Signs of the End: 5 of 5 - Pete Garcia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8237
The final event in which Gods interjects directly into the affairs of fallen man, is what we know as the Second Coming. The reason we call it the Second Coming is that this will be the second time Christ physically returns to the earth. This is opposed to the Rapture of the Church, where we believers are physically caught up to meet Christ in the air and go back with Him to the Father's house for a period of time. No, when Christ comes at the Second Coming, there will be no mistaking it for He will return and the whole of creation will serve as a witness. The sky will split open, and the armies of heaven will follow Him, making the grandest procession a king had or will ever make.
The Second Coming is as different from the Rapture of the Church, as His First Coming was from His second. In the first, He came wrapped in human flesh, as a humble servant. In His second, He returns in His glorified form as the victorious King of kings. The first coming He allowed men to mock, beat, and crucify Him...but at His Second, He speaks a word and millions are slain. He masked His divinity at His first coming, so He could redeem men, as a man. He will not mask His divinity in His second coming....for every knee will bow at His Kingship. At His first, only a Star marked His place for a few shepherds. At His second, the world will see the sky's parting and be in terror. He is the rightful heir, and the world that remains in that time, will be awestruck at His coming and even those who are in hell will see His coming. (Rev. 1:7) The sky will part for Him and the armies of Heaven will follow. Revelation 19:11-16 says...
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Those who mock the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church and say there is no singular, specific passage that points to the Rapture happening before the 70th Week, are in denial of one specific point. That point being, that there is likewise no singular Old Testament passage that states Christ will come in two stages; first as the humble Servant, and then second as the reigning King. They can't do it, because there aren't any. There are passages that speak to His death (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53), and there are those which speak to His ruling and reigning. (Psalm 2, Isaiah 11) The reason they can't is because that is the way God designed our Scriptures. He knew that if fallen and unregenerate man, who under the suppression and control of Satan, would not have allowed God's plan of redemption to play out as it did.
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 NKJV
Yet, even though Christ did what no man could do by conquering sin and death at His death, burial, and resurrection, the world viewed His time here largely as a failure. In fact, if you were to ask many a Jew today, why they don't believe Jesus was the Messiah, they would state emphatically, that He failed to usher in the Kingdom. This then has been their problem since that first century, where the Jewish people have since had a partial blindness placed upon them. (Romans 11:25-29) They are unable to recognize that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled every one of the prophetic passages from the Tanakh which spoke to His First Coming. Jesus stated, that they (the Jewish people) would not see Him again, till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' (Matt. 23:39) This according to Zechariah 12 and Revelation 12, will not happen until past the halfway point of the Tribulation. Christ will return, and the Jewish remnant alive then, will finally recognize Christ for who He is...the Messiah and King, the rightful heir of the throne of David.
"And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. Zech. 12:10
Before the Second Coming, were we to work our way backwards from that moment, we would see the world and its inhabitants, being tenderized and pummeled by a series of 21 divine judgments. The judgments are sequential, and they decimate the population of the world by upwards of 3/4th. That means, were the 70th Week of Daniel (the Tribulation) period to begin tomorrow, with a current global population of seven billion, at the end of it, only around two billion would remain. The judgments are also two-fold; first to destroy a Christ rejecting world, and the second, to bring those who would be saved, to redemption, namely, Israel. (Jeremiah 30:7-11) So working backwards from the end, the outline is as follows:
*The Second Coming-where Christ physically and visibly returns to the earth in judgment and war. Upon completion of this war, Antichrist and the False Prophet are cast alive into the lake of fire, and Satan is bound in the Abyss for 1,000 years. (Rev. 19:20, 20:1-3)
*The Battle of Armageddon-where the Antichrist and the armies of the world gather to siege Jerusalem-all who participate against Christ are slain (Zech. 14:12-15, Rev. 19:17-21)
*The destruction of Babylon (both spiritual and commercial) (Rev. 17-18)
*The seven Bowl (or Vial) Judgments-unknown, but considering the increased severity, probably many (Rev. 16)
*The seven Trumpet Judgments-1/3rd of the population is killed (Rev. 8-11)
*The seven Seal Judgments-1/4th of the population killed (Rev. 6-8)
So let us recap and summarize the major events we have covered thus far;
The first major intervention into the affairs of man is the Noahic flood. From the expulsion from Eden to the flood, we see around 1,656 years have transpired. The world had rapidly declined to the point that our omnipotent God knew, that He would have to destroy most of mankind in order to save it. Theologians and scholars have overwhelmingly concluded, that due to the prime conditions on earth, man's long life spans and lack of genetic imperfections, the global population then would have been in the billions, and only eight people were brought through it.
