The Essentials of the Doctrine of End Times

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When it comes to the doctrine of end times, there is no hiding the fact that believers have differing views. The three major millennial views (Amillennial, Premillennial, and Postmillennial) each have godly, gifted, and gracious adherents.  In this post, I would like to point out four key areas of agreement between the views. This is not to suggest that we ignore the arguments for each of these views, nor am I suggesting that they are not important. My main point in this post is to provide the essentials with regards to end times. I want to consider four essentials with regards to the doctrine of end times that are not up for negotiation.  Continue reading The Essentials of the Doctrine of End Times

What Will Heaven Be Like?

Over the years there have many ideas and beliefs concerning what heaven will be like. Sadly, many of these are based on someone’s experience, desire or some TV commercial. As a result of this, some of the descriptions have been bizarre and frankly unbiblical. Well, can we answer the question, what is heaven like?

In order to answer this question our attention must be directed toward Scripture. It is only there where we can find a reliable and truthful portrait of this glorious place.

When it comes to this topic the Bible is not silent. In-fact, there are many passages Continue reading What Will Heaven Be Like?

What is the Believer’s Future Resurrection?

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The time is coming when the Lord Jesus Christ will issue out an authoritative command and all who have died will be raised up to be judged. This is an incredible thought. This will occur because the Father “has given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man” (). This reference is an allusion to , where we read about Daniel’s vision of the Ancient of Days (God the Father) seated with power and authority (). In this vision Daniel also sees “one like a son of man” (The Lord Jesus Christ) approach the Ancient of Days and is given dominion, glory and a kingdom that is everlasting and expands over all the earth (; cf. ). This is why Jesus says this, namely because it has always been the Father’s intention to grant this authority of judgment to the Son.

Jesus continued by saying, “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (). The reality behind what we read in is amazing. Every single person in history will one day be raised up and will stand before God. With authority and command, the Lord Jesus Christ will speak and the dead will be raised. Note that Jesus speaks of two different kinds of resurrection – “the resurrection of life” and “the resurrection of judgment“. The first is in reference to believers and the second to unbelievers. Back in the book of Daniel we read, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (). From the perspective elf the believer, this future event is something the people of God for centuries have anticipated with great excitement. Concerning the resurrection of life the apostle Paul wrote,

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord()

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” ()

This will be a spectacular event. At the return of Jesus Christ His people will be changed instantly. They will receive resurrected bodies and will be fitted out to enjoy the eternal kingdom of their Lord. Next time I will consider the topic of the unbeliever’s future resurrection.

27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.

7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

“As I looked,

thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.

11 “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

13 “I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. 17 ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’

19 “Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, 20 and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. 21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.

23 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast,

there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,
which shall be different from all the kingdoms,
and it shall devour the whole earth,
and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24 As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them;
he shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.
25 He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.
26 But the court shall sit in judgment,
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and destroyed to the end.
27 And the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’

28 “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.”

“As I looked,

thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.

13 “I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

Daniel 2:44-45

44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, 45 just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”

28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

Where did Old Testament believers go when they died?

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Heaven is the eternal home of the people of God. The Apostle Paul had the confident expectation that when he died he would be with the Lord (cf. 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23), but what happened to Old Testament believers when they died? This question has resulted in interesting discussions and varying views. In this post I will simply introduce three views with brief comments concerning my view.

View 1: Soul Sleep
This view teaches that when an OT believer died their soul entered into a state of rest or “sleep”. This condition was temporary and lasted until the resurrection of Christ; or as most teach it will last until the believer’s future resurrection at the time of Christ’s return. This is the doctrine of “soul sleep”. Seventh Day Adventists share variations of this view and it has never gained much acceptance in the history of the church. I believe this view ought to be rejected (more on this doctrine in a future post). Continue reading Where did Old Testament believers go when they died?

Preparing A Room For Us

Preparing A Room For Us

My wife, Hayley, was having a conversation with a friend about preparing a room for our baby’s impending arrival. It seems to be common practice that parents, particularly the mother, like to “nest”. They like to get the baby’s bedroom ready for its arrival home. They might replace the curtains, or put pictures up on the wall. Some people even paint the walls a new colour! Parents want the room to be just right before the arrival of the baby.

In recounting the conversation about this, Hayley stated that she drew a parallel with one of Jesus statements. And it is a striking one.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.

The quote is from . Jesus comforts his disciples with the knowledge that when he departs he will be preparing a place for them; a room will be made for them to dwell in. Not only that, but where that room is, Jesus will also be. He will take us to dwell with him.

I have often found this a comforting statement, but find it difficult to imagine what it all looks like. If the room is in Heaven, or in the New Creation, then will there be houses? One big house? Will we be sharing a room with other people? Will Jesus be in every room?

Have you ever wondered why we build dwellings? Sure, it’s practical and they help us avoid the elements. In many cultures, our dwelling is our home. It is the place we belong. We build homes, I believe, because we long to be exactly where we’re supposed to be. We long to belong somewhere. Because of this, we construct dwellings in places we wish to settle. They are our homes.

Jesus says that God the Father has a house; and in that house there are rooms for his children. Jesus died, resurrected from the grave, and ascended to heaven, and there he is preparing a room for you, and everyone else who belongs to him. Like the expectant mother who prepares the nursery for her new child, Jesus prepares a room for his children. The love and care which the mother might show in preparing a baby’s room in this earthly home is a glimpse, however faint, of the care that Jesus is taking in his preparation of our room, the room where we can finally be at rest in the eternal kingdom of God. It is there that we will finally be home.

Picture credit: DanJackson_UK, some rights reserved

14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Jesus’ Wounds, His Resurrection Body, and Our’s

 

Picture Credit: L O O K, Creative Commons

A question that is occasionally discussed late at night around the campfire, or pizza boxes, is “Why did Jesus have wounds on his resurrection body?” Such a question will never be finally answered until the Second Advent, but I hope I am not straying off the straight-and-narrow with a bit of theological speculation on this subject.

Paul says that Jesus resurrection body was spiritual (), heavenly (), and imperishable (). Likewise, his body was very physical (, ). When Jesus appeared to his disciples in the days following his resurrection from the dead, he bore some of the marks of his execution on a cross (, ). What might this mean? And what might it mean for us? After all, we will receive resurrection bodies in the same way that Jesus did (, , ).

Here begins the speculation, because the Bible doesn’t really say what it means. I don’t think Jesus Continue reading Jesus’ Wounds, His Resurrection Body, and Our’s

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,

38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.