End times

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1. Introduction
About 27% of the content of the Bible is prophetic. Many prophesies are fulfilled by Jesus. About 15% of the Bible is yet unfulfilled prophecy. So, that part is still hidden and unfulfilled. Most churches in The Netherlands fail to teach about biblical prophecy. The church is left without knowledge and isn't prepared for future events. In eschatology (the study of what the Bible says is going to happen in the end time), there are various interpretations of Scripture. The approach in eschatology is two-fold; see below. Amillennialism could be categorized in both eschatologies.https://storage.snappages.site/fh0n7mlh14/assets/files/Endtimes-Dec-2021.pptx
2. Preteristic eschatology
Preterism teaches that most of Biblical prophecy is fulfilled in 70 AD, when the second temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. There are two main distinctions within preterism: full preterism and partial preterism. Both believe that the Kingdom of God already started in 70 AD and that the Millennial Kingdom started by then. Preterist don't see the Millennial Kingdom as counting literal 1000 years, rather more as symbolic. Preterists believe that the impact of Christianity on society makes the world a better place. Therefore preterists claim that their faith is more positive, compared to the belief of futurists who are convinced that the world is getting worse, until the Lord will return to earth to establish His Kingdom. Within the Preterist movement there are similar expressions of faith and practice, such as the postmillennial view (they don't believe that there will be a literal 1000-year Kingdom on earth) and the Kingdom Now movement, which is related to Dominion theology.
3. Futuristic eschatology
3.1 It is all about the millennium
The main views within futurist eschatology are related to the millennium: pre-millennialism and post-millennialism. Within the pre-millennium view there are three interpretations related to the rapture of the church: pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, and post-tribulation. Some Christians interpret the Scriptures when it comes to certain time spans as mere symbolic, others believe in literal time spans according to times mentioned in the Bible. The latter is called dispensationalism.
In 2016 a survey was done among Protestant Pastors in the U.S. about their views on the End Times. See report.
3.2 The church age of grace
Here are Ed's personal lessons. Based on those lessons, I describe the following topics.
We now live in the so-called time of the dispensation of grace. It began with the New Covenant of Christ's blood (Luke 22:20). This time is also called the "Age of Grace" or the "Church Age", which occurs between the 69th and 70th year-week of Daniel in Daniel 9:24. The church age starts with first Pentecost (Acts 2) and ends with the rapture of the church. This 70th year-week of Daniel now takes already about 2000 years, which is pure grace. Many scholars estimate that the end times are about to start.
The Bible says a lot about the end times. In the end times God's grace will turn into wrath for those who don't repent. The book of Revelation, a prophesy revealed to the apostle John on the island of Patmos, describes in detail how God's wrath will be. Nearly every book of the Bible contains prophecy regarding the end times. Very specific are the words of Jesus in Matthew 24. In order to get a view on the end times understanding of the book of the prophet Daniel is crucial. It is, however, difficult to give a clear and brief summary of what will happen. A couple of events will mark the end times. The sequence of future events is what many church leaders have divided in the years passed. In this area we distinguish dispensationalism, covenant theology (reformed/calvinist) and replacement theology.
3.3 Dispensations
The following in this chapter describes the sequence of events as dispensational premillenialists understand it, especially those who believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church. See position 2 in the figure below. Post-millennialists (position 3) and amillenialists (position 4) reject this sequence of events. Post-tribunational pre-millennialists (position 1) deny the rapture of the church.
3.4 Pre-rapture
Before the rapture there will be great oppression against Israel. It all will lead to invasion of foreign powers into the land of Israel. Four prophecies describe these wars and invasions.
3.5 Rapture
Jesus Christ will remove all born-again believers and those who died as born-again believers from the earth in an event known as the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54), in which Jesus will appear in the clouds and will not set foot on earth. They will be taken from the earth in a twinkle of an eye (1 Cor. 15:52) and be brought to heaven, where they will be with Jesus. At the Judgment seat of Christ, these believers will be rewarded for good works and faithful service during their time on earth (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10). In heaven, the wedding feast of the Lamb takes place (Revelation 19:7-10), in which Jesus, the Lamb, is the bridegroom and the raptured church is the bride. The wedding supper will take place around the time of the second coming of Christ, and it is not the same supper as the great supper of God in Rev. 19:17.  That wedding supper needs to have all believers (the bride) be present. For me it is not sure when exactly this supper will be held. If it is still in Heaven before the second coming of Christ to the earth, all Tribulation marthyrs and Old Testament saints need to be resurrected and be brought to Heaven. If those two groups are being resurrected after Christ's second coming to earth, the wedding supper must be held on earth.
