Our Blessed Hope: A Comparative Study of the End Times

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If a clear distinction cannot be made in a passage under discussion, that qualifier is added. The upshot is that if you see the term Second Coming of Christ in the Christian literature, you need to try to discern the author's intended meaning and this distinction is not always clear from my cursory review. Many times the context of the passage may favor either the Rapture or the Second Coming but that distinction is not always clear as previously noted.

On every hand one discovers that the Scripture dealing with the second coming is the key to the prophetic future. The important place given the premillennial Second Coming of Christ in Scripture justifies using the term premillennial to describe the whole system of Biblical interpretation which is involved. John Walvoord writes the following caveat….

His second coming will be a very public event. Everybody will see Him. The rapture of the church may be an event that is quite unseen by the world. Although the Bible never calls it a secret rapture because it is not a secret at least to Christians, it will take place very quickly. Signs of the End of the Age. On the other hand, it should be emphasized that there is certainly no doubt that the Rapture of millions of believers in a moment of time will not be a secret to the shocked and awed unbelieving world! THEN let me always live as though my Lord were at the gate!

Let me arrange my affairs on the assumption that the next to lift the latch will be the King. When I am out with my friend, walking and talking, let me assume that just round the corner I may meet the Lord. And so let me practise meeting Him! Said a mother to me one day concerning her long-absent boy: His seat is always ready! May I not make a place for Him in all my affairs—my choices, my pleasures, my times of business, my season of rest? He may come just now; let His place be ready! If He delay, I must not become careless. If He give me further liberty, I must not take liberties with it.

Here is the golden principle, ever to live, ever to think, ever to work as though the Lord had already arrived. For indeed, He has, and when the veil is rent I shall find Him at my side. The influential Christian writer C I Scofield alludes to a " two stage " terminology writing that….

Why would Christ return again… and again?


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As one must postulate if the rapture is for example Posttribulation. The main evidence for a two-part return of Christ revolves around 1 God's distinct plans for Israel and the church and 2 prophecies that describe the time of Christ return as both knowable and unknowable… A two phase return would explain why Israel but not the church is mentioned in the endtime events of Revelation.

At Christmas time we celebrate the birth of Christ. At Easter we commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ. At the incarnation the emphasis is put upon a baby. He came a little baby thing that made a woman cry.


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Christ came into the world as a baby. We have no other report until about thirty years later. There is one isolated reference that Dr. Luke gives us, but for thirty years there is a period called the silent years in the life of Christ. That is a very important period, yet we are told almost nothing about it. Then thirty years later Jesus steps out into public view.

12/12 The Great Controversy & Daniel 11 (A New Look at the Blessed Hope) Bohr

He had lived a life of obscurity in that little town of Nazareth. Now He moves out and teaches publicly for three years, then goes to the cross at the end of that three-year period. He is buried and resurrected. This coming of Christ is for redemption. The first aspect or appearance was incarnation; the second aspect or appearance was redemption. Now there is a wide difference between the two—a little Baby incarnation and a Man on a cross redemption. Anyone, I am sure, would recognize the difference. But we do not call that the first and second coming of Christ.

We package it up in one coming, which is proper. We do the same thing for His coming for the church, then later His coming to establish His Kingdom on the earth. We put both in one package—and I can see nothing wrong with that. There is a wide difference, though, between the Rapture and the Revelation. The difference is not only in time.

Remember that He does not come to the earth at that time at all. Man's Fascination with the Future. The following is a brief summary of the three words in the various New Testament uses so far as we have been able to discover from personal investigation:.

Christian eschatology

In 8 of the 16 it is used in connection with the coming of the Lord in judgment Mt Of these 5, 3 references are to the first aspect 1 Ti 6: Note that Whiting refers to the Rapture as the "first aspect" of our Lord's second advent and and the Second Coming as the "second or judgment aspect". Note also that Whiting identifies the verses he feels speak of these two events but some of these designations are far from definitive.

