7-10
The Great White ThroneRevelation 20:11-15
The new heavens and new earthIsaiah 65:17
2 Peter 3:13
Revelation 21:1

Further texts could be added, but these serve as a good foundation.

The Fathers

I have recommended modern authors and resources in this series, because I believe they will take account of data to which the Fathers did not have access. However, I am conscious that readers with an interest in patristics may wish to consult patristic texts that deal with these eschatological matters (in addition, the Didache mentions that Antichrist in the closing sections).

The Fathers who tend to espouse views of the kind promoted in this series do not necessarily agree on all points – therefore, they are something of a Venn Diagram, with overlaps and distinctions. One can also find antisemitic ideas (such as that the Antichrist will be a Jew, which view I categorically deny). Furthermore, as they did not format their texts as diagrams, lists, and tables, they are not as convenient as modern texts for seeing passages of Scripture linked together and a chronology of events presented.

Nevertheless, for the sake of providing patristic material that has much in common with the framework presented here, I suggest the following.

Closing thoughts

This series has provided a framework to aid in the interpretation of eschatological passages. There is a great deal of eschatological material in the Bible. Various points have been mentioned in passing as tangential to our aim here. I have avoided the question of how close we may be to the end and the relationship (if any) of climate change to the Day of the LORD. In considering the elements of the end times chronology, the reader is encouraged to focus on the coming of the Lord, but to keep an open mind regarding the times in which we live. The end times are not symbols, but actual events. Accordingly, those events have sequence, causes, and effects.