Project Description

Bible study on end times and all things “end of world” generates a tremendous amount of air time and page space.  Search under the category of “end times” on Billy Graham’s site and you will get over 230 articles.

“End times” shares company with words like “signs” and  “mystery” and “apocalypse”.  It’s possible the human mind’s fascination with solving mysteries and knowing “things hidden” is at work here.  At the very least we see imagination running wild.  But what if all the hype was just that – hype?

Maybe the greatest and most direct way of how Scripture interprets Scripture is the New Testament writers’ interpretation of the Old Testament prophets’ prophecies.

An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?

Jeremiah 5:30-31

truth on end times

When are the last days?

The heart may be the very last thing we should trust1,5 as it is where evil thoughts and deeds are spawned.4 We must focus on God’s will and not our own2,5 and should be asking God for help.3

Scripture tells us the last days began on the day of Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension1 and continue to this present day, until the “day of the Lord”12. In the normal course of their writing, all of the New Testament writers refer to their time as the last days or some variant1,2,3,6,7,8,9,11,12 – whether “last time”2, “end of the ages”3,11, “last times”6, “last hour”7, “days are coming”10, “these days”8,11, or even “this salvation”9.

Furthermore, we have the prophets that spoke of the “last days”1,4,5,10 (not an exhaustive list) coupled with the New Testament writers that by inspiration interpreted that what they prophesied about began during their days (the first century)1,4,8,9,10,12. These are evident with a quick reading/review, but possibly the most involved and interesting is Jeremiah10. His prophecy (given the confirmation and interpretation of it by inspired, New Testament writers) and the broader context of verses with other characteristics of the last days is worth a read10.

Won’t we know when we see the Antichrist?

A purely Scripture-based definition of antichrist2,3,4,5 requires no human speculation or pontification. It would not be a proper name (capital “A”), but rather a concept or classification – literally, “every spirit that does not confess Jesus”4,5 or anyone that “denies the Father”3. John clearly defines this and tells us that antichrist is “in the world already”4 and were “many”2. We also have Jude’s testimony7 about false teachers, written during the same time period and mirroring John’s definition of the antichrist.

Now having a firm standing from what Scripture has made clear, we can review other, less-clear passages that may apply. These would include what John sees in his vision1 and what Paul writes to the Thessalonians6 (and possibly Jesus’ statements provoked by the Temple visit7). To be clear, these do not speak of “the Antichrist” and shortcomings for anyone to definitively interpret in that way have been noted.

However, what is unequivocally clear in these passages is that while opposition to God exists and will exist, He remains sovereign and in due course will be triumphant over evil…as will all those that remain faithful to the end1,6,7.

Will Jesus come back to earth?

Scripture has a lot to say about Jesus’ second coming, but it never says that Jesus will return to earth. In fact, it says that believers, both dead and alive at that time, will meet Him in the air/clouds1 (specifically not on earth).

We have other passages where Jesus talks of His own return2,3,4,6,7. In these, He never says He will return to earth. He does speak of His throne2,3,4 which some may infer “throne on earth.” One especially2 may tempt a literal, physical, earthly throne meaning. However, unless Jesus is contradicting Himself in the immediate context2 and other places4, we can understand that He’s speaking metaphorically and simply means that all believers will conquer and become glorious upon His return4.

Finally, there is one passage of prophecy that is plucked from its context to sometimes justify Jesus’ return to earth5. Surely His feet standing “on the Mount of Olives” proves His return to earth, right? Except, we see from the context5 – something too often ignored in Bible study but especially end times doctrine – this is a metaphor for judgement and the “dividing” that will happen between the righteous and the unrighteous1,3,4.

Isn’t He reigning for 1,000 years?

While Revelation 20 makes a statement about a one thousand year reign, it should not be taken literally. To begin with, there is no Scriptural precedent to take it literally – in fact quite to the contrary. There is no other place in Scripture where “a thousand years” (or anything like it) is used literally2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12. We see “thousand” used figuratively in books of history2,7, poetry3,4,8,10,13, New Testament epistle12, other books of prophecy6,9 and other places in Revelation itself5.

We are reading it within the broader prophetic and highly figurative vision of John. Furthermore, to take “one thousand years” literally in Revelation 20 would be out of context for rest of Scripture, being quite literally (no pun intended), the only instance.

By the time we get to the passage of Scripture that promoters of this “literal thousand year reign” doctrine stake their claim on1, Scripture has well established a figurative use for “a thousand years”2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 (and not at all unlike many secular examples). Indeed, without the clouding lens of a presupposed doctrine that requires a certain interpretation, the Revelation 20 text is simply communicating to the reader a very long (everlasting2,3,4,7,11,12) and triumphal (complete2,3,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13) reign of Christ and the Saints.

getting to truth on end times is more than a little important, agreed?

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find all our questions about end times

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