For example, he designates 1Thessalonians 5: This example is not to given as a criticism but simply to emphasize that if the experts in eschatology cannot agree which aspect of Christ's return a given verse refers, it is little wonder that the average layman might become confused. Below is 1 Thessalonians 5: Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Both of these eschatological experts agree that Christ is returning and that in itself should be cause of believers to greatly rejoice. I tend to agree with Dr Walvoord's interpretation especially in light of the context in which Paul has just given specific details concerning the Rapture that this passage refers to the Rapture. However to those believers who come to faith in the Great Tribulation of which there will be many - compare notes on Revelation 7: The interpretation will be followed here that Matthew Speaking to the disciples as representatives of especially the Jewish nation in the time of the end, Jesus begins in Matt Here He is predicting a specific event so clear and so obvious that it will serve as a signal to Israel to flee to the mountains.

Most premillennialists also distinguish the coming of Christ for His church , which is imminent , and the coming of Christ to establish His millennial reign upon the earth, which follows well-defined events of unfulfilled prophecy and is not imminent …. It is the viewpoint of the writer that all three terms parousia, apokalupsis and epiphaneia are used in a general and not a technical sense and that they are descriptive of both the rapture and the glorious return of Christ to the earth.

The following Greek nouns are used to describe both the Rapture and the Second Coming. The following Greek verbs are frequently associated with the references to the return of the Lord. A survey of the definition of each verb gives a clue as to why they are used to refer to the return of the Lord. And note that virtually every use is in the present tense indicating that they represent the believer's habitual practice or lifestyle! A firm belief in the Biblical doctrine of imminency , will stimulate an eager expectancy for the Bridegroom's return.

Let us heed John's warning in his first epistle…. And now, little children, abide in Him Ed: It pictures an eager looking forward to the coming of one the One! To wait for with a sense of expectancy see notes Titus 2: Below are representative Scriptures not intended to be an exhaustive list that specifically refer to the Rapture.

There are no Old Testament passages which specifically prophesy of the Rapture of the Church. Some propose that the translations of Enoch and Elijah were predictive of or pointed to the NT Rapture but they still do not specifically prophesy the NT Rapture. Furthermore, since the church is a mystery not revealed in the OT, it is not surprising that an event that effects primarily the NT Church would not be specifically predicted. Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together episunagoge to Him.

This passage is a clear reference to the Rapture which Paul had taught about in his first letter. Jesus to His disciples Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In the very shadow of His teaching on the Cross, the Lord Jesus Christ reveals the truth that God had another purpose He would fulfill before bringing in the Millennial Kingdom also known as the Messianic Age, that glorious age His Jewish disciples longed to see consummated. Here in John 14, Christ told the disciples that He was going to leave, go to heaven, prepare a place for them in heaven, and come back to receive them to Himself.

This truth was not fully comprehended by early Christians, even as it is not understood by many today, but for those who did grasp it, this truth inspired an attitude of eager anticipation and longing for His return. Thomas Ice feels that the following passages speak primarily of the Rapture writing that…. Conservative Theological Journal 4: I respect Dr Ice's considerable knowledge and writing in the field of eschatology but I do not think that all of the passages he mentions can unequivocably be identified as referring to the Rapture.

For that reason I have chosen to include many of these passages in the third category click here in which the distinction between the Rapture and the Second Coming is not absolutely clear cut. Below are representative Scriptures not an exhaustive list that specifically refer to the Second Coming. This Second Coming is predicted in Daniel 2: And in the days of those kings the 10 kings and their kingdoms that exist at the end of this present age the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

See Dr Walvoord's exposition of Daniel 2. I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom the Millennial Kingdom , that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.

See Dr Walvoord's exposition of Daniel 7. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in His faithfulness. And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.

Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you speaking of Israel. For I Jehovah will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. The one just described in v3 His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives this fact substantiates that Christ's Second Coming is a personal, visible and bodily return to this earth , which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives the very place of His Ascension - cp Acts 1: At the second coming of Christ, Israel will recognize and welcome their rejected Messiah as described above in Zechariah For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming parousia of the Son of Man be.

