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

The Second Coming and the Snooze Button

Snooze

The alarm clock is designed to wake us up. An interesting invention added to the alarm is the snooze button. By pushing this button the sleeper is granted another 5 or so minutes of rest. Some have mastered the art of pushing the button more than once. Whether this is you or not, as Christians we must not be pushing the spiritual snooze button when it comes to our Christian life. We need to wake up and be alert and be faithful.

In , the Apostle Paul sets an alarm designed to wake up sleepy Christians! He begins by saying, “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep” (a). This is a strong wake up call. Sadly, too many Christians are pressing the snooze button on this urgent call. What is the occasion for such urgency? He provides the reason in the last part of , “For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed“. The word “salvation” or “saved” is from the Greek word that means “to rescue” or “to deliver from danger”. Here is it is used in a spiritual sense. Salvation is exclusively found in the only One who can save, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. ). There is only one salvation and one way in which it can be received (cf. ). When it comes to this salvation, we need to understand it as it is presented in Scripture – a salvation in three tenses (past, present and future):

Past: Saved from the Penalty of Sin (Justification) ; ;
Present: Saved from the Power of Sin (Sanctification) ;
Future: Saved from the Presence of Sin (Glorification)

So when Paul speaks of salvation being nearer, he is referring to the great occasion in which the believer will be glorified. Glorification occurs immediately for those who die to be with the Lord and will occur for all God’s people who are alive at the time of the Lord’s return. Adding to the urgency, Paul says, “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (). The remaining part of this passage provides two compelling commands for the believer living in light of the Second Coming – cast off and put on.

Cast Off ()
When it comes to the Christian’s conduct, they are to be alert and aware of their responsibilities in light of Christ’s second coming. Paul says, “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy” (13:13). In this verse there are three couplets of sin the Christian whose eyes are on the return of Christ are to avoid. Couplet one (“orgies and drunkenness“) focuses on senseless sins. Couplet two (“sexual immorality and sensuality“) focuses on sexual sins, and couplet three (“quarreling and jealousy“) focuses on social sins.

Put On ()
The believer, whose life is lived in the light of Christ’s return covers and consumes himself with the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul concludes, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires“.

is the Bible’s wake up call to all Christians. The reality is, the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back. Don’t be a sleepy Christian that is characterised by pressing the spiritual snooze button. Live in the light of the reality that Jesus is coming back!

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

Romans 5:10

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Romans 13:11

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Remember the Return of the King

Second Coming

As we approach a New Year, in the midst of many new year’s resolutions and commitments, as the people of God let us be resolved to remember the return of the King. The Bible promises on many occasions that the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God is going to return one day. We don’t know when, but we do know He will. The Old Testament prophets prophesied of His future coming (; ; ).

In we read the following from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself,

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”

Here we see that the Lord Jesus Christ is telling His disciples that they are to anticipate this future event. Of course, in order for Him to return He must first leave which He does at the end of the gospel accounts (; ; ). In Luke is recording the final days in which the Lord Jesus Christ was one earth with His disciples. As they had followed Him to the Mount of Olives and saw Him ascend to Heaven, we read these words,

“And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven'” ().

While they witnessed the ascension of Christ, the angels informed them that just as He ascended, so must He descend again one day.

In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians in we read,

“and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” ().

The apostle Paul describes this revelation of Jesus Christ as an event that is accompanied with judgment. His saints will be released from hardship and the unbelieving will receive retribution.

Clearly, the anticipation of many portions of Scripture (so much more could be included in this post) is the anticipation of the future return of Jesus Christ. Old Testament prophets spoke of it, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself predicted this, angelic beings affirmed it, and apostles wrote of this as they prepared the church. It is a reality, promise and confident expectation – “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” ().

What does this mean for us as we approach yet another year? In the midst of a discussion on the events surrounding the Lord’s Second Coming, the apostle Peter writes, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness” (). We are to remember His return by living lives that prove it. By the Lord’s help, let us be resolved in 2014 to remember the return of the King and walk in the pathway of holiness to the glory of God. Happy New Year.

13 before the Lord, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.

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.

On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

1:1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;

and

“‘Let another take his office.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

1:1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;

and

“‘Let another take his office.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,