Eschatology is very important for our understanding of how God is going to bring to a close the whole of human history. We are living in what believers commonly call the end times. The Greek term eschatos is translated into the English word final. We get the phrase last things from the Greek. Eschatology.
John the apostle believed that he was living in the final hour and Christs return was imminent. He was not to know that what he saw would accompany the whole of the church age. (1.Jn.2:18) Little children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know it is the last hour.
I believe John sincerely understood that he and the church were in the final hour. We are in the final hour, but not in the sense you and I understand time. Jesus said a day to him could be a thousand years or a thousand years just like a day.
You cannot approach time as the Bible defines it in the sense we understand time. God the Son our risen Lord is not restricted by time, space, and history. This I believe is the only approach to quite a difficult subject. My prayer is that God would enlighten our minds on how he would have us understand such an immense truth. It will enable us to serve him better.
You and I must pursue holy living regardless of all that is happening around us.
The risen glorified Lord could come suddenly. (2.Tim:4:8) Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. I look forward with the rest of my brothers and sisters to the sudden appearance of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Perhaps if we viewed things through the heart and mind of the apostle John, considering the lateness of the hour, our spirits would be stirred to further Gods Kingdom. Not only does the author of the First Letter of John discuss the lateness of the hour, he brings before us the danger of the Antichrist. A subject belonging to the doctrine of Eschatology which includes the antichrist spirit, the Rapture of the church, the Great Tribulation, the restoration of national Israel , the millennial reign of Christ...
There are many different views of how these things will take place. It is not my intention to be an antagonist towards my brothers and sisters in other denominations, because we all belong to one risen glorified Lord. Every Evangelical Church who preaches Christ crucified, and resurrected by God our Father, belongs to the universal, visible.and invisible world wide church of our Lord Jesus Christ. My prayer is for harmony, and that we should love one another with the love Christ has deposited in each of us. To be a great light dispelling the darkness that surrounds us for the sake of the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us agree to disagree on the things that pale into insignificance, compared to the greatness of his Majesty Jesus Christ, whom we will all see when he comes for his church. We are the body of Jesus Christ which is also called his church. On these premises let us continue to love one another in the same manner our risen Lord continues to love us.
I will put forward what I believe my interpretation of events may be as led by the Spirit. I could be wrong, and you could be right. Therefore; with the mercy of God upon us let us agree to disagree.
The term Rapture comes from the Latin translation of the Bible. A word that reads simul rapiemur cum illis.Roughly translated from the New Spirit Filled Life Bible.NKJV.P1687. Caught up together with them... The chief passage for the teaching of the Rapture. (1.Thess.4:15-18) I would like to point out I have no idea about Latin, and I only use the above term, because the title had been designated in the past by scholars in Latin.However;the translation that you and I read is just as every bit as accurate. Do not let this put you off.
(1.Thess.4:16, 17 ;) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first (17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
I believe the key to our understanding lies in the phrase, And the dead in Christ will rise first. The apostle envisages a time for those who have died, to be raised to life by the Lord of glory, when he comes for his church. The importance of these words should not be missed, only the dead in Christ will be raised to life. Many different Bible Commentaries point to Matthew as the beginning of this, but I personally cannot see the connection. (Mtt.24:30, 31 ;) Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, 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 His angels with the great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
There is no mention of the church here. What is spoken of is Christs chosen ones. Jesus Christ uses the title Son of Man. It must be kept in mind that our Lord, although he uses the above title, after his death and resurrection, he will be the risen glorified Lord. He will retain the title that describes him as the Son of Man. On that basis you have his human nature including his deity as one who is God. Conservative New Testament theologians and scholars describe him as the Godman. There are two natures in our Lord that sit perfectly together, one as man, the other God. We see the risen exalted glorified Christ, both as man, and God.
