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Theology - The Last Things

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The End Times

Fancy word: Eschatology - comes from the greek word “eskatos” which means last , and “logos” which means word . Eschatology is the study of the last things, and it is a major topic in systematic theology.
And although it refers to the study of the last things, or end times during Jesus’ return, eschatology doesn’t pertain only to the future. Because Jesus and raised from the dead, victory has already been won.
Jesus’ Second Coming
Millinium
Rapture
Why study the last times? Paul gives his reason in for Jesus’ second coming.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 NIV
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.
After describing the Jesus’ return he reassured his readers of something;
1 Thessalonians 4:18 NIV
18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
It’s easy to forget that even in Revelation, God’s Word is intended to comfort and assure us.

Death

Nature of Death
We’ll start off on a positive note; we’re all going to die eventually. That’s something everyone agrees on, regardless of religious beliefs.
According to Scripture, life and death aren’t the though of existence and nonexistence, but as two different states of existence.
Death is simply a transition to a different mode of existence, not extinction.
Scripture speaks of spiritual and eternal death
Physical death - separation of the soul from the body
Spiritual death - separation of the person from God; the finalizing of that state of separation
Paul writes about spiritual deadness in .
Ephesians 2:1–2 NIV
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
This eternal death is referred to as the “second death ” in .
Revelation 21:8 NIV
8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
This second death is something separate from the normal physical death. We know from that the second death will not be experienced by believers. It is an endless period of punishment and of separation from the presence of God, the finalization of the lost state of the individual who is spiritually dead at the time of physical death.
Revelation 20:6 NIV
6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
Revelations 20:6
The Effect of Death
For the unbeliever , death is a curse; a penalty; an enemy. For the believer , the curse is gone.
They don’t see any positive that comes from it, and results in fear. Paul was able to take a different approach and attitude towards death as a believer, though. ()
Philippians 1:20–23 NIV
20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;
Intermediate State
Their death cuts them off from God and from any opportunity of obtaining eternal life.
What is
Refers to the condition of humans between their death and the resurrection .
For the believer, the curse is gone.
When someone dies, people will ask “where is Grandma now? What is she doing? Is she already with Jesus? Is she looking down on us?
It’s important to know that the Bible speaks very little of the intermediate state. It speaks about the resurrection and Jesus’ second coming way more than this. One reason this might be is that because the period between Jesus’ departure and his return was pretty brief, that the early church might have expected that ours would be as well.
Also, regardless of how long this period is for us, because it is temporary it didn’t concern them as much as the final states of heaven and hell did.
Views
Soul Sleep - the soul reposes in a state of unconsciousness during the period between death and resurrection.
One of the main arguments for this is that Scripture uses the imagery of sleep to refer to death (Steaphen, David, Lazurus).
Purgatory - a place that a Christian’s soul goes to after death to be cleansed of the sins that had not been fully satisfied during life.
Of course, this goes against what Scripture says becuase we beleive that Jesus dies to pay the penalty for ALL our sins. This is primarily a Catholic view, and they understand it as a place of cleaning in preparation for heaven because they don’t recognize that because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we are already cleansed, declared righteous, forgiven, redeemed, reconciled, and sanctified.
Instantaneous Resurrection - immediately upon death, the believer receives the resurrection body that has been promised.
C&MA Statement of Faith
There shall be a bodily resurrection of the just and of the unjust; for the former, a resurrection unto life; for the latter, a resurrection unto judgment.
1 Corinthians 15:20–23 NIV
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
John 5:28–29 NIV
28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.

Jesus’ Return

The Second Coming
The second coming is the basis of the Christians’ hope, the one event which will make the beginning of the completion of God’s plan.
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C&MA Statement of Faith
The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent and will be personal, visible, and premillennial. This is the believer’s blessed hope and is a vital truth which is an incentive to holy living and faithful service.
Immanent
Hebrews 10:37 NIV
37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”
Personal, visible, and premillennial
Luke 21:27 NIV
27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Incentive
Titus 2:11–14 NIV
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
The Bible is clear that we do not know the exact time when Jesus will return.

