The End Times: Jesus’ Return According to Revelation

The Bible has recorded for us many teachings that Jesus gave His disciples concerning the end times and His second coming. As I’ve stated in many posts in this series on the End Times, Jesus clearly laid out four irrefutable conditions that would exist leading up to and including the time of His return. According to Jesus, His return will be:

  1. Sudden and unexpected
  2. Visible and unmistakable
  3. In a time of normalcy as in the days of Noah and Lot
  4. After the apostasy

If we are to take what Jesus said at face value, then we find ourselves in a dilemma as to how to deal with the apocalyptic events described in Revelation, the last book of the Bible. For example, in Revelation chapter 8, we read that one third of the earth will be burned up; one third of the sea life and ships destroyed; one third of the water poisoned; and one third of the sun, moon and stars darkened. And then in Revelation chapter 9, we read about the appearance of locusts who are able to sting men as a scorpion stings. Those who are stung by these creatures must endure the torment for five months without being able to die! And let’s not forget about the 100 pound hailstones that rain down upon men in Revelation chapter 16.

If all these aforementioned events take place before Jesus’ second coming, which is described in Revelation chapter 19, how could his return be sudden and unexpected? Wouldn’t everyone on the entire planet know about these things? Wouldn’t even the unbelievers be able to connect the dots? And what about the notion of normalcy? Even in our day, if a third of the sun was darkened wouldn’t it cause panic and mass hysteria on a global scale—hardly normal?

Of course, for those who interpret the entire book of Revelation figuratively, none of the four conditions mentioned earlier are an issue; however, it is a problem for those who hold to a literal interpretation. Therefore, since I do hold to a literal interpretation, I believe the only way for us to reconcile the events in Revelation with Jesus’ four preconditions is to place His actual second coming in Revelation chapter 6.

(12) I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood;
(13) and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.
(14) The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

(15) Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;
(16) and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;
(17) for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”1

Compare Revelation chapter 6, verses 12-17 with Mark chapter 13, verses 24-26 and you will see a strong correlation between these verses.

(24) But in those days, after that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT,
(25) AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.

(26) Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory.2

Revelation chapter 6, verse 14 is clearly describing Jesus’ return to earth along with its parallel in Mark chapter 13, verse 26. At Jesus’ appearing, the elect will be gathered together by the angels3 but for the rest of the world it will be a time of great wrath. Apparently, no one has to council the unbelieving world on what the consequences will be for them at the time of Jesus’ return since they proclaim it right out of their own mouths! (Rev. 6:16-17)

Given that I have placed Jesus’ second coming as happening in the sixth seal of Revelation chapter 6, all the other judgements on the earth as described in the seventh seal, including the trumpet judgements and the six bowls of wrath, must take place after His return. This would also include the following:

  • The 144,000
  • The locusts from the bottomless pit
  • The 200 million man army
  • The two witnesses
  • The beast and false prophet
  • Armageddon
  • The 100 pound hailstones

Everything I’ve said up to this point probably sounds farfetched, troubling, and maybe even highly improbable, but consider that even in the middle of the discussion of Armageddon in Revelation chapter 16 we have a repeat of a familiar warning:

(Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.) (Rev. 16:15)

And again in Mark:

Therefore, be on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—
in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep.

What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’ (Mark 13:35-37)

What I think we need to remember is that tribulation is for believers, that is the Church, but judgement and wrath are for the unbelievers or unsaved. What believers would consider tribulation would not necessarily be considered tribulation by the unsaved. Given that Jesus said that the apostasy would precede His return, could it be that apostate Christians wouldn’t even notice they were in the tribulation? I suppose it’s possible since Jesus seems to go out of His way to warn us to be on the alert. Almost like when His apostles were in the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus told them to keep watch with Him so they wouldn’t fall into temptation—still they fell asleep. (Mark 14:34-42) Did they fall asleep because they didn’t understand what was about to transpire, that Jesus was about to be taken from them that night?

The Pre-Trib Rapturists don’t have to worry about any of the concerns discussed here since the Rapture will occur at any moment; they will be taken away; then all hell will break out on earth. Clean and simple. Maybe so, but I just don’t see any of that being taught anywhere in the Bible.

©2013-2024 Gerard Sczepura. All rights reserved.


