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 trust1,4,5 as it is where evil thoughts and deeds are spawned6,7. We must focus on God’s will and not our own2,5 and should be asking God for help3 and wisdom7.

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 variant1,2,3,6,7,8,9,11,12,13,14 – whether “last time”2, “end of the ages”3,13, “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 the prophets 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 (and John8). In these, never is it said He will return to earth. He does speak of His throne2,3,4 which some may infer “throne on earth.” One2, in particular, may tempt someone to make a literal, physical, earthly throne interpretation. 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 literally2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15. We see “thousand” used figuratively in books of history2,7,14, poetry3,4,8,10,13, New Testament epistles12,15, other books of prophecy6,9 and other places in Revelation itself5.

In Revelation we are reading “one thousand years” 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”2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 (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 (complete2,3,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15) 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

answered by the Bible study framework

  • When is the Tribulation

    When is the Tribulation on earth?

    Events in the world today have many asking, "Are we entering the tribulation?"  Do events in the world around us suggest that the tribulation is beginning or about to begin? For the Christian, the "tribulation" is ongoing.  New Testament writers consistently spoke about a "then [more]

  • Jesus kingdom

    Was Jesus’ kingdom established in the first century?

    The idea of Jesus' kingdom comes from Jesus Himself, but was Jesus' kingdom established when He walked on earth in the first century? The question of "When?" regarding Jesus' kingdom is debated.  Some even say that Jesus came to establish His kingdom but he failed. What will Scripture tell [more]

  • Thousand year reign

    Will Jesus reign 1000 years?

    Many believe that Jesus will reign 1000 years when He returns (the doctrine of "millennialism"). In fact, the Bible says that, "they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him [Jesus] for a thousand years." (Revelation 20:6) However, it's just one verse. Could it [more]

  • Come before God in judgement

    Who will come before God in judgment?

    Many today live as though they will never come before God in judgment. But Jesus said, "Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." (Matthew 24:44) In the same context, he divulges that "concerning that day and hour [more]

  • Judged according to works

    Will we be judged according to works?

    The idea that we will be judged according to works is a remarkably contentious one. It would seem that the thought of being "judged according to works" requires that God's grace must be denied. In other words, to say that we are judged according to works is to say that [more]

  • Tribulation

    What does the Bible say about [the] tribulation?

    A Google search on the word "tribulation" yields front page results about the Tribulation (capital "T") or even the Great Tribulation. In fact, we had to go three pages deep before getting the simple definition of the word (lowercase "t"), only to be followed by several more pages of [more]

  • Promised Land

    Was the land promise fulfilled in 1948?

    God's land promise was originally made to Abraham in roughly 2,000BC. The Bible first tells of the land promise in Genesis 12:1-3 and it is repeated several more times to Abraham and descendants Isaac and Jacob (aka Israel). As a result, the "Promised Land" became the great quest [more]

  • King David

    Will King David return to reign again?

    A literal return of King David is a tenant of much of the modern religious thought today. Purveyors of premillennial doctrine, such as David Jeremiah, teach that King David will return in the flesh to rule alongside Jesus during the thousand year reign on earth. The prophets have much to [more]

  • Elijah

    Will Elijah return?

    Central to this question of will Elijah return is a prophecy given by Malachi. Elijah was a prophet that lived during the final days of the judges, just before the first King Saul was installed over the twelve tribes of Israel. He lived roughly seven hundred years before Malachi, yet [more]

  • Spiritual remnant

    How many are in God’s remnant?

    One of the oft debated questions about the remnant of Israel described in God's word is how many it will include. There are different ideas, but one of the most prominent beliefs about the number in God's remnant comes from Revelation. That's the first passage1 we will look at but [more]

  • Christ's Kingdom

    What is the nature of the kingdom of God?

    Understanding the kingdom of God and its characteristics is fundamental to understanding much of God's revealed word. How and what one understands the kingdom of God to be will impact their understanding of such monumental events as Jesus coming to earth, His promised return and the final judgment! First [more]

  • Interpreting Bible Prophecy

    Can we interpret Bible prophecy?

    How we interpret Bible prophecy presents a unique challenge, at least to the extent that the question should be asked...Is Bible prophecy even something we can interpret? interpret (verb): 1-to explain or tell the meaning of : present in understandable terms. 2-to conceive in the light of individual belief, judgment, [more]

  • Antichrist

    Who is the Antichrist?

    So much is made today about the Antichrist (capital "A"). A search on YouTube for prognosticators about the person of the Antichrist - his appearing, his personality, his birthplace, etc. etc. - will garner videos with hundreds of thousands, even millions of views. We've linked one such purveyor here. [more]

  • Last Days

    When are the last days?

    The last days is a common phrase in Scripture, especially with the prophets of the Old Testament. They often speak of the last days and other derivative phrases such as days are coming or latter days or in/on that day. The Hebrew words for "last/latter" and "days" can be understood [more]

  • Jesus return to earth

    Will Jesus return…to earth?

    Jesus will return to earth...this is the unchallenged position of many Christians today. It's part of and foundational to a much broader belief around Jesus' second coming - also known as end times doctrine or eschatology. In addition to Jesus’ return to earth, other popularly believed aspects of His [more]

  • Thousand year reign

    Will there be a literal one thousand year reign?

    A literal one thousand year reign of Jesus on His throne. There are many that believe Jesus' return is for just that - a one thousand year reign (millennium) on earth. It is widely taught and even passed down as "church doctrine." It is a teaching that comes from [more]

  • Religious Influence

    Can the righteous influence unrighteous leaders?

    At the intersection of religion and politics is influence. Specifically, can the righteous influence unrighteous leaders? Of course, there are all kinds of religious interest groups attempting to influence policy one way or the other. But what about individual influence? At the time of this posting, the United States is [more]

  • Government

    Does God work through unrighteous political leaders?

    Nero of Rome Unrighteous political leaders can hold sway on many things that Christians must endure. It could be policy decisions, wars that are fought or just general injustice and corruption. The unrighteous political leaders' decisions can have a profound effect on a Christian - how they [more]