Christ will gather in his elect through his angels by bringing them together from the four winds, and from one end of heaven to the other. My belief is that the elect spoken of here is none other than Christs church. Christs church which is you and I is already in heaven. The Rapture has already taken place. Our Lord while on earth in his foreknowledge sees this happening. The Rapture is still to come, and we must live in a manner God expects of us. The time of this prophetic word is closing in fast.
I find it rather difficult to believe that there are those of my brothers, and sisters, who are of the persuasion that a God who is merciful towards his people, will allow them to face the tribulation with the wicked that have turned their back towards him. You have to ask, what is the point of giving salvation to a people chosen by God, from God through his Son Jesus Christ to allow them to suffer the great tribulation with those who have rejected the claims of Jesus Christ upon their lives? This view does not show the love and mercy of God for those who know Jesus Christ as Lord. How can it? Many quote Matthew chapter 24 as evidence for the second coming of the Lord. I agree. If you read carefully the whole passage, particularly at the end, the church of Jesus Christ is already in heaven. He sends his angels with a loud trumpet blast to gather together the elect from the four winds and from one end of heaven to the other. When the glorified exalted Lord spoke to his prophet John, concerning the Revelation he received from his Father, the prophet John was told to write the words down (Rev.3:10) Because you have kept the word of my patience to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. The saints at Thessalonica were given the same assurances from the apostle Paul in his first letter to them. (1.Thess.1:10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. What a great and glorious God you and I have in the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. We must include the Blessed Holy Spirit .He is also God. There are three persons who make up the one God... Praise His glorious name. We look forward to seeing the Son of God coming with the clouds to take hold of his church. What a great day that will be for you and I who know Him as Lord.Amen, and Hallelujah!
From chapter 4 to chapter 22 of Revelation the church is not to be seen. There is only one other reference. Not as the church, but as the bride of Christ. Jesus is spoken of as that of the Lamb. The church is the wife of the Lamb. (Rev.19:7) The Bride has now become the wife. Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready The Church of our Lord Jesus Christ is already in heaven. She is his Bride and He is her Bridegroom. The marriage is now to be consummated. A great and glorious day awaits you and me who love the Lord. We will be at this marriage feast that will take place in heaven at the Lords Table. We who belong to the body of Christ, commonly called the church, are his bride. Let us all look heaven ward for his glorious appearing.
When will this happen? I have no idea. Our Lord spoke on this very important matter to his disciples. (Mtt.24:36-44.) I will quote the whole of the passage, because in it, the Lord gives to us a very serious warning to be patient, and watchful. (36) But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.(37) But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.(38) For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the Ark, (39) and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also the coming of the Son of Man be.(40) Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.(41) Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. (42) Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. (43) But know this that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. (44) Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. More important than ever in these last days to be obedient and do what pleases God with gladness in our hearts. Not to comply may mean some could be left behind.
The signs our beloved Lord spoke of can be seen all around us. Do not be deceived by any one. (Mtt.24:4) And Jesus answered and said to them: Take heed that no one deceives you. Many will be deceived. (Mtt.24:5) For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many. I am afraid the lies of deception are constantly around us in every shape and form, and we must fight them with Holy Spirit fire. The deception our Lord is speaking of is the religious deception that leads the weak away from him. You and I must pray that they would be strong in the face of temptation. This type of deception is the false religion that would stop the church from following the one true God Jesus Christ.
There are those who pastor Christs church that do not believe in his virgin birth, and yet without Christs virgin birth there would be no Christianity. We must pray that God would send his Spirit into their hearts to soften them in accepting that Jesus Christ was born through the Holy Spirit of a virgin. The virgin was Mary his mother.
A new translation of the Bible omits that men should marry women being replaced with the phrase that you can marry a regular partner. Such lies are backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. We need to pray that the truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ will release them from this devilish plot of Satan. The book is called, Good as New. This has been done to conform to the secular world and not to please God. A warning has been fired across our bows we must take heed of it. I am not against these men, but they have fallen a long way, and they need our prayers, that they would repent, accepting the mercy, and love of God, recognizing Jesus Christ is Lord.