3.6 Tribulation
On earth there will be a 7-year time known as the tribulation. During that time the so-called unholy trinity will rule. This is a time in which the Antichrist (the beast or the lawless one) will first sign a peace covenant with Israel for seven years (Dan. 9:27). Half-way that time of seven years Antichrist will break the covenant. The following 3.5 years of the tribulation on earth (Revelation 7:14) is called "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jeremiah 30:7), foremost focused on Israel. Antichrist (1 John 2:18), together with the False Prophet, will set up an image of himself (the abomination of desolation) to be worshipped in the Jerusalem temple (Dan. 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10), which has been rebuilt by then. During the first half of the tribulation there will be 144.000 Jews who will evangelize the world, and millions will come to faith, and there will be two witnesses and a flying angel prophesying about God. At the end of the 7-year tribulation on earth, Antichrist will launch a final attack on Jerusalem, culminating in the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16; 20:1-3). At this point in time Jesus Christ will return to earth, also called the second coming (Revelation 19:11-16), with His armies. Jesus Christ will then bind Satan in the Abyss (hell, bottomless pit) for 1000 years. Antichrist and the False Prophet will immediately be banished into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). Jesus will judge the nations as King of kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:11-16) regarding their position and acts towards Israel (Matthew 25:31-46). Then Jesus will rule His earthly kingdom for 1000 years, also called the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20:1-6). At the end of the thousand years Satan will be released for a short time and defeated again and cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7-10) for eternity. Christ then judges all unbelievers (Revelation 20:10-15) at the great white throne judgment, casting them all into the lake of fire. Christ will then usher in a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1-8); there will be no more sin, sorrow, nor death. And the New Jerusalem comes down from God, the eternal dwelling place of believers (Revelation 21:9-27). There is no temple in the city, because the Lord God and the Lamb are its temple.
3.7 Prophecy
As we look at Revelation, we see that it seems to be all prophecy. In chapters 2 and 3 we see warnings, praises and encouragements to seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea (Rev. 1:11). The names of the churches are the names of real churches in Jesus' time. The chapters are part of the Revelation-prophecy. Some scholars think that the messages to these churches are just a report of history. I personally believe that the messages also have a prophetic content that is applicable to us today, when we prepare ourselves for the events to come; just because Rev. 1:19 speaks of "what is now and what will take place later".

3.8 Time-lines
Ed's notes on the illustration above
Ad 1. How can the wedding of the Lamb with the Bride (the church) take place in Heaven without a prior appearing of Christ (the rapture) to bring the bride to the wedding place?
Ad 3. Who is ruling in the Millennium and when and where is the wedding of the Lamb? I miss the rapture.
Ad 4. This is a very confusing view. All seems to be symbolic. The people who have this view think that the Millennium started with the first Pentecost 2000 years ago. I don't see any signs of a peaceful Millennium on earth at all.
What happens in the 75 days between the end of the tribulation and the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom
  • Jesus’ second coming with the church (Isaiah 26:21; Rev. 19:11-14); all having received imperishable resurrection bodies 7 years earlier.
  • Victory of Jesus in the last days of the battle (Rev. 19:15, 19), in which the armies will gather in the Armageddon valley (Megiddo), but fight in the Kidron valley/Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2), east of Jerusalem.
  • Clean up of the destroyed third temple in Jerusalem.
  • The Antichrist and the False Prophet are thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20-21).
  • Satan is thrown into the bottomless pit, the Abyss, for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-3, 7-10).
  • Jesus’ judgment of the nations (Luke 17:26-37; Rev. 20:4-15); dividing the “sheep” from the “goats”, in which the unbelieving goats are thrown into the lake of fire (Matthew 25:31-46). New sheep are those who accepted Jesus during the Tribulation, both Jews and gentiles, who didn’t accept the mark of the Beast nor worshipped his image. These new believers do not receive a resurrection body yet. Their bodies are still perishable (Rev. 20:5-6).
  • The resurrection of the OT saints, receiving imperishable resurrection bodies (Ezekiel 37:12-14, Daniel 7:27, Daniel 12:1-2, Rev. 20:4).
  • The wedding supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:17); all believers are invited, including the bridesmaids who were prepared (parable of the virgins in Matthew 25:1-13).
  • Jesus and all saints enter the Millennial Kingdom, in which Jesus will sit on the thrown of David in Jerusalem.