What Does The Bible Teach About The End Times?
The Bibles teaches that Jesus will triumphantly return as Lord of lords and King of kings and believers will live eternally with Him in the new heaven and the new earth. The end times might seem scary to some, but for believers, it reveals our glorious future and should comfort us because we know that in Christ we are on the winning side.
- The part of theology that studies the events of the end times is called eschatology. Believers have different opinions on when these events will happen or if they have already happened, and many of these different views have been accepted within church history. We do need to be careful when studying eschatology because cults will use the complexity of these events to confuse believers and lead them away from the truth of the gospel.
- Understanding the events of the end times is hard because the Bible uses a lot of imagery and symbols to explain these events. Therefore, the method of interpretation is key to understanding the meaning. We believe literal interpretation is the best way to interpret them. This means we read and interpret the Scriptures literally, plainly, and according to the natural meaning and literary style. We are not trying to find any hidden or special meanings in the text, but we interpret it in the “common sense” way the author intended it.
- Historically, there are four views that understand the eschatology content of the Bible: Futuristic, Historical, Spiritual, and Preterist. We believe in the first view, futuristic, which states the majority of events will happen in the future.
Prophecy Already Fulfilled
- Jesus’ First Coming (The Suffering Servant): Jesus’ miraculous virgin birth was around 4 B.C. He lived a perfectly sinless life. Around 30 A.D., Jesus was crucified on the cross and buried in a tomb. Three days later He rose from the dead. Forty days from His resurrection, He ascended to the heavens and now we wait for His return. His first coming was not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3:16–17; Acts 1:2–11; Prophecy of first coming: Isaiah 7:14, 9:6–7; 53:1-12
- Church Age: The church started with Jesus and His disciples, and it was established when they were baptized and filled by the Holy Spirit. We currently live in this age and it is referred to as the “church age” because God carries out His will through His churches.
Matthew 16:13–18; Acts 2:4–6, 41-47
An Eschatology Timeline
- The Rapture of the Church: At any moment, in the twinkling of an eye, Jesus Himself could descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ will rise first, then those which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. We will be given incorruptible, immortal bodies and we will forever be with our Lord. This should be exciting and comforting for believers.
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; 5:9–11; 1 Corinthians 15:51–54
- The Judgement Seat of Christ: Believers will be judged for their good works and rewarded. God already punished Jesus in their place for their evil works when He died on the cross, therefore, they will never be judged for punishment. The exact time of this judgement is unclear, but it is beyond this current age.
1 Corinthians 3:11–15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; John 5:24; Romans 8:1
- Seven Years of Tribulation: After the rapture of the church, the Antichrist will rise up and sign a seven year peace covenant with Israel. The temple will be rebuilt. Halfway into this covenant (three and a half years) the Antichrist will break the covenant and sit in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. There will be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, nor will ever be. Many events, judgements and horrible things will take place during this time (see Revelation 6-18), which is why it is called the “tribulation period”. Many will die and many will start believing in Christ. These new believers will be persecuted for their new faith.
Daniel 7:25; 9:24–27; Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:15, 21; 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12; Revelation 13:1-18
- Jesus’ Second Coming (The Conquering King): At the end of the seven years, Jesus will return as the KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS with the armies of heaven at His side. The Antichrist, the evil kings of the earth and their armies will rise up to fight against Jesus, but Jesus will victoriously defeat them and cast them into the lake of fire.
Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Titus 2:13; Revelation 1:7; 19:11–21; Prophecy of second coming: Zechariah 12:10; 14:4
- Jesus’ Millennial Kingdom: After the battle, Jesus will bind, cast, and seal Satan in a bottomless pit for 1,000 years. During this time Satan can deceive no one. Those who became believers during the tribulation period and are still living will reign with Jesus. We who were taken in the rapture will also be there as priests of God and of Christ, reigning with Him for 1,000 years. After the 1,000 years, Satan will be loosed for a season. He will deceive the nations for a final time and gather his followers together to battle against the Lord (The Battle of Armageddon). There will be innumerable followers of Satan who surround the camp of the saints, then God will send fire from heaven to devour them. Finally, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity.
- The Great White Throne Judgement: After this final battle comes the final judgement. All unbelievers will be judged, found guilty, and cast into the lake of fire for all eternity. (Now is the time to repent and believe in Jesus. This is the only way to be saved from the wrath to come.) Revelation 20:11–15
- Eternity Future: After this judgement, there will be a new heaven, a new earth, and new Jerusalem. It is here that believers will eternally live with God in eternal joy. It is here that God will wipe away all tears from our eyes. There will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain. The former things are passed away and God will make all things new.
- What is Eschatology?
- How should we translate eschatological passages of scripture?
- When was Jesus’ first coming and what is the church age?
- What are the future events in the eschatology timeline?
- What is the next event to happen? When will it happen?