See Dr Walvoord's exposition of Matthew Christ will come in fulfillment of His promise given by the angels in Acts 1: He is coming back bodily. He went gradually; they watched Him. He is coming back majestically and they will be able to watch Him. He went with clouds, and when He comes back He will come with clouds. He went visibly, and when He returns every eye will see Him. Taken as a whole, the events which Christ describes leading up to and climaxing in His second coming will be unmistakable when they occur.

While Christians today may anticipate the imminent coming of Christ in the rapture, it is obvious that the second coming to the earth cannot be fulfilled until the preceding events have come to pass. With these words, Christ brings to a close the first doctrinal section in which He predicted events to come. There follows a series of illustrations and applications as the theological truth is related to practical considerations for all those who await His coming.

Signs of the End of the Age - Matthew For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah… 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. Note that this is not a passage supporting the Rapture "took them all away" , because those taken away are not taken to the bosom of the Lord but to the bottom of Sheol where they will await final sentencing which occurs at the Great White Throne judgment after the Millennium. The fact His mighty angels are with our Lord, leaves little doubt that this is a clear prophecy of Christ's Second Coming to judge and wage war.

And then that lawless one Antichrist will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance epiphaneia of His coming epiphaneia ;. Below are a few representative Scriptures that are somewhat ambiguous as to whether they refer specifically to the Rapture or to the Second Coming. Note that in the comments, some of these verses do seem to favor the Rapture over the Second Coming or vice versa , but the passage and context is not absolutely specific. See the example of Titus 2: A similar study could have been presented for many of the passages in this category.

As I have studied these passages and what the commentators have said about each passage, the wide divergence of opinions by excellent expositors is very striking and unpredictable. Such an "interpretation" would be very compatible with our Lord's last uttered words…. He who testifies to these things says, " Yes, I am coming quickly. When we as sons of God be revealed? When will the redemption of our body be consummated? When Christ returns His children will share His glory. Ponder that incomprehensible truth.

Four Views of End Times Prophecy

Let it work its way into your control center, your heart. Let it satisfy your soul. Let it stimulate, motivate and empower your walk of holiness today… and the next… and the next. It is God's glorious hope which is like a balm to our souls in a dark and sin sick world. A better world is on its way and we will soon be revealed in glory, enabled to enjoy His glorious world in a way that we can not now fully appreciate.

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This revelation of the sons of God and the redemption of our bodies are promises that will be partially fulfilled at the Rapture when we as believers will experience the final, full redemption of our bodies as we shed these corrupt frames in a moment in exchange for immortal, imperishable bodies but most would agree that these promises are most fully consummated at the Second Coming, at the final revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ when we are revealed with Him in glory.

It is worth noting that there will also be sons of God both Jews and Gentiles who survive the Tribulation and who enter the Millennial Kingdom in physical bodies and who will also eventually receive glorified bodies but exactly how and when this takes place is not clear from Scripture. Ray Stedman explains the revelation of the sons of God - In other words, this present life in which we are living is just a school time that we Christians are going through, and here we have been placed to learn some lessons that are preparing us for the great day yet to come.

And one of these days it is going to be graduation day -- the day when the sons of God will shed their humble attire and manifest that they have been princes in disguise all along Ed note: It will be as when sky rockets are sent up on a festival night: Now the saints are wrapped up in the common brown paper of flesh, looking outwardly like other folks. I think both are correct because believers today are looking forward to the imminent Rapture and believers who come to faith in the Tribulation will definitely look be eagerly awaiting His Second Coming to put an end to the Great Tribulation!

