13. End Times: How is God Going to End All This?
The Article: Survey of Bible Doctrine: The Future
This survey article covers all the major areas of eschatology (i.e., end times) including, the OT covenants of God which set up the future, the rapture of the church, the tribulation, the return of Christ, the judgments, the millennial kingdom, and the eternal state. It is important to get the “big picture” when working with this material. Charts are provided to help you with this. Also, keep in mind that the interpretation of Biblical prophecy demands more from the reader than perhaps any other area of theology. Therefore, we want to hold all our views with humility. Doctrines outside the core of Christianity (e.g., core = Christ’s bodily return, resurrection of the dead, judgment of all men, eternal life for the saints, and damnation for those who have rejected Christ) are to be held with a healthy degree of tentativeness.
1. Can you sketch from memory the overall “plan view” of Biblical prophecy?
2. What are the key principles for interpreting Biblical prophecy? Do you agree with them? Which ones? Why?
3. What are the three millennial views explained in the article? With which one do you agree?
4. Explain in detail the 70 weeks of Daniel and how they relate to the fulfillment of prophecy. Work through the key passage for the rapture. How does it relate to Daniel’s 70 weeks?
5. Discuss the tribulation period, including its beginning, ending, and purpose. Discuss the purpose, government, and conditions of the millennium.
6. Discuss the eternal state and relate it to the three covenants (Abrahamic, Davidic, New) of God in the Old Testament.
7. Some eschatological items which virtually all Christians agree upon, include: (1) the bodily return of the Lord Jesus; (2) the resurrection of the dead; (3) the judgment of the living and the dead; (4) only those in Christ go into eternal bliss, the rest go into eternal damnation; (5) the character and plan of God are vindicated eternally.
As the title makes clear, this article is taken up with the interpretation and explanation of a passage of Scripture which discusses a 1000 year period, namely, Revelation 20:1-15. This is perhaps the key passage (but not the only passage) in the discussion between those who see no literal millennium and those who see a literal, 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth. It is the only text, however, which speaks directly of a thousand year period and is thus critical to the debate. Therefore, you should study this article thoroughly if you want to understand the issues at stake. The author discusses at length the issue of the interpretive method (i.e., literal/figurative/some combination of the two) and you will want to give careful attention to this issue to formulate your own tentative opinion. Following this brief discussion of interpretive method, there will be a detailed analysis of Revelation 20:1-15 where you will see the author apply his method to the text.
1. We have already covered the three views on the millennium in the previous article. With that in mind, and having just read this article, summarize again the three views. Your summary should include items such as: (1) the interpretive method each uses; (2) the relationship of the covenants of God in the OT to the millennium; (3) the activity of Satan during this period, and (4) the purpose for the period.
2. Why does God want to stop Satan from deceiving the nations according to 20:1-3? Taken at face value, could that be happening now (cf. Ephesians 6:10-18)?
3. Who are the saints who came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years (20:4)?
4. What does parousia mean? Why is it incorrect to argue that since it is used of the second coming and the rapture, they must of necessity be the same event? They may be, but this argument is inconclusive. Why?
5. What is the purpose of the millennium as it relates to man and the idea of testing?