Resurrection

The Bible clearly promises resurrection of the believer ()
Isaiah 26:19 NIV
19 But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise— let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy— your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.
Jesus spoke about the resurrection directly. (; John 5:28-29)
John 5:25 NIV
25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.
John 5:28–29 NIV
28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.
Paul and John wrote about the resurrection, and clearly believed and taught that there would be a future bodily resurrection. (; ; ; ; )
All of the members of the Trinity are involved in the resurrection of believers. (; Corinthians 15:12-14)
Romans 8:11 NIV
11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
1 Corinthians 15:12–14 NIV
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
1 Corinthains 15:12-14
The resurrection will be bodily in nature; the body will be restored to life. ()
One argument for this is that Jesus’ resurrection was bodily in nature. When he appeared to his disciples, they were frightened, thinking they were seeing a spirit. He reassured them by saying
Luke 24:38–39 NIV
38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
When Christ returns, our original body will be raised and transformed; our human form will be both retained and glorified.
Our body will have some connection with and drive from our original body; there will be a transformation. Although we don’t know the exact nature of the resurrection body, it appears that it will retain and at the same time glofiy the human form. We will be free of imperfections and needs which we have here on earth.

The Final Judgment

Analogy: log or a stump; while the original object is retained, the composition of it is different.

A Future Event

This can be frightening for those who don’t have a relationship with Christ, or something to look forward to for those who have the hope of eternal life.
An event that will occur in the future . ()
Hebrews 9:17 NIV
17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.
The judgment will occur after Jesus’ return. ()
Matthew 16:27 NIV
27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
Matthew 16:27
Jesus christ is the Judge. (; )
Jesus pictured himself as sitting on a throne and judging the nations.
John 5:22 NIV
22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
John 5:27 NIV
27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
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All humans will be judged. (; Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27)
Every secret will be revealed; all that has ever occurred will be evaluated.
Berkholf says this about the reviewing of our sins: “Scripture leads us to believer that the sins of believers will be revealed, though they will be revealed as pardoned sins.
The evil angels will also be judged at this time., and the good angels will participate by gathering together all who are to be judged.
Once judgement has pased, it will be permanent and irrevocable. There isn’t any hind in Scripture that the verdict can be changed.
Jesus says this about where people will go:
Matthew 25:46 NIV
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Final States

Heaven

The Hebrew and Greek words for heaven are used in basically 3 different ways in the Bible.
Cosmological - the expression “heaven and earth” is used to designate the entire universe ()
“Heaven” is a virtual synonym for God ()
An example is the prodigal son’s confession to his father:
Luke 15:18 NIV
18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
Luke
3. The Abode of God (place of residence)
This is the one that is most significant for our purposes. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Our Father who are in heaven”. He also spoke often of “the Father that is in heaven”. Jesus is said to have come from heaven., angels come from heaven and return to heaven, and they dwell in heaven where they bhold God and carry out the Father’s will perfectly. They are even referred to as a heavenly host.
It is from heaven that Christ is to be revealed .
He has gone away to heaven to prepare an eternal dwelling for believers. As God’s abode, heaven is obviously where believers will be for all eternity.
We are told to prepare for heaven.
Matthew 6:19–20 NIV
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
The Nature of Heaven
The basic nature of heaven is the presence of God .
This means that we will have perfect knowledge. For the first time we’ll see and know God in a direct way.
1 Corinthians 13:9–12 NIV
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Heaven will also be characterized by the removal of all evils . ()
Revelation 21:4 NIV
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
The very source of evil, the one who tempts us to sin, will be gone. There will be no sin or evil of any kind.
Heaven will be a place of great glory . ()
Images in scripture suggest brillians lights and a place of unimaginable greatness, excellence, and beauty. The New Jerusalem which will come down out of heaven from God is described as made of pure gold and decorated with precious jewels ()
Revelation 21:18–21 NIV
18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
Our Life in Heaven
Rest - the experience of reaching a goal of crucial importance; the end of struggles against sin, the world, and the devil.
Worship - Picture of this is found in Revelations 19:1-8
Revelation 19:1–4 NIV
1 After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, 2 for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” 3 And again they shouted: “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.” 4 The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: “Amen, Hallelujah!”
Revelation 19:1–8 NIV
1 After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, 2 for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” 3 And again they shouted: “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.” 4 The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: “Amen, Hallelujah!” 5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!” 6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
Is it a place or a state?
We will be close to God and have communion with God. God doesn’t occupy space, so it would seem that heaven is a state, or a spiritual condition.
On the other hand, we will have boides of some type and Jesus presumably continues to have a glorified body as well, which seems to require place. Also, references to heaven and earth suggest that like earth, heaven must be a place somehow.
Heaven is another realm, another dimension of reality. It’s probably safe to say that while heaven is both a place and a state, it is primarily a state .
It won’t be a particular location, but a condition of blessedness, sinlessness, joy, and peace.

