The following are how the Seventh-Day Adventists would define various coming end time periods and events.
The End Times — The end times leading up to the soon return of Jesus began in 1844 when Jesus entered the Holy of Holies in Heaven and began His investigative judgment of the sins and works of believers. When this work is finished, the Rapture will occur.
The Tribulation — In the end times, the United States will align with the Vatican in a conspiracy to impose Sunday worship upon the world. This will lead to a terrible persecution of Sabbath keepers. The “crowning act” during this time will occur when Satan impersonates Jesus and declares Sunday to be the official Sabbath. The papacy is portrayed as the Antichrist; Protestant Christianity is the False Prophet; the United States is the enforcer; and the period of persecution will constitute the Great Tribulation which will culminate in the Battle of Armageddon between the true believers and the Sunday-keepers who have taken the Mark of the Beast.
The Rapture — At this point, Jesus will appear in the heavens. All eyes will see Him. The righteous dead will be resurrected, the living saints will be caught up, and all the redeemed will return to Heaven with Jesus. Before returning to Heaven, Jesus will pour out the wrath of God on the nations, all the wicked will be killed, and the earth will be totally devastated.
The Millennium — The saved will spend the next 1,000 years in Heaven with the Lord. The sins of the redeemed will be placed upon Satan, and he and his angels will be banished to the desolate earth where they will wander for the next thousand years. Meanwhile, during this time in Heaven, the redeemed will judge the lost, reviewing their deeds to determine their degrees of punishment.
The Second Coming — At the end of the Millennium, Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives. The redeemed will return with Him, but they will descend inside the New Jerusalem. Jesus will command the wicked to rise from the dead. Satan will then rally these people to revolt against Jesus and His saints. They will march against the New Jerusalem. Fire will engulf the earth while the redeemed are protected inside the New Jerusalem. The wicked will have their judgments pronounced and will then be thrown into the Lake of Fire where they will experience degrees of punishment and then suffer destruction.
The Eternal State — Out of the fiery inferno will come a New Earth, purified by fire. God will then recreate the earth in beauty and perfection. The redeemed will live in the presence of God on this New Earth eternally.
In the next part of this series on what the Seventh-Day Adventists believe concerning the end times, we’ll analyze in more detail how they view the Tribulation.