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- The Timing of Jesus Christ’s Return
- Jesus Christ’s Return
- The Final Judgment (I): Its Scope and Outcomes
- The Final Judgment (II): The Process
- The Millennium
The history of the world as we know it will culminate in Jesus Christ’s dramatic and awesome return. Associated with this is God’s final judgment of all people, through Jesus Christ, in which the eternal destiny of each person will be pronounced.
Note that further events of the end times are discussed in The Persecution of God’s People. Although they are events that precede Christ’s second coming, they are still an aspect of the biblical teachings that are often referred to as ‘The Last Things’.
No one knows when that day or hour will come—not the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father, 37because just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be when the Son of Man comes. 38In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage right up to the day when Noah went into the ark. 39They were unaware of what was happening until the flood came and swept all of them away. That’s how it will be when the Son of Man comes. Matthew 24:36-39 ISV
And when you hear of wars and rebellions, do not be afraid. For these things must happen first, but the end will not come at once.” 10Then he [Jesus] said to them, “Nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven. Luke 21:9-11 NET
For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. 4He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God. 2 Thessalonians 2:3b-4 NET
This “man of lawlessness” (v. 3) appears to be a final antichrist, (cf. Revelation 13), instigating momentous “rebellion” (v. 3) against God.
Immediately after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. 30Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. Matthew 24:29-30a NET
[Paul, to believers:] For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NET
But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him. 24Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has brought to an end all rule and all authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 1 Corinthians 15:23-25 NET
This and the above subsections show that people will be judged according to their deeds and their response to Jesus Christ.
Gentiles without knowledge of the Mosaic Law, by nature have a grasp of its requirements (cf. vv. 14-15) and will be judged as such (v. 12a). Those who know the law have a clearer understanding of what God requires, and so they will be judged more strictly (v. 12b).
They [believers who had been martyred] came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were finished.) This is the first resurrection. Revelation 20:4b-5 NET
Revelation 20:1-6 is critical to the concept of “The Millennium”. Each of verses 2-6 refers to a thousand year period – a millennium. This millennium is also arguably referred to by numerous OT passages (cf. God’s Plans for Israel) and possibly a few other NT ones.
The two most popular interpretations of this “Millennium” today are the Amillennialist and Premillennialist viewpoints. Amillennialists view the reign of deceased believers with Christ (cf. Revelation 20:4b ↑) to refer to a present reign in heaven. They see this reign as having been introduced by Jesus Christ’s first coming, with him being pronounced Lord of all. They believe that Jesus Christ will return, and then the general resurrection will occur, followed by the final judgment. Following this would be the reign of Jesus Christ over the new earth in the afterlife.
Premillennialists believe that Christ’s return will be followed by a first resurrection of believers, who will reign with Christ in a literal thousand-year rule of righteousness on earth. This would then be followed by the final resurrection and then the final judgment.