There is no more wonderful doctrine than the doctrine of the future. We are filled with hope as we look forward to the day when Christ returns and we see His glory with our very own eyes. “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts. . . .”
End Times (John 5:28-29; 2 Tim 3:1-5; 2 Tim 4:1-4; 2 Pet 3:3-9)
For centuries, mankind has been fascinated with the doctrine of the end times. Even those who have no interest in committing to Christ have gotten caught up in this fascination. People have tried time and again to predict the end of time and have obviously been incorrect. What are we to think about the end times? What does the Bible affirm about the future? I am convinced that we should take the Bible literally where we can, but that we should use common sense and spiritual discernment in order to interpret passages concerning the last days. I am amazed at those who prepare all sorts of convoluted explanations. I suppose people believe them because they seem so complex. God wants us to understand His word. It is not far from any of us. The Scripture that God has revealed to us is not too mysterious. We can have understanding.
If you closely read the New Testament you soon learn that the Bible affirms that we have been living in the end times since Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension. The prophet Joel said that in the last days God would pour out His Spirit. Peter said on the day of Pentecost that the event Joel was talking about was taking place. The Spirit was descending, and He still comes to all of us who call on the name of the Lord for salvation. We have been living in the last days since the apostles established the church by the Gospel of Christ. Paul told the Corinthians that the end of the ages had come. Christ, who was sent by the Father at just the right time in history, inaugurated the last days. Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds. . . .”
As I read the New Testament, I am convinced that the return of Christ will be the grand finale of the history of the earth as we know it. I do not believe the Bible teaches that there are phases to which God has subjected Himself. I believe that He could return at any time, even today. When Christ returns several events will occur together, “in one cluster of end-time events” (Strimple). Several events will take place simultaneously including the return of Christ, the resurrection of believers, the change of living believers, the resurrection of the faithless, judgment for all, life for some, condemnation for others, the end of this age, the new heaven and new earth, and the fulfillment of the establishment of the kingdom of God.
We believe that Jesus Christ will return in all of His glory with all of His holy angels with Him. He can return at any time according to the will of the Father. His return will be physical, visible, and undeniable. We believe that both believers and the faithless will be resurrected at His coming and Christ will sit as Judge over all of us. Those who have put their faith in Christ will enter into the presence of God, and those who have been faithless and remained rebellious will be condemned to the everlasting punishment of Hell. On that Day, Christ will judge every idle word we have ever spoken and the secrets of all. Only those who have trusted Christ will be saved from the wrath of God.
The New Heavens and the New Earth
(2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1). We have been promised in the Sermon on the Mount that those who are poor in spirit shall inherit the earth. And we have been taught to pray that God’s kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. There will apparently be many similarities between this earth and the new. Many things will continue, but there will be extreme changes made. There will be no more sin, sorrow, or death. Revelation 21 also tells us that there will no longer be any need for a temple, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city will have no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God will illuminate it. The Lamb will be its light.
How can I tie father’s day in on this subject? Fathers are responsible for raising their children in a godly manner. Men are responsible for their households. Fathers propel families into the future that God has planned for us.
What are we to do in the meantime?
1. Be prepared for either a quick return or a long delay (Prepare Yourself)
2. Take opportunities to tell others the Gospel of Christ (Prepare Others)
Let me end on this note:God’s goodness and longsuffering toward us are intended to compel us to repentance.