Satan’s Last Hurrah
The most intense period of the continuing war between Satan and God will be the last seven years before Jesus the Messiah returns in His Second Coming to crush Satan and restore the theocratic Kingdom of God to the earth.
That seven-year period, called the Tribulation, will be the final phase of a unique program that God designed, not for the church, but specifically for Israel to bring it to repentance and reconciliation (Dan. 9:24, 27). Consequently, the church will be raptured (removed) from the earth before-hand (Jn. 14:2–3; 1 Th. 4:13–18).
The Enemy’s Goals
Satan will have four purposes for these seven years.
(1) He will try to convert his invisible, spiritual kingdom-rule over the world system into a visible, political kingdom. Satan will take control of the ruler of a revived form of the Roman Empire, turning him into the Antichrist who will become the king of his political kingdom (Dan. 7:8, 19–25; 1 Jn. 2:18). At the beginning of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will establish a binding, seven-year covenant with Israel, guaranteeing the nation’s security (Dan. 9:27).
(2) Then Satan will try to destroy all testimony for God. Great multitudes will come to Christ during this period (Rev. 7), and Satan’s Antichrist will wage war against these saints. Many will be martyred (Dan. 7:21; Rev. 13:7; 20:4).
(3) He will try to destroy Israel. Since God will not crush Satan and restore His theocratic Kingdom until Israel as a nation repents of its rebellion against Him, Satan will try to annihilate Israel before it repents so that God will not crush him. If He could accomplish that, he would win his war against God.
Once the Antichrist takes control of Israel’s Temple in the middle of the seven years, he will demand that he be worshiped. He will turn against Israel and desolate it throughout the second half of the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27; Mt. 24:15–21; 2 Th. 2:3–4). Satan himself will attack Israel during that time (Rev. 12:9, 12–17).
(4) Near the end of the seven years, Satan will play a key role in gathering the political leaders and armies of all Gentile nations to the land of Israel (Zech.12:2–3; Rev. 16:12–16), intending to use these armies to destroy Israel and to pre-vent Jesus the Messiah from returning to Earth at His Second Coming (Rev. 19:11–19).
God, too, will have four purposes for the Tribulation.
(1) His first purpose will be the salvation of many people (Rev. 7).
(2) Second, God will use that time to begin crushing Satan’s kingdom. Throughout the seven years, He will systematically bombard Satan’s domain with three series of judgments (Rev. 6—18).
The seventh trumpet judgment will unleash the final series of judgments that will culminate with (a) the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah, (b) the complete end of Satan’s rule over the world system, and (c) the restoration of the theocratic Kingdom of God. Thus, when the seventh trumpet is sounded, God’s creatures in heaven will exclaim, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ [Messiah], and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15).
God’s rule through Jesus the Messiah will last for 1,000 years on this present earth and forever on the new, eternal earth.
(3) God will also play a key role in gathering the political leaders and armies of all Gentile nations to Jerusalem near the end of the seven years (Zech. 14:1–2). However, God will bring them for their judgment (Joel 3:9–16; Zeph. 3:8). At His Second Coming, Jesus will destroy the political leaders and armies of Satan’s kingdom (Zech. 14:3–4, 12–15; Rev. 19:11–21).
(4) Finally, God will bring the nation of Israel into a right relationship with Him. When Israel’s back is to the wall and there is no nation it can appeal to for help, it will realize that God is its only hope for survival. Its rebellion against God will be broken, and the nation will repent and cry out for Him to send the Messiah (Zech. 13:9).
In response, God will send the resurrected, glorified Redeemer from heaven. Zechariah 12:10 says, “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.”
When the Jewish people see the resurrected, glorified Savior come out of heaven with the wounds of His crucifixion in His resurrection body, they will repent. The word repent refers to a change of mind. They will change their minds from rejection of Him to acceptance of Him as their Messiah and Savior. God will respond by cleansing them of their sin (Zech. 13:1).
Then Messiah will go to battle and destroy the leaders and armies of all the nations of the world (Zech. 14:3–4, 11–15; cf. Rev. 19:11–21). All members of Satan’s kingdom living on Earth will be removed in judgment (Mt. 13:24–42, 47–50; 24:29–30, 37–41). And Satan will be bound and imprisoned in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:1–3).
Then Messiah will restore God’s theocratic Kingdom to the earth; and as God’s representative (the last Adam), He will administer God’s rule over all the earthly province of God’s universal Kingdom for 1,000 years on this present earth and forever on the new, eternal earth (Isa. 9:6–7; Dan. 7:13–14; Zech. 14:9, 16–21; Lk. 1:30–33; 1 Cor. 15:45; Rev. 20:4–6).
By doing all these things, God will fulfill His purpose for history: the glorifying of Himself by demonstrating that He alone is the sovereign God of the universe.
For an in-depth exposition of the Bible’s philosophy of history, read Renald E. Showers’ What on Earth Is God Doing? published by The Friends of Israel.