Hell

The absence of God, or banishment from his presence
Spoken of as outer darkness, Eternal punishment, torment, the bottomless pit, the wrath of God, second death, eternal destruction and exclusion from the face of the Lord. It is an experience of intense anguish, whether it involves physical suffering or mental distress or both. Other aspects include a sense of loneliness, of having seen the glory and greatness of God then being cut off. There is the realization that this separation is permanent. Hopelessness.
Matthew 25:41 NIV
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Matthew 25:46 NIV
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
The Finality of the Future Judgment
Universalism - the view that all will eventually be saved.
Biblical texts appear contradictory. Some passages seem to imply that salvation is universal, that no one will be lost.
Philippians 2:10–11 NIV
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Colossians 1:19–20 NIV
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Others contradict universalism
Matthew 25:46 NIV
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Romans 5:18 NIV
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.
Matthew 8:12 NIV
12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Romans 11:32 NIV
32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
John 3:16 NIV
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
1 Corinthians 15:22 NIV
22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Scripture never gives indication of a second chance. ()
Matthew 25:46 NIV
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
God doesn’t send anyone to hell.
He desires that none should perish. It’s the choice of humans to experience the agony of hell. Their sins sends them there, and rejection of Christ prevents their escaping.
Sin is a person saying to God throughout life, “Go away and leave me alone.” Hell is God finally saying to that individual, “You may have your wish.” It is God’s leaving one to oneself, as he or she has chosen. - C.S. Lewis
Jesus’ teachings suggests that there are degrees of punishment of hell.
The importance of Heaven and Hell
The decisions which we make in this life will govern our future condition for eternity. We should exercise extraordinary care as we make them.
The conditions of this life, as Paul put it, are transitory. They fade into relative insignificance when compared with the eternity to come.
The nature of the future states is far more intense than anything known in this life.
The bliss of heaven shouldn’t be though of as simply an intensification of the pleasures of this life. The primary dimension of heaven is the presence of the believer with the Lord.
Hell is not so much a place of physical suffering as it is the awful loneliness of total and final separation from the Lord.
Hell should not be though of primarily as punishment visited upon unbelievers by a vindictive God, but as the natural consequences of the sinful life chosen by those who reject Christ.
Heaven and Earth VIDEO

Revelation

Common Questions

Outline summed up in one verse:
Revelation 1:19 NIV
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.
What you have seen: Chapter 1. Includes the glorified Christ
What is now: Chapters 2 & 3. The letters to 7 churches have to do with the present church age
What will take place later: Chapters 4-22. Speaks of times and events future to our own day (Tribulation, Millennium, and Eternal state)
- Tribulation - Revelation chapters 4-19
- Millennium - Revelation Chapter 20
- Eternal State - Chapters 21 & 22

Rapture

From your own studies, I’d like to see how many people believe or don’t believe in the rapture.
The word rapture doesn’t occur in the Bible.
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Tri
The rapture of the church is the event in which God “snatches away” all believers from the earth in order to make way for His righteous judgment to be poured out on the earth during the tribulation period. (www.gotquestions.org) (; )
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 NIV
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Corinthians 15:50–54 NIV
50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
Those who believe in the rapture believe that God will resurrect all believers who have dies, give them glorified bodies, and take them from the earth along with all living believers (who will also be given glorified bodies at that time.)
Those who believe in the rapture believe that God will resurrect all believers who have dies, give them glorified bodies, and take them from the earth along with all living believers (who will also be given glorified bodies at that time.)
They believer that it’ll involve an instantaneous transformation of bodies for eternity. Rapture is different than the second coming. At the rapture, the Lord comes “in the clouds” to meet us “in the air”. At the second coming, the Lord descends all the way to the earth to stand on the Mount of Olives, resulting in a great earthquake followed by a defeat of God’s enemies.
2 Thessalonians 1:6–8 NIV
6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
2 Thessalonians 1:6–8 NIV
6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

The Millennium

Millennium is a Latin term for “a thousand
says that Christ will set up a kingdom and reign for 1000 years after His second coming. Christ’s millennial kingdom is the capstone of history and a precursor to eternity. During this time Jesus Christ will be the focus of all creation, and He will rule visibly over the entire world in power and great glory. It will be a wonderful time during which righteousness and peace will prevail. (Charting the Bible Chronologically by Hindson and Ice)
Major features of the Millennium:
the binding of Satan at the beginning of the Millennium ()
the final restoration of Israel
the reign of Jesus Christ
the loosing and final rebellion of Satan at the end of the Millennium ()
the Great White Throne Judgment and the second resurrection or judgment of unbelieving dead ()
The Millennium will be a time
Premillennialism - The belief that the earthly reign by Jesus Christ will be approximately one thousand years, and sees Christ as physically present during this time. Those that hold this view (as our denomination does), believe that Jesus will return before the Millennium.
Revelation 20:4–6 NIV
4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
Most premillenniallists also believe that there will be a great disturbance of seven years (not necessarily literally), prior to Christ’as return known as the great tribulation.
The question is whether there will be a return to remove the church from the world prior to the great tribulation or whether the church will go through the tribulation and be united with the Lord afterward. The view that Christ will take the church to himself prior to the tribulation is called pretribulationism, the view that he will take the church after the tribulation is called posttribulationism.
Postmillennialism - The belief that the preaching of the gospel will be so successful that the world will be converted, and the reign of Christ will be complete. In this view, the kingdom of God is viewed as a present reality rather than a future heavenly realm. Those who hold this view believe that the millennium will be an extended period, but not necessarily a literal 1,000 years. They believe that Jesus returns after the Millennium.
In this view, the kingdom of God is viewed as a present reality rather than a future heavenly realm. Those who hold this view believe that the millennium will be an extended period, but not necessarily a literal 1,000 years.
Amillennialism - The belief that there will be no millennium, no earthly reign of Christ. The great final judgment will immediately follow Jesus’ return and issue directly in the final states of the righteous and the wicked.
Terms to know
Pretribulationists - Believe that Christ’s coming will take place in 2 stages; rapture and revelation.
They believe that the rapture will take place in secret; it won’t be noticed by anyone except the church. It could happen at any moment, and would deliver the church from agony of the great tribulation. At the end of the 7 years, the Lord would return again, bringing his church with him in a great triumphant arrival. Christ will then set up his earthly millenial kingdom.
Rapture
Tribulation will take place between these 2 stages, for about 7 years.
Revelation
Dispensationalism
3 Things we can know for sure in the End times and 24
(Video?)
Resurrection
There will be an end time
It has not yet come
The final Judgment
No one knows when it will come
4 Main instructions
Be discerning of false doctrines

Millennial and Tribulation Views

Heaven and Hell (our final state)

Jesus’ Second Coming
Millinium
Rapture
Related Media
Related Sermons