The Tower of Babel
The next major divine intervention after the Noahic Flood is the tower of Babel incident. This would have likely occurred around 200-350 years after the Flood. Two interesting sites speaking to this are here and here. The second link is from a Jewish site and posits that the population (he does the math) is around 920,000. I have also included the strong possibility, that the traditional site we think the tower was (now, southern Iraq) was likely still under water. See here for that link. According to Genesis 11, God knew that nothing would be impossible for mankind to do so long as they were united, and again we raced to a point in which God needed to intervene to save man from Himself.
The Coming of the Christ
As foretold in numerous Old Testament Scriptures, a holy and righteous God would have to become a man, in order to redeem a fallen man. We see this as early as Genesis 3:15, but would from Adam's day, take 4,000 years to see its fulfillment in the birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The Christ (Messiah) was foretold to have to be 'cut off' at the 483rd year mark from the proclamation to rebuild the walls and streets of Jerusalem. (Daniel 9:24-26) That proclamation, was given by king Artaxerxes to his Jewish cupbearer, Nehemiah in 445BC. (Neh. 1-2) The Messiah would also have had to been born before legal right was taken from Israel (around 6AD), but before the temple was destroyed in 70AD by the Romans. (Gen. 49:10, Dan. 9:26, John 18:31) The Christ would have had to been born before Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, so as prove His historical lineage, both of which, were lost beyond 70AD. The Christ would have had to been from the tribe of Judah, and from the lineage of David. Matthew 1 attests to the lineage from Jesus's stepfather, Joseph, and Luke 3 recounts the lineage back to David from Mary's father...but both from the line of David through Nathan, of the tribe of Judah. The only historical figure from history, who fits that bill, is Jesus of Nazareth.
The Rapture of the Church is not about making one generation the lucky lottery winners who never see death. The Rapture of the Church is all about removing the Church whom Christ built (based on His death, burial, and resurrection) and finalizing His foreordained commitments and promises to the nation of Israel. Jeremiah 30:7-11, Daniel 9:24-27, Luke 21:24, Romans 11:25-29, and many other passages speak to things and events which will happen to the nation of Israel that either haven't happened yet, or have not found their completion since Christ's first coming. In other words, Christ is removing His bride the Church, in order to wrap up His unfinished business with the nation of people who He initially came to offer the Kingdom too. The Church has no business being in the 70th Week of Daniel. While true, there will be those (many) who come to faith in Christ after the Church is removed at the Rapture, they are not the Church. In order to be in the Church, one HAS to be sealed by the sealing of the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. (Eph. 1:11-14, 4:30) We are a purchased possession. (2 Cor. 1:21-22) We are given the righteousness of God and have become new creations. (2 Cor. 5:17-21) We have no business (according to Jer. 30:7-11) in the Tribulation. That is not by John Nelson Darby's design, but by God's.
This is that final intervention by God into human history, were we see God's vengeance, finally right all the wrongs that have happened since Genesis 3. Jesus comes, along with His saints (Zech. 14:5, Jude 1:14, Rev. 19:6-8, 14) break open the sky and wage immediate and devastating war against the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and their armies. After this, Jesus judges the nations in the 'sheep and goat' judgment, and only those 'sheep' are allowed to enter into the Millennial (1,000 year) perfect and long awaited, reign of Christ from David's throne in Jerusalem. The Church, will come down with the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21) and will rule and reign with Christ for that thousand years. The Millennial reign then, serves as the "front porch" of our eternal destiny with God.
"The non-intervention of God bears very heavy interest, and He is greatly to be feared when He does nothing. He moves in long orbits, out of sight and sound. But He always arrives. Nothing can arrest the judgment of the Cross, nothing shakes the judgment-seat of Christ" PT Forsyth, The Justification of God
The intent with these series was to show that God has not sat silent, away, and uninterested in the affairs of man. He has long been working to bring about our redemption, through a series of shaping and forcing functions which have steered us to where we are today. Countering that is Satan and his host of fallen angels. Why God has allowed Him as much free play as he seemingly has, is unknown by us at this point, but it is believed, that our free will has much to do with it. Yet, here is what the Bible foretells of what has happened, and what must happen. While not being exclusively exhaustive in everything, I believe this provides decent outline of things to come. Having said all this, may our prayer ever be, Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus.