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The Doctrine of Last Things

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THE DOCTRINE OF
LAST THINGS
(Eschatology)
1. The Course of this Age ........................................................ 793
2. The Seven Judgments .......................................................... 801
3. The Two Resurrections ............................................................ 807
4. The Millennial Kingdom of Christ .......................................... 813
5. The Eternal State ...................................................................... 819
Study Questions ......................................................................... 825
Assignment ................................................................................. 835
THE COURSE OF THIS AGE
Bible prophecy is history written in advance. It is God’s forecast for the future, and it is always 100 percent accurate!
Chappell, Paul. Understanding the Times: Living Courageously in Prophetic Days (p. 12). Striving Together Publications. Kindle Edition.
The Biblical time period known as "The Last Days" refers in a general way to this present age -the period between the two advents(the birth of Christ and the Rapture of the Saints) of Christ; and in particular to the closing days of this present age, immediately before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The First coming of Jesus Christ had two stages-the cradle an the crown; The Second Coming of Jesus Christ will have two stages-the Rapture (Jesus coming for His saints) and the Revelation*(revealing)-Jesus Coming with His Saints.
A basic outline of the events that will take place during this period is given in Matthew 24, where the Lord Jesus Christ answered three questions asked of Him by His disciples. These questions are given in Matthew 24:3, namely:
· When shall these things be? -answered in verses 4-14.
· What shall be the sign of Thy coming? -answered in verses 15-26.
· And [what shall be the sign] of the end of the world? -answered in verses 27-31.

I. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE "LAST DAYS”-Matthew 24:4-14

According the Lord's answer in Matthew 24:4-14, this present age shall be characterized by:

A. FALSE CHRISTIANITY:

Matthew 24:5,11.

B. NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CONFLICT:

Matthew 24:6,7.

C. NATURAL DISASTERS:

Matthew 24:7.

D. RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION:

Matthew 24:9,10.

E. ABOUNDING SIN:

Matthew 24:12.

F. EXTENSIVE GOSPEL PREACHING:

Matthew 24:14.
The inference of this passage is that these things would accelerate toward the close of the age.

We can summarize this age by the following:

1. Moral DECAY: II Timothy 3:1-5; Jude 17-19

2 Timothy 3:1–5 KJV 1900
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Jude 17–19 KJV 1900
17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

2. Spiritual DECLINE (A falling towards a worse state)- II Timothy 4:2-4; I Timothy 4:1,2; II Peter 2:1-3,17-22.

3. Natural DISASTERS Luke 21:11

4. Gospel DISSEMINATION Matthew 24: 14.

We are surely living in the last days; however it is important to note that we are as much in the last days as were the early Christians. There is NO prophecy that requires fulfillment during this present age before the Rapture can occur. This great event is imminent.

II. THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Note- The return of the Lord Jesus Christ is the blessed hope of every Christian –
Titus 2:13 KJV 1900
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

The present age holds A little joy yet much responsibility for