  1. Rev. 6:12-17 NASB 

  2. Mark 13:24-26 

  3. Gerard Sczepura, “The End Times: Arguments in Defense of a Post-Trib Rapture,” Theological Ruminations (blog), May 4, 2015, http://gerardsczepura.com/?p=630

The End Times: Apostasy, Antichrist, and Politics

Apostasy

In a previous post I identified three things concerning Jesus’ return that are indisputable: visible and unmistakable; unexpected; and normalcy, as in the days of Noah and Lot.1 And now we have a fourth thing, apostasy in the Church.

In a letter the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, he reminded them that they shouldn’t be deceived into believing that the day of the Lord had come unless the apostasy has come first. (2 Thess. 2:3 NASB) So what is apostasy and how are we to identify it? Well, according to the online dictionaries: merriam-webster.com and dictionary.com, apostasy is defined as abandonment and departure respectively. To abandon something is to let go of it and you can’t let go of something unless you first had possession of it. Unbelievers, people who were never saved, cannot be apostate since they can’t let go of something they never had; only saved people can become apostate.

A common misconception is that apostates are Christians who have lost their salvation. However, I don’t subscribe to that theory; I believe apostates are Christians who have left their first love, (Rev. 2:3) that is, they have abandoned or compromised many or most of the fundamental doctrines of the faith. They hold on to the “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so…”2 refrain from the well-known children’s song, but they put aside other biblical doctrines or strong teachings that conflict with the popular culture that we find ourselves in the 21st century. Everyone is familiar with the current social issues that are in conflict with biblical teaching: women in ministry; divorce; same-sex marriage; and abortion but not everyone would consider belief in evolution; man-made climate change; and economic inequality as qualifications for apostasy, but they are. And yes, a person’s political and religious beliefs are both interrelated and inseparable.

Antichrist

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. (1 John 2:18)

Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;
and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. (1 John 4:2-3)

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 1:7)

Antichrist is anyone who doesn’t believe that Jesus is the Christ. Contrary to Hollywood’s misappropriation of the term, antichrist is not a specific person.3 The character Damien in The Omen is portrayed as the antichrist, but in reality, he is really the beast who the Bible introduces in Revelation chapter 13. Antichrist and beast are sometimes used interchangeably; I guess because “antichrist” has more of a ring to it than “beast.”

Christians can be apostate but they cannot be antichrist. But according to Jesus, it’s possible for false Christians (antichrists) to become assimilated in the Church such that they become almost indistinguishable from the true believers; nevertheless, God is able to differentiate the wheat from the tares. (Matt. 13:29-30)

Politics

The theology of liberation or liberation theology is one such example of blending politics and religion. In liberation theology, Scripture is reinterpreted with a bias towards the poor. This brand of theology advocates its followers to engage in the struggle to liberate the poor from their male-dominated, rich, white capitalist oppressors.4 You know the old saying, “If it looks like Marxism and smells like Marxism, it’s Marxism.” So, the question becomes, can a person still be a believing Christian while embracing socialism and Marxism? Well, according to William Montgomery Brown, the answer would unequivocally be “No!”

The Rt. Rev. William Montgomery Brown, D.D. was a bishop in the Episcopal Church who published a very interesting and enlightening booklet in 1920 called Communism and Christianism Analyzed and Contrasted from the Marxian and Darwinian Points of View. In his booklet Rev. Brown describes the relationship between supernatural Christianity and science (Darwinism); Christianity and socialism; and Christianity and communism (Marxism). I present here some excerpts from Rev. Brown’s booklet. I have numbered them for later reference:

[1] No man can be consistently both a Socialist and a Christian.5

[2] It is, therefore, a profound truth that Socialism is the natural enemy of religion.6

[3] The Creation idea is unsupported by evidence, and is in conflict with every scientific law.7

[4] Religion, which is the ideal half, and politics, which is the practical half, of the same reality, human socialism, are like all else in the universe, constantly changing, and necessarily so, because life and progress are dependent upon change.8

[5] Yes, strange, even blasphemous, as the representation may seem, it is nevertheless true, the machine is the only name given under heaven whereby the world can be saved.9

[6] Darwinism and Marxism constitute one gospel, the only true, comprehensive and sufficient gospel which the world has ever had or can have, and there is no hope for the future of mankind except in it.10

[7] Christianity has held the world back from civilization instead of advancing it towards civilization.11

While Rev. Brown was never a real Christian, he definitely was a bonafide, dyed-in-the-wool communist. Note how in excerpt [5] and [6] he professes to worship the creation (the machine) instead of the creator (God) whereby the machine becomes the savior of the world not Jesus. In fact, Rev. Brown never actually believed that Jesus was a real person let alone the son of God. He vigorously denounced the supernatural or spiritual aspect of Christianity. (It’s Interesting to note that Rev. William Montgomery Brown remained a professing Christian even after he was convicted of heresy in 1925—the only person to be convicted since the Middle Ages.)12

In excerpt [4] he declares that religion and politics are really two sides of the same coin. That is to say religion being the theoretical side and politics being the practical side. In his mind, he attributes capitalism (the scourge of the working class) as being created and sustained by Christianity. Capitalism being the devil and Darwinism/Socialism/Marxism being the triune god that saves the world.

