< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: End Times. What people think and why they care.

Monday, October 22, 2012

End Times. What people think and why they care.

Pastor Kurt is starting a sermon series on end times! One of my favorite studies!

Eschatologyis the study of the End Times. And there are many ways people have looked at this time. There are 4 views regarding the return of Christ:

Postmillennialism – believes life on earth gradually improves as the kingdom of God fills the earth through more and more Christians bringing His will down from heaven. Christ reigns now in our hearts. We are in the millennium. Christ overwhelms the world with increasing influence and ushers in a golden age through preaching that reaches the ends of the world. This is optimistic eschatology.

Amillennialism - A system for understanding the church and end times that believes that this age is the millennium. There is no literal thousand year bodily reign of Jesus Christ on earth until the eternal state.

Historical Premillennialism - A system for understanding the church and end times that believes Christ will come back after a period of trouble followed by Christ’s thousand year reign. The issue of the return of Christ whether future or not is difficult to determine. Preterism, a popular example, is a form of historical Premillennialism that says that Jesus returned in 70 AD.

Dispensational or Futuristic Premillennialism - A system for understanding the church and end times that believes that Christ’s return is definitely future and occurs in two phases separated by the tribulation. Christ’s reign on earth will be bodily and will graft national Israelback into the vine of salvation.

There are 3 basic views regarding the rapture and its timing in God’s plans:

Pre trib rapture - The rapture occurs before the tribulation begins.

Mid trib rapture – The rapture occurs before Jacob’s sorrow in the midst of two sets of 3 ½ years

Post trib rapture - The rapture and the second coming are immediately before the millennium.

We are dispensational premillennialists who anticipate the pretribulational rapture of the church. We are in the church age. The next event will be the Rapture of the Church (this is not Christ’s second coming as He will call us from above and we will rise to meet Him in the air.) Next will be the 7 year tribulation, THEN Christ returns to end that and He will reign for 1000 years while Satan is bound. Satan will break out, people will sin and Christ will once and for all end sin, cast Satan in the lake of fire and reign on the new Heavens and Earth forever.

The tribulation is described in Mark 13 and Revelation. It is a time of profound trial on earth.

Studying end times is important because almost 1/3 of the Bible is prophecy and 1/3 of the prophecy in the Old Testament points to Jesus’first coming and 2/3s to His second coming! 62 or the 66 books mention it.

It’s also important because it induces a healthy fear of God, makes us realize we need to starting living right and that we need to evangelize more.

1 John 3: 1-3 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

We see from this passage that we are blessed when we study end times because:

1.      We become overwhelmed by the love of God.

2.      We realize that we are misunderstood by the world and our lives must be different from the world’s.

3.      We know we are possessed by God. We are now His children!

4.      We see we will be glorified in His image. “When He appears we will be like Him.”Our relationship with Him will be increased a thousand fold at that time.

5.      We will be purified when we stand before Him.



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