But each in his own order: This coming would include saints raised at the Rapture and saints including OT saints who will be resurrected at the time of the Second Coming. Because of the mention of the transformation of the believer's body, this passage is most likely a reference to the Rapture and that is the interpretative approach of most conservative, premillennial, evangelical scholars. In the context of this epistle in which Paul was writing to believers whom he knew were waiting for Jesus to return from heaven, this reference is most likely to the Rapture John MacArthur favors this interpretation - he makes the point that the fact that they were waiting indicates the imminency of the deliverance however one could not absolutely exclude that it refer so the Second Coming favored by the KJV Bible Commentary for their will be those saints who lived during the Tribulation who led others to Christ and their joy will be those eternally saved men and women they were privileged to have a part in leading to faith in Christ.

Spurgeon takes a middle ground declaring: This is a high mark of grace, when the Christian expects his Lord to come, and lives like one that expects Him every moment. If you and I knew to-night that the Lord would come before this service was over, in what state of heart should we sit in these pews? In that state of heart we ought to be. For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? In the context of this epistle in which Paul was writing to believers whom he knew were waiting for Jesus to return from heaven, this reference is most likely to the Rapture John MacArthur favors this interpretation however one could not absolutely exclude that it refer so the Second Coming for their will be those saints who lived during the Tribulation who led others to Christ and their joy will be those eternally saved men and women they were privileged to have a part in leading to faith in Christ.

John Walvoord writes that "This verse is commonly related to the Rapture of the church, that when Christ comes He will find His church on earth, serving Him effectively. The passage could, however, also be taken in regard to the arrival in heaven of those caught up at the Rapture. In heaven their holiness and faithfulness to God will be especially evident before God the Father and before saints and angels. Paul was not advocating here sinless perfection as something that could be attained in this life, but he does hold that it is possible for a Christian to live in such a way that he will manifest his desire to serve the Lord and be blameless in what he is doing.

The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook. Although one cannot state dogmatically, this reference addressing believers [cp "To Timothy"] appears to speak of Christ's return to remove His Bride, the Church, at the Rapture. Note that the idea of imminency is also implied by this verse. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom. Because of the mention of appearing and kingdom in the same context, this verse appears to be more likely a reference to the Second Coming followed immediately by the Messianic Kingdom.

Given the fact that the phrase that day relates to rewarding of a crown, this passage seems to favor the Rapture, for most evangelical commentators feel that the Bema or Judgment Seat of Christ follows the Rapture and precedes the Second Coming. This passage appears to speak primarily of Christ's Second Coming. However in view of the verb "eagerly await" there is a sense in which His return is pictured as imminent, and this would speak of the Rapture for those believers who live prior to the Tribulation. In addition "a second time for salvation" is a description of our "future tense salvation" or glorification, an event that will be experienced by some saints at the Rapture and for others who come to faith in the Tribulation their glorification will be realized at His Second Coming.

Once again, it seems the predominant idea is that God wants His children "future focused", for such "heavenly" looking motivates sound godly living. This is the only place in the New Testament where the return of Christ is called a second coming. InterVarsity Press Bolding added. The imagery behind the picture of Christ appearing a second time to bring salvation gets its force from the Day of Atonement, when the priest stood appeared before the people, then disappeared inside the Most Holy Place to present the blood on the mercy seat. And the people waited eagerly, anxiously, expectantly for his appearing.

Then the priest came out a second time and proclaimed forgiveness on the people. So Jesus appeared on our behalf the first time. When he returns, he will proclaim the full benefits of salvation. Life application Bible Commentary. When the high priest disappeared into the tabernacle on the Day of Atonement, the people waited outside expectantly for him to reappear.

Perhaps God would refuse the blood and kill the high priest. What joy there was when he came out again! And what joy we will have when our High Priest appears to take us to our eternal holy of holies, to live with Him forever! Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Be patient therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.


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  • Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. Note that all 3 passages allude to the imminent return of Christ. However depending on which commentary you consult, you will find some writers consider this a reference to the Second Coming and others to the Rapture. The second coming of Christ. He simply declares it as an inescapable fact, emphasizing, as he does so, its imminence. Gaebelein, The Practical Epistle of James, ,.

