What Does the Bible Say About the End Times?
By S. Michael Houdmann, Got Questions Ministries
Before I delve into a little eschatological agnosticism, let me be clear, I am premillennial, dispensational, and pretribulational in my understanding of the end times. With that said, I am spiritually prepared in case I am wrong. Should the end times tribulation begin, and I am still here along with all other followers of Jesus Christ, I will be surprised, but not shocked or dismayed.
Ultimately, the only aspects of biblical end times prophecy that are absolutely essential are the return of Jesus Christ and the final judgment, resulting in eternal heaven for those who believe and eternal condemnation for those who reject Christ. People on all sides of the arguments should remember this. A person can disagree with you on virtually every aspect of end times prophecy and still be your brother/sister in Christ.
If there is anything we can learn from the Pharisees in Jesus' day, perhaps it is that we should not be arrogant in regards to our understanding of prophecy. The Pharisees were convinced that they knew exactly who the Messiah would be and what He would do. They had plenty of proof-texts to support their interpretation. But, they were completely wrong. While there were some ancient Jewish rabbis who understood that aspects of the Messiah's ministry would be suffering and atoning, for the most part they missed it entirely. Is it possible that we (premillennialists, amillennialists, postmillennialists, preterists, etc., etc.) are doing the same thing? Yes, it is!
What if the Book of Revelation was fulfilled in 70 A.D. AND will be fulfilled in the end times? Could preterists and premillenialists both be right? What if pretribulationalists, midtribulationalists, and posttribulationalists are all wrong, and the Rapture actually occurs at the end of the Millennial Kingdom? That's foolishness you say? The 1st century A.D Pharisees thought it foolishness for the glorious conquering Messiah to also be a crucified Savior.
At the end of the Rapture passage in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul closes with "Therefore comfort one another with these words." Sadly, end times beliefs are far more often used to bludgeon other Christians than to comfort other Christians. Instead of focusing so intently on the debatable aspects of the Bible's end times teachings, why don't we focus on what we can know for sure? Jesus, our glorious Messiah and Savior, is coming back. This sin-infected world is coming to an end. We have the opportunity to spend eternity in the most spectacular place imaginable (see Revelation chapters 21-22). Now that is comforting!
Image Source: Martin LaBar; "Pray for Southern California, USA"; Creative Commons
Tags: End-Times | Theological-Beliefs
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