In excerpt [1] and [2] the battle lines are drawn; Christianity is declared the enemy of socialism. After reading Rev. Brown’s booklet, it should come as no surprise to the reader why the political Left is so hostile to Christianity. The Left believes that Christianity is hindering their entire agenda, namely wealth redistribution, income equality, social justice, and whatever else that goes along with it.

Since all public school curriculum has been coordinated along left-wing ideology, there’s no tolerance for creationism or intelligent design as inferred from excerpt [3].

Has Christianity really held the world back from civilization as stated in excerpt [7]? Certainly Rev. Brown thinks so, but so does President Obama based on his “pattern” of anti-Christian remarks such as his infamous comment made during an Easter breakfast held at the White House:

On Easter I do reflect on the fact that, as a Christian, I am supposed to love. And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less-than-loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned.13

Or how about this comment:

In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.14

And this one:

Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. And in our home country, slavery, and Jim Crow, all too often was justified in the name of Christ.15

So, based on his own words, Obama really is acknowledging that ISIS is carrying out terrible deeds in the name of religion; otherwise, why would he draw a comparison with the Crusades and the Inquisition which everyone identifies with the Roman Catholic Church. Furthermore, like Obama said, the ISIS threat is not unique; history records wars against militant Islam for almost four hundred years during the 7th, 8th, 15th, and 16th centuries.16 Even though the “Mohammedan Arabs with fire and scimitar had crushed and subjugated the entire Persian Empire and over half of Christendom,”17 it was the Crusaders who were the oppressors.

Nevertheless, the one thing President Obama can’t do is label ISIS for what it really is, an organization that wants to convert the world to its brand of Islam through terror and intimidation.

So then according to the Left’s rewriting of history, it really was the Christians who held back civilization. And “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

©2013-2024 Gerard Sczepura. All rights reserved.


  1. Gerard Sczepura, “The End Times: Arguments Against a Pre-Trib Rapture,” Theological Ruminations (blog), May 4, 2015, http://gerardsczepura.com/?p=627

  2. Anna B. Warner, Jesus Loves Me, 1860, http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Jesus_Loves_Me/

  3. Gerard Sczepura, “The End Times: Hollywood’s Take,” Theological Ruminations (blog), March 7, 2015, http://gerardsczepura.com/?p=599

  4. “Christian Revolution in Latin America: The Changing Face of Liberation Theology,” Ron Rhodes, accessed June 21, 2015, http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/Liberation.html

  5. Brown 1855-1937, William Montgomery (2010-02-16). Communism and Christianism Analyzed and Contrasted from the Marxian and Darwinian Points of View (p. 10). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition. 

  6. Ibid., 12. 

  7. Ibid., 17. 

  8. Ibid., 44-45. 

  9. Ibid., 53. 

  10. Ibid., 54. 

  11. Ibid., 60-61. 

  12. “Bishop Brown,” Galion Historical Society, accessed June 22, 2015, http://www.galionhistory.com/about-bishop-brown/

  13. “Obama’s anti-Christian ‘pattern’ disconcerting to some,” Chris Woodward, OneNewsNow.com, April 8, 2015, http://onenewsnow.com/politics-govt/2015/04/08/obamas-anti-christian-pattern-disconcerting-to-some

  14. “What Obama just said about Muslims and their influence on America is beyond disturbing,” Joshua Riddle, Young Conservatives, July 28, 2014, http://www.youngcons.com/what-obama-just-said-about-muslims-and-america-is-beyond-disturbing/

  15. “People are freaking out after Obama compared ISIS to the Crusades,” Colin Campbell, Business Insider, February 6, 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com/people-are-freaking-out-after-obama-compared-isis-to-the-crusades-2015-2#ixzz3divxEH1V

  16. “On the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades,” Dr. Miguel Faria, Hacienda Publishing, September 12, 2011, http://www.haciendapub.com/randomnotes/spanish-inquisition-and-crusades

  17. Ibid.