    When this verb is used of time, it speaks of imminence. James tells us that this blessed event of the second coming of the Lord will come any time, is imminent… Our hearts will be propped up if we live in the constant expectation of His coming. Spiros Zodhiates, The Patience of Hope. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Arthur Whiting Bibliotheca Sacra In addition, Christ as judge began to stand before the door before James wrote his epistle, and Christ as judge continues to stand before the door.

    James wanted to impress his readers with the fact that Christ could come through the door at any moment and cause them as Christians to stand before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ. He could do so today. Maranatha Our Lord, Come! This verse could refer to the Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation, but it could also refer to the revelation of Jesus when He returns to Rapture His Bride and rescue her from all affliction and adversity, following which there will be a time of reward at the Bema Seat. Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

    This could refer to the Rapture J Vernon McGee favors this interpretation , but it would be difficult to exclude the possibility that it refers to the Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation John MacArthur favors this later view. Again we see the difficulty of separating the Rapture from the Second Coming and it is quite reasonable to interpret that both events are in view in this verse.

    This could refer to the Rapture, but probably more likely refers to the Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation John MacArthur favors this view. Thomas Constable interprets this as most likely a reference to both the Rapture and the Second Coming. For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. MacDonald deftly includes both an allusion to the transfiguration and the Second Coming explaining that "The Transfiguration was a preview of Christ's coming in power to reign over all the earth Ed: For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.

    In the context of a world which rejects Christ's Second Coming, this verse would appear to favor the Second Coming or Christ's return at the end of the Tribulation to judge the earth and establish His millennial kingdom. And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears phaneroo , we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. Although one cannot state dogmatically, this reference appears to speak primarily of Christ's return to rescue His Bride, the Church, at the Rapture, especially since it seems to convey a sense of imminency or the idea that He could return at any moment so guard your heart and watch the steps of your feet!

    See comment above on 1 John 2: Again the practical point is that if believers really believe they might see Him any day, they would or should be motivated to live in the reality of His imminent return. Pentecost in Bible Knowledge Commentary favor this as a reference to the Rapture. Certainly if one is continually waiting anxiously for the Lord's return, it would serve to motivate one to keep one's self in the love of God, an application which might favor the this as a reference to the Rapture, but certainly does not exclude those saints who come to faith in the time of the Tribulation, which there will be considerable pressure not to keep one's self in the love of God.

    At the Second Coming, however, Satan will be bound for a thousand years Rev. Later, at the Second Coming those raptured earlier will join those still living in the world who will enter the millennial kingdom. Also, Jews will experience a similar judgment Ezek. The fact that this judgment takes place after the Second Coming, when they are still intermingled, is proof that the Rapture did not take place as a part of the Second Coming.

    When Christ Comes for the Church. Although I favor the interpretation that this passage refers to Christ's return at the Rapture one certainly cannot exclude reference to Christ's return at the end of the Seven Year Tribulation Daniel's Seventieth Week - a "Week" of 7 Years specifically after the last 3. This difficulty probably explains why such excellent expositors as John MacArthur refer to this verse as a reference to the Second Coming and not a specific reference to the Rapture.

    There is however no question that for those of us in the church age, the application of this truth to our minds congers up the awesome thought of the imminent return of our Bridegroom to catch us up and rescue us from this present evil age before the Seven Year Tribulation pretrib Rapture or before the last 3.

    For those saints who come to faith during the Seven Year Tribulation, this verse will likewise be a blessed hope as they look for the sure appearing of the King of kings to defeat His enemies and bring in His year reign on earth. Obviously if you do not hold to a pre-tribulation or even mid-tribulation rapture viewpoint, this would probably not be your interpretation.

    However, in this section, I will assume that you hold a pre- or mid-tribulation rapture view and that this event is imminent in the sense that no other prophecy needs to be fulfilled in order for it to transpire. Let's look at a few evangelical commentaries to give you a sense of how they vary in their interpretation. Dr John Walvoord , the late and greatly esteemed dean of evangelical prophecy scholars, writes that…. A description of the " rapture ". This is the express teaching of 1 John 3: Believers in that case should look for signs. Premillennialism and the Tribulation — Part IX: Conclusion , John F.

