The Bible has a lot to say about the end times. Christians have said even more, making a real mess out of it. Most avoid the topic altogether- and there is wisdom in holding loose opinions here! Lot’s of the debates don’t really matter in any practical way, but I do believe in having a logically coherent eschatological system.
Before I loose anyone in my crazy words and convoluted logic, I ask that you at least give my confession a read. Find a single point that you don’t agree with and latch onto it. Ask me about it, push me, force me to work through it. Everyone has something to bring to the table, if they’re willing to listen themselves.
Confession on Biblical Eschatology
This confession is an Amillennial view in a non-denominational church assuming an Advanced level Sunday class for future leaders. The goal is to clearly define everything of importance, plus a few extra non-critical points to stimulate further development.
Importance of Eschatology:
Three reasons why a biblically coherent eschatological perspective is important:
1) End-times oriented passages are given to us in the Scriptures.
2) The confusion surrounding eschatology breaks down good Christian fellowship, fosters poor doctrine, and impedes the good work of the Church, (2 Peter 3:3-4).
3) The goals of the Christian faith are realized in the future, thus having immediate impact on the patterns of Christian life and practice (2 Peter 3:11-14).
I believe the millennium is the current age of the Church in which Jesus has defeated all evil and initiated his kingdom, his reign over all things in New Creation. This victory is not fully realized until Christ returns to bring judgment against all things which resist his lordship. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:20-23; 2 Peter 3:7; Revelation 20:6)
The Church is the faithful New Creation community embodying and testifying Jesus’ reign until his return. (2 Corinthians 5:10-21; Ephesians 2:4-10, 4:22-24)
I believe death is the separation of the soul from the body in which the soul departs to be with God and the body turns back to dust. (Genesis 3:19; Job 17:13-16; Psalm 30:9, 73:24; Luke 23:43; Acts 7:59-60; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:1)
The souls of God’s people enjoy joyous relationship with Jesus in Heaven, but they long to re-unite with their bodies. (Luke 23:43; John 11:1-44; Revelation 6:10)
The souls of the unsaved are in Sheol and will also be re-united with their bodies. (Daniel 12:2; Isaiah 26:19, 38:18; Psalm 115:17-18)
All souls will be re-united with their bodies in order to face God’s judgment. This judgment will determine their eternal future state. (Luke 20:35-38; John 5:29, 11:25-26; Romans 6:5; 1 Corinthians 15:42; 2 Corinthians 5:1-5; Hebrews 9:27)
I believe Jesus will return to Earth, making his reign a reality for all peoples and powers. (Matthew 24:30, 25:31-46, 26:64; Acts 1:11; Revelation 1:7, 22:7, 20)
The second coming will occur at an unknowable future time. (Matthew 24:36-51; 2 Peter 3:10)
The second coming will bring the full presence of God’s kingdom to Earth by purging the old heaven and earth of sin. God will remake them into the New Heaven and Earth, without evil or the taint of evil. (Isaiah 65:17-25; 2 Peter 3:10, 13; Revelation 21:1)
The second coming will usher in an eternal age of perfection between God and mankind. (Isaiah 65:19, 24; Revelation 21:3)
I believe God will consummate his judgment upon all at the return of Jesus. (Matthew 24:45-51; Acts 17:31; 2 Timothy 4:1; Jude 14-15)
Mankind will be judged for their deeds: God’s people will be saved by grace through faith and then rewarded according to what they deserve. The unrepentant and haters of God will be put forever in hell. (Matthew 13:41-42; 16:27, 25:14-46; Romans 2:5-11; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 11:18, 20:12)
Fallen angels, spirits, and powers will also be bound eternally in hell. (Matthew 25:41; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 20:7-10)
I believe Hell is the ultimate and eternal destination for unrepentant sinners and evil beings. (Psalm 11:6, 21:8-9; Malachi 4:1; Matthew 23:33, 25:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Hebrews 10:26; Jude 7; Revelation 20:10-15)
Hell is an eternal place of torment because it is: punishment for rebellion against God, total separation from God, and chosen by its occupants in their rejection of God. (Mark 9:43-48; Philippians 3:18-19; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Hebrews 3:7-12; 1 Peter 2:4)
I believe the New Heaven and Earth are the ultimate and eternal destination for God’s people, redeemed by the grace of God through faith in Christ. (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-4)
The Old Heaven and Earth will be purged by fire in order to make way for the New. (Psalm 102:25; Isaiah 51:6, 65:17, 66:22; Matthew 24:35; Hebrews 1:10-12; 2 Peter 3:7-13)
Any promises and covenants God made with Israel will be either fulfilled by Jesus or reconstituted through Jesus to fit the Church as the true seed of Abraham in New Creation. (Genesis 12:2-3; Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:44; Romans 2:28-29, 4:1-13, 9:4-8, 11:25-32; Galatians 3, 6:15-16; Ephesians 2:11-22)
The occupants of the New Heaven and Earth will enjoy life uninhibited by sin and fallenness. Culture will develop richly and eternally, God will always be present with mankind, there will be no death or pain, sin will be impossible, and the grace of God will overwhelm the imaginations of all to God’s glory. (Matthew 5:3-12; Luke 20:35-38; Romans 8:18-22; 1 Corinthians 15:22-28; Revelation 21:1-7)