Thursday, April 10, 2008

The End of The World As We Know It

In response to my most recent post (The Interview) I've received a request to further explain my views on the end times. Eschatology is a deep, highly debated subject. I don't intend to examine every verse dealing with the subject, nor do I intend to provide a detailed analysis of everything that will happen from the Second Coming through the 7 year tribulation.

The first thing I'd like to address is the Second Coming. Now if you'll examine Matthew 24 there are signs given that will precede Christ's Second Coming. Wars and rumors of wars, the earth quaking in various places, famines, persecution and so forth will all be transpiring before Christ returns for the saints. There is one thing regarding this that causes much confusion, and that is in fact the actual return.

When people say "The Second Coming" they often refer either to 1. The Rapture, and 2. Christ coming, judging the nations, the Thousand Year reign and so forth. So many are confused as to what will happen when. However, this is easily understood by realizing there are two phases in the Second Coming, in phase 1 Christ comes for the Saints (the Rapture), and in phase 2 Christ comes with the Saints. Essentially phase 1 happens, we have the seven year tribulation, and then phase 2 of the Second Coming. I Thessalonians 4:16-17, Luke 21:20-33, and Matthew 25:31-46 help explain why I'm saying this. For one event is visible by all, and obvious (the 2nd phase); the other is unexpected and involves the Church being caught to meet Christ in the air (1st phase). See http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/proph/rapt2com.htm for more details.

Rest assured I'm giving only a brief synopsis of these events. There are many other details, passages, arguments, and views regarding this.

Now after the Rapture, I believe there will be a 7 year period of tribulation. I believe most of the book of Revelation deals with this time period and what will transpire then. This is the time that will see the anti-Christ, the plagues, great judgment on nations, and so forth. There are specific prophecies regarding the anti-Christ and other end-time events found in the books of the major and minor prophets in the Old Testament (Isaiah, Daniel, Joel, etc...).

Immediately prior to this tribulation the Church has been taken (raptured). At the end of this tribulation we will see Armageddon, and the return of Christ with the Saints. This will lead to the 1000 year reign of Christ.

Now to get to the point, we don't honestly know exactly when Christ will return. At any rate there is no reason He could not return before you finish reading this post; and on the other hand He might not return for another 50 to a hundred (or more) years. It is my personal opinion that it will be sooner rather then later.

Either way, we should realize that life is a vapor (James 4:14). We need to live for Christ every moment of the day and every day of the week. Whether He's coming today, or next year, or 1000 years from now should have no impact on how we live; because we ought to live a life pleasing to God all the time!

Philippians 3:12-16 (God's Word Translation) sums up how we ought to live:
"It's not that I've already reached the goal or have already completed the course. But I run to win that which Jesus Christ has already won for me. Brothers and sisters, I can't consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don't look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God's heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus. Whoever has a mature faith should think this way. And if you think differently, God will show you how to think. However, we should be guided by what we have learned so far."
(Emphasis Mine)

2 Comments:

Blogger FishHawk said...

Thanks!!! It is very well written; and I especially appreciate the closing point.

Thu Apr 10, 03:03:00 PM 2008  
Blogger sweetswede said...

Thank you. I hope it helped.

Sat Apr 12, 10:28:00 AM 2008  

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