    In other words, Dr Walvoord favors Titus 2: Whenever the truth of the rapture of the church is presented in the Bible, it is always in the form of predicting it as an imminent event. It is therefore offered as a hope to believers and a basis for comfort and exhortation with no events indicated as necessarily occurring first 1 Thess.

    The Coming of Christ for His Church. Henry Thiessen favors Titus 2: He does not ask us to look for the Tribulation, or the Antichrist, or for persecution and martyrdom, or for death, but for the return of Christ. Part 3 from Bibliotheca Sacra The second coming of Christ , specifically the very first event of that coming, the resurrection of those who died in Christ and the rapture of those believers still living when He comes, is the "blessed hope" of the Christian.

    When a believer is truly looking for that hope notice that he is to be looking for the imminent coming of Christ , it is a great incentive to witnessing and godly living. Morris makes a clear distinction that Titus 2: The "appearing" epiphaneia, Gk. This appearing of Christ is the next great event on God's prophetic calendar. Christ will come for His bride, namely, every true believer in Jesus cf. It is also of great significance that Paul here refers to Jesus not only as our "Savior," but also as "our great God.

    New King James Version. Christ is coming to take His church out of this world. Thru the Bible Commentary: McGee clearly is referring to the Rapture when Christ comes for the Church. His coming for us means translation the rapture of the church to meet the Lord in the air , transformation or glorification glorified resurrection bodies , reunion meeting loved one and friends who have died in the Lord , examination and remuneration evaluation for and the giving of rewards for faithful service , and reigning with Christ in the glorious future that follows 1 Thess.

    Note that Keathley like MacArthur below combines the blessings of the first and second phases of Christ's return. This is certainly reasonable in view of the fact that both phases bring glorious blessings and both contribute to our present steadfast hope. The last time we saw the tree of life was in the Garden of Eden. Genesis says that the earth was cursed because of Adam's sin, [Gen 3: The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology Baker, says:.

    The rich symbolism reaches beyond our finest imaginings, not only to the beatific vision but to a renewed, joyous, industrious, orderly, holy, loving, eternal, and abundant existence. Perhaps the most moving element in the description is what is missing: There are diverse opinions concerning the thousand years of peace Millennium described in Revelation and the events associated with it. Some interpret a literal, future, thousand-year time period in which Christ will rule over the Earth, a time which will be characterized by peace and harmony.

    Others understand a literal age of peace, but think the "thousand years" is a figure of speech. Still others see the Millennium as symbolic of a spiritual ideal, with no corresponding earthly condition. All of these positions fall into the category of millennialism, a broad term which includes any and all ideas relating to the millennium of Biblical prophecy.

    The most commonly held viewpoints are usually categorized as follows:. Standard premillennialism posits that Christ's second coming will inaugurate a literal thousand-year earthly kingdom. Christ's return will coincide with a time of great tribulation. At this time, there will be a resurrection of the people of God who have died, and a rapture of the people of God who are still living, and they will meet Christ at his coming.

    A thousand years of peace will follow, during which Christ will reign and Satan will be imprisoned in the Abyss. Those who hold to this view usually fall into one of the following three categories:. Pretribulationists believe that the second coming will be in two stages separated by a seven-year period of tribulation.

    The Second Coming of Christ

    At the beginning of the tribulation, true Christians will rise to meet the Lord in the air the Rapture. Then follows a seven-year period of suffering in which the Antichrist will conquer the world and persecute those who refuse to worship him. At the end of this period, Christ returns to defeat the Antichrist and establish the age of peace. This position is supported by a scripture which says, "God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Midtribulationists believe that the Rapture will take place at the halfway point of the seven-year tribulation, i. It coincides with the "abomination of desolation"—a desecration of the temple where the Antichrist puts an end to the Jewish sacrifices, sets up his own image in the temple, and demands that he be worshiped as God. This event begins the second, most intense part of the tribulation. Some interpreters find support for the "midtrib" position by comparing a passage in Paul's epistles with the book of Revelation.

    Paul says, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" 1 Cor Revelation divides the great tribulation into three sets of increasingly catastrophic judgments: If the "last trumpet" of Paul is equated with the last trumpet of Revelation, the Rapture would be in the middle of the Tribulation.

    Not all interpreters agree with this literal interpretation of the chronology of Revelation, however. Posttribulationists hold that Christ will not return until the end of the tribulation. Christians, rather than being raptured at the beginning of the tribulation, or halfway through, will live through it and suffer for their faith during the ascendancy of the Antichrist. Proponents of this position believe that the presence of believers during the tribulation is necessary for a final evangelistic effort during a time when external conditions will combine with the Gospel message to bring great numbers of converts into the Church in time for the beginning of the Millennium.

    Postmillennialism does not believe in a premillennial appearance of Christ. The postmillennial position is that the millennium began at the inauguration of Christ's kingdom reign when he ascended to his heavenly throne and happens, not as a result of the coming of Christ, but as the global population converts to Christianity as a result of evangelization. The age of peace is still a progressing work of divine grace, but without the visible presence of Christ to take the place of an Earthly ruler. Christ will appear at the end of the millennium to lead his people into the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem.

    Amillennialism does not believe in a literal Millennium. The "thousand years" is an expression, a way of referring to the entire period from the first coming of Christ, two thousand years ago, until the future second coming. Many amillennialists believe that during this time period, the church will continue to evangelize and grow as well as suffer declination in periods until Christ's coming. The Second Coming will be a natural culmination of the process of world evangelization, rather than a revolutionary event that brings sudden and dramatic change.

    Expositors of the traditional Protestant interpretation of Revelation known as Historicism have often maintained that Revelation was written in AD 96 and not AD Edward Bishop Elliott , in the Horae Apocalypticae , argues that John wrote the book in exile on Patmos "at the close of the reign of Domitian; that is near the end of the year 95 or beginning of 96". He notes that Domitian was assassinated in September Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John. Irenaeus mentions that the Apocalypse was seen "no very long time ago [but] almost in our own age, toward the end of the reign of Domitian".

    Other historicists have seen no significance in the date that Revelation was written, and have even held to an early date [50] while Kenneth L. The division between these interpretations can be somewhat blurred. Most futurists are expecting a Rapture of the Church, an Antichrist , a Great Tribulation and a Second coming of Christ in the near future.

    But they also accept certain past events, such as the rebirth of the State of Israel and the reunification of Jerusalem as prerequisites to them, in a manner which the earlier historicists have done with other dates. Futurists, who do not normally use the day-year principle , interpret the Prophecy of Seventy Weeks in Daniel 9: Most historicists have chosen time lines, from beginning to end, entirely in the past. In his commentary on Daniel 8: He seems to have overlooked the fact that there is no "year zero" between BC and AD dates.

    For example, the year following 1 BC is 1 AD. Thus his calculations should have required an additional year, ending in He was not anticipating a literal regathering of the Jewish people prior to the Second coming of Christ. But the date is of special significance to futurists since it is the year of Jerusalem's capture by Israeli forces during the Six-Day War. His commentary on Daniel 7: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    Christian eschatology Eschatological views Contrasting beliefs. Olivet Discourse Sheep and Goats. Second Coming Islamic eschatology. Kalki Kali Yuga Shiva. Death Resurrection Last Judgement. Messianism Book of Daniel Kabbalah. Gog and Magog Messianic Age. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message. This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations.

    Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. April Learn how and when to remove this template message. Prophecy of Seventy Weeks and Book of Daniel. Tree of life biblical. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. Christian Literature Publishing Co. Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. The writings of Ignatius and Justin Martyr can be found in Vol.

