Eschatology - The End Times
KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE
LESSON 12 – ESCHATOLOGY – THE END TIMES
We now come to the last subject of our series – the subject of eschatology. This word is from the Greek adjective, eschatos, meaning “last” or “final.” This study is about the end of time, the end of the world. There are four defined views of the millennium that need to be defined.
Postmillennialism is the view that Christ will return at the end of the millennium (1,000 year reign of peace). This view proposes that the Church Age continues until Christ’s Second Coming which occurs at the end of the millennium. Satan is bound at the beginning of the millennium, and loosed for a short period prior to the Second Coming. Upon the Second Coming is the bodily resurrection of all mankind. This is followed by the Judgment and the eternal state of Heaven and Hell. Unique to this view is that the Church Age steadily progresses toward converting the whole world to Christianity – that things will increasingly become righteous in this world until it reaches a critical mass and then the millennium will begin.
Traditional Premillennialism proposes the view that the Church Age ends with the Second Coming of Christ and the bodily resurrection of the righteous and the binding of Satan, and then there is the millennium with Christ ruling on earth during this period. Near the end of the millennium Satan is loosed for a short period. The bodily resurrection of the wicked ends the millennium, followed by the final Judgment and eternity in Heaven or Hell. This view sees the world getting worse and worse, and near the end a period of terrible wickedness arises with the Antichrist appearing and leads the Armageddon assault upon the Church.
Dispensational Premillennialism teaches the Church Age ends with the Rapture of the saints and the resurrection of the righteous dead, which all those with Christ face the Judgment Seat of Christ, then enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb while the 7-year Tribulation runs concurrent on earth. The Tribulation ends with the Second Coming of Christ, the battle of Armageddon, and the Antichrist is destroyed. Next occurs the resurrection of the Tribulation saints, followed by the Judgment of the nations. Then there is the millennium, which near the end Satan is loosed, there is the Battle of Gog and Magog, Satan and his host are defeated, the wicked are raised to face the Great White Throne of Judgment, followed by eternity in Heaven or Hell. There are four premillennial views of the Rapture are: partial Rapture (that is, only certain believers will be raptured), pretribulational Rapture, midtribulational Rapture, and posttribulational Rapture. Partial Rapture concerns the extent of the Rapture, while the other three views focus on the time of the Rapture.
Amillennialism literally means “no millennium.” This view proposes that Satan was bound at the First Coming of Christ, prior to the beginning of the Church Age, and that we are now in the millennium. The Church Age and the millennium end with the losing of Satan, followed by the Second Coming and the bodily resurrection of all the dead, then the Judgment, and finally the eternal state of Heaven and Hell. This view teaches there is no physical, earthly rule of Christ or paradise; the Kingdom prophecies are being fulfilled on a spiritual level in terms of spiritual realities.
1. According to Heb. 1:2, how long have we been in the last days?
2. According to the following passages, what are the signs of the end of the last days? 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 1 Jn. 2:22; 4:3; 2 Jn. 1:7; 2 Pet. 3:3-4
Insight: The rejection of God and defection from what the Bible says about Him always brings about a decline in morals. In the final days this will reach it’s apex to where the spirit of the Antichrist begins to manifest itself in the lives of those who mock God. This will become fertile ground for his appearing…and even lend to those who follow him when he does appear.
3. Define for me the word “apostate.” (One who has defected; betrayer, deserter, renegade, traitor, turncoat.) This is a Greek word (apostasia) that describes those who fall from the faith, having followed the lies of Satan. In the last days this word is used to describe the state of the apostate religious system known as “Babylon,” put in place by the False Prophet and the Antichrist. (Rev. 17) Notice the application of the word in Heb. 6:4-6. A similar word is “reprobate,” (adokimos). Notice its use in 2 Tim. 3:8.
4. What can we do to insure we don’t fall from the faith? (Stay connected to a fellowship of Christians that recognize false teaching; stay in the Word; encourage others to hold you accountable for your walk; prepare your mind and heart to endure persecution.)
5. Where does the spirit & soul go upon death? Lk. 16:18-30; 1 Pet. 3:18-19; 4:6 (Paradise, Bosom of Abraham. Torment, Tartarus. Abode of the Dead, Hades.)
6. What is your view of when the rapture takes place – pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, post-tribulation, partial-tribulation? (Me – “Pray for pre…prepare for post.” What might happen to the faith of those I teach if I taught pre and it was post?)
7. Who is resurrected from the dead at the rapture if Christ brings with Him “those who have fallen asleep in Jesus” as stated in 1 Thess. 4:13-18? (The new spiritual body is resurrected from the grave, but our spirit and soul are already with Christ in Paradise – our soul and spirit will be reunited with a new spiritual body. 1 Cor. 15:51-53)
8. Will the signs of the end be so visible that people will not be caught off guard by the rapture?
1 Thess. 5:1-6
9. If the dead in Christ are raised from the grave upon the rapture, when do the rest of the dead get resurrected? Rev. 20:4:-6, 11-15
10. What does Rev. 3:10 & 1 Thess. 5:9-10 say that gives us an indication as to when the rapture might occur? (Kept from the hour of testing; not destined for wrath = pre-tribulation rapture.)
11. Supposing the rapture occurs before the Tribulation, the world is then thrust into 7 years of the outpouring of God’s wrath. What does Matt. 24:3-26 say about why the Lord might pour out His wrath during the tribulation? (Note V. 10 – apostasy. V. 22 – cut short for the sake of the elect, rapture. V. 24 – What will keep the elect from being misled? They know the Bible and thus will recognize the lie/deception when they hear it!)
12. During the tribulation, the Book of Revelation reveals an increasingly worse outpouring of God’s wrath upon degenerate mankind. The outpouring of wrath is depicted in Seals (ch.6), Trumpets (ch.8) and Bowls of Wrath (ch.16). What does Rev. 6:9-11 say about the perilous state of those who become believers during the tribulation? (Note v.10-11 How long? Until the 3rd bowl of wrath – Rev. 16:4-7 – how appropriate of a judgment for how they were slain!)
13. Does Rev 6:15-17 give you any indication that the beginning outpouring of wrath during the Seals brings degenerate mankind to repentance?
14. The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that only 144,000 (Rev. 7:4-8) get to go to Heaven. How does the Rev. 7:9 reveal that is not true?
15. Next comes the Trumpet judgments upon the earth (Rev. 8-9), which are worse than the Seals. According to Rev. 9:18-21, does this cause degenerate mankind to repent?
16. Between the 6th and 7th Trumpet is the death of God’s Two Witnesses who have been witnessing the first half of the Tribulation (Rev. 11:1-14, *3). Notice their significant influence upon the earth as referred to in 2 Thess. 2:1-12, *7. How does this encourage you to be salt and light for the space of time you walk on earth?
Insight: Never underestimate the power of your influence, presence and witness. If you are worth your salt, dirty stories and foul language will be silenced when you walk in the room…representatives in Congress will be persuaded to vote with moral consciences…marriages that were on the brink of divorce will be restored…those contemplating suicide will be given new hope! It is the power of our witness that keeps the Lawless One from being revealed in our time! Like the Two Witnesses, you, too, will not be removed until God is fully finished with your witness.
17. With the Two Witnesses murdered and taken to Heaven, and their influence that kept the Lawless One from being revealed now removed, Satan, the Antichrist and the False prophet now make their appearance. Rev. 13:1-18 (Note v. 13:1 the beast is Satan, see 12:3,9. 13:2 the beast like a leopard/bear/lion is the Antichrist – he gets his power from Satan, 13:4 – Satan, along with the Antichrist, gets the worship he wanted from the very beginning that got him cast out of Heaven. 13:5 – notice they have authority to act for the last 3 ½ years. Notice who worships him and does not – 13:8. The beast in 13:11-12 is the False Prophet – he causes people to worship the Antichrist; he performs signs for the purpose of deceiving – 13:14.)
18. Between the Trumpets and the Bowls of Wrath, Jesus commands an angel to take his sharp sickle and harvest the earth that is ripe with corruption (14:14-20). Why do you think the temple in Heaven fills with smoke until the last plagues (Bowls of Wrath) are finished? Rev. 15:8 (No one was able to enter the temple until God’s wrath is finished – He does not want anyone to see Him in His fury – His wrath is so severe no one can endure it.)
19. According to Rev. 16:10-11, do the Bowls of Wrath cause people to repent? Notice what the unholy trinity is depicted as, in 16:13-14. (Spirits like frogs, spirits of demons.)
