Why has God scheduled future events for planet earth? Why will there be a seven-year period of tribulation, followed by the second coming of the Lord Jesus back to this planet, and then His 1,000-year reign over the earth? There has to be a reason for these future events because God never does anything without a purpose. But in order to understand why things will take place the way they will near the end of time, we really have to go back to the beginning of time and see some significant things that transpired then. Because what will happen in the future is based squarely upon significant things that happened near the beginning.
Back in eternity past God determined to have a kingdom over which He could rule as a sovereign King. That kingdom was to be known as the Kingdom of God. And God determined to create two major kinds of personal subjects to serve Him in His kingdom. First, He created an enormous host of beings that the Bible calls angels. The apostle John in Revelation 5:11 tells us that he saw literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of holy angels surrounding the presence of God in heaven, probably billions of these spirit beings, called angels, that God created to serve Him primarily in the heavenly realm of His universal kingdom.
And then God created planet earth, according to Genesis 1. After He created the earth, He brought into existence the second kind of personal subject to serve Him in His kingdom, and that was man. God created the first two human beings, Adam and Eve, and He placed them in a perfect environment here on planet earth. According to Genesis 1:26, when God created man, He gave man dominion over everything that God had created and placed here on this planet. Now, the fact that God did that tells us what the original form of government was as ordained by God for planet earth. The original form of government is that which is called a theocracy.
Now, you’re familiar, of course, with the term democracy, which literally means “rule of the people.” The word “theocracy” means “rule of God.” And if you were to look up that term in a good English dictionary, you would find it defined something like this: “A theocracy is a form of government in which the rule of God is administered by a representative.” You see, it was God’s intention that Adam be His representative, administering God’s rule on His behalf over this earthly province of God’s universal Kingdom.
When we come to the last verse of Genesis 1, we find that after God had finished creating His Kingdom, He looked at everything that He had made and God’s evaluation was, it was all very good. But tragically, it would not remain that way very long.
Sometime after God completed the creation of His Kingdom, the most intelligent, most powerful, highest ranking angel whom God had made, an angel who according to Ezekiel 28 was the anointed cherub who covered the unique presence of God in heaven, that exalted angel was lifted up in pride over how great he was. And in his pride, he determined that he wanted to be just like God. We’re told this in Isaiah 14 around verses 12 to 14 where he said, “I will make myself like the Most High.”
This exalted angel saw that God was the ultimate sovereign One of the universe; he wanted to be the ultimate sovereign One of the universe. He saw that God had a kingdom over which He ruled as a sovereign King; he wanted to have a kingdom over which he could rule as a sovereign king. He saw that God had both angels and human subjects serving Him in His Kingdom; if he were to be like God, he, too, had to have both angels and human subjects serving him in his kingdom.
But this angel had a problem which God did not have, and that’s the fact that since he was only a creature and not the Creator, he did not have the ability to create other angels and human beings. So the most he could hope for was to persuade God’s angels and human beings to join him in his revolt against God.
By the way, when this angel began this rebellion, God changed his name to Satan, which means “enemy” or “adversary,” because that’s exactly what this exalted angel had now become: the great enemy or adversary of God.
Satan made his approach first to the other angels. And the Scriptures make it quite clear that he was successful in persuading a sizeable amount of God’s angels to join him in his rebellion against God. And so there was a fall of some of the angels that took place away from God. One of the ways we know that is the fact that several times the Bible refers to “the devil and his angels.” For example, the Lord Jesus, in Matthew 25:41 talked about “the lake of fire which has already been prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Well, now that he had angels in his kingdom, Satan then decided to make his approach to man. And we have the record of this in Genesis 3. Angels have the ability to take upon themselves any shape or form or size that they need in order to carry out a task. And so Satan took upon himself the deceptive form of a snake and he entered into man’s perfect environment on earth and tragically was able to persuade Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, to join him in his rebellion against God. And so the fall of man took place away from God.
Now, if we are to understand the purpose of future events, we have to note several tragic consequences of man joining Satan’s rebellion against God. The first tragic consequence is the fact that the theocracy was lost from planet earth. Remember, theocracy is a form of government in which the rule of God is administered by a representative. And now that Adam, God’s representative, had made the fateful choice to join God’s enemy, Satan, in his rebellion against God, God lost His representative and therefore the theocracy was lost from planet earth altogether.