    Eerdmans; Brill, — , A Study in Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy. Banner of Truth Trust. Studies in World Christianity. In Gunton, Colin E. The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine. An Exposition of the Book of Revelation', Profiling the Future Through the Lens of Scripture', An Exposition of the Book of Revelation', p.

    Retrieved 8 August Life of St Columba. Volume 5 Page 9 Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Maryland and Virginia "Every one of those committed to our care is possessed of an immortal soul and should we not exceedingly rejoice, that we in the hands of the Supreme Being, may be instrumental in leading them unto "fountains of living water.

    Guinan, "Raptured or Not? Archived from the original on The word can be used in different ways. Spiritual writers have used it for mystical union with God, or our final sharing in God's heavenly life. This is not the sense we are using it in here; we are using it in a much more specific way. For many American fundamentalist Christians, the Rapture forms part of the scenario of events that will happen at the end of the world The belief in rapture tends to be what is called 'pre-tribulation'. An Introduction to the Study of the New Testament. II part 2 The Synoptic Gospels — 2. Wright , Jesus and the Victory of God, Fortress , p.

    Bolt, The Cross from a Distance: Journal of Higher Criticism. Archived from the original PDF on The Amazing Facts Media Library. Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics. This goodness theme is advanced most definitively through the promise of a renewal of all creation, a hope present in OT prophetic literature Isa. There the divine king of creation promises to renew all of reality: Isaiah in the New Testament.

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    Preterists typically argue that most Partial Preterism , or all Full Preterism Bible prophecies were fulfilled during the earthly ministry of Jesus and the generation immediately proceeding it, concluding with the siege and destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. Historicists typically understand the prophecies to be continuous from the times of the prophets to the present day and beyond. Various interpretations of a literal number of ,, including: This symbolises God's Holy Army, redeemed, purified and complete.

    Locusts released from the Abyss Revelation 9: Large Army from the Euphrates, an army of 'myriads of myriads' Revelation 9: Futurists frequently translate and interpret the Greek phrase 'myriads of myriads' as meaning a 'double myriad', from which they develop the figure of million. Futurists frequently assign this army of million to China, which they believe will attack Israel in future. Many Bibles employ a Futurist interpretation of the original Greek when they adopt the figure of million.

    Preterists hold to the original Greek description of a large army consisting of 'myriads of myriads', as a reference to the large pagan army, which would attack Israel during the Siege of Jerusalem from AD. The source of this pagan army from beyond the Euphrates is a symbolic reference to Israel's history of being attacked and judged by pagan armies from beyond the Euphrates.

    Some of the Roman units employed during the siege of Jerusalem were assigned from this area. Two people who will preach in Jerusalem at the end of the world. The two witnesses and their miracles symbolise the ministries of Moses and Elijah, who in turn symbolise 'The Law' and 'The Prophets', the Old Testament witnesses to the righteousness of God. A literal days 3. The 'Two Witnesses' appeared to be dead for 3. A future conflict between the State of Israel and Satan. Satan was determined to destroy the Christ child. The Woman the early church , fled Jerusalem before its destruction in 70 AD.

    The Dragon represents Satan and any earthly power he uses. The woman represents God's true church before and after Christ's birth, death, and resurrection. The Woman flees to the desert away from the dominant power of the years. The future empire of the Anti-Christ, persecuting Christians. The Roman Empire, persecuting the early church during the rule of Nero. The sea symbolising the Mediterranean and the nations of the Roman Empire. The Beast is the earthly power supported by the Dragon Satan.

    It is the Papal power during the same 42 months mentioned above. The apostate rulers of the Jewish people, who joined in union with the Roman Empire to persecute the early church. The first is the U. The second is a future religio-political power in which everyone is forced by the first power to receive the mark of the beast. The number identifying the future empire of the Anti-Christ, persecuting Christians. The Roman Empire, persecuting the early church.

    A number symbolising an apostate ruler as King Solomon was, who collected talents of gold annually.

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