20. According to Rev. 17:1-3, who carries the Great Harlot into existence? (17:3 see 12:3,9)
Insight: The Great Harlot is a federated form of religion that is political and seduces the kings and merchants of the earth to worship her. It’s just like Satan to corrupt religion to destroy that which is holy, and use it for his selfish desire to have worship that belongs only to God.
21. Once Satan gets the worship he wants, what does he do with the Great Harlot in Rev. 17:16? (He kills her.)
Insight: How deceptive is the power that Satan temporarily gives to others…it’s only for a season, to accomplish his evil scheme, only to turn on them and kill them in the end…like the deceitful murderer he is.
But what is the shocker statement in 17:17? Who really is in control?
22. What is the reaction of Babylon’s (the Great Harlot) destruction from those who gained profit from her, according to Rev. 18:15-19? What is the reaction in Heaven, according to Rev. 19:1-2?
23. Following the destruction of Babylon is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Dressing for this one event of all the span of time is important, to say the least. What are we to wear for this epoch occasion according to
Insight: No clothing other than white linen would be proper when the Lamb of God sits at the head of this table. Since He was the perfect Lamb, the final sacrifice for our sins, nothing but our righteous acts would be proper before Him.
24. When the celebration meal is finished, the Lamb becomes a Warrior. Every part of His raiment is full of symbolic meaning. Explain them. Rev. 19:11-16 (Eyes of fire – He comes to execute judgment and the final wrath of the Father upon the archenemies; Diadems – He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; Robe dipped in blood – His own shed blood is what conquers Satan; Name of Word of God – with words He will conquer His enemies; Mouth/Sword – His words pierce because they are the ultimate authority; Rod of iron – His discipline is final.)
25. What is the final fate of the enemies of Christ? Rev. 19:20-21 What is the sentence handed down to Satan? Rev. 20:1-3 Why not destroy Satan at this point…why wait to destroy him later? Rev. 20:7-10 (To reveal the true heart of mankind as to whether they will willingly follow Christ, or the Deceiver. Notice the numbers of those, who after a 1,000 years of Christ’s rule, turn on Him and side with Satan. This reveals that even perfect politics of Christ’s rule is not all man needs to be true to Him…man also needs a heart that is steadfast after Jesus.)
26. Who gets to sit on thrones during the millennium? Rev. 20:4
27. Read Rev. 20:5-6 and explain this riddle: Born twice, die once…born once, die twice.
28. Having devoured the enemies of Christ with fire from Heaven, and Satan thrown into the Lake of Fire for all eternity, the Great White Throne of Judgment decides the final fate of all mankind. What one thing divides who goes where? Rev. 20:11-15
Insight: Notice Hades is thrown into the Lake of Fire. Hades is not Hell. The Lake of Fire is Hell, and Paradise is not Heaven. The first Heaven (Paradise) passes away. Rev. 21:1 The Heaven we look forward to, our eternal home, is much more brilliant…it is dressed as a bride adorned for her husband…it is the New Jerusalem. Rev 21:2-4, 9-10
29. What happened to the Tree of Life after Adam & Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden? What do you notice about this life-giving tree in Rev. 22:1-2? The original Paradise in the Garden ended with a curse. What does God want us to know in Rev. 22:3?
30. Take a stab at interpreting one of the most difficult words in the Bible in Rev. 22:10-11.
Insight: This verse must be understood in light of the repeated statements in this chapter: “Behold, I come quickly” (v.7,12) and “For the time is near” (v.10). Jesus’ coming will occur so quickly that man will not have time to change their character. Our decision determines our character, and our character determines our destiny. If you heed the words of this prophecy, you will continue to do good; if you do not heed the words of this prophecy, you will continue to do evil.
Notice the promise in the beginning of this book that prepares it’s readers for the stern warning we just revealed: Rev. 1:3
31. What gives us the right to enter the gates of the New Jerusalem and eat from the Tree of Life according to Rev. 22:14? How does the OT end? Mal. 4:5-6 How does the NT end? Rev. 22:17, 20-21
The prophecy of how this world ends is not meant to bring fear to those who belong to Christ…it is meant to bring us tremendous hope and perseverance…Christ and His beloved WIN in the end! The most encouraging word we could ever receive is that the doors to the Holy City are still open to those who would heed the invitation of the Spirit and the Bride…come! For those of us who have accepted that invitation, we echo…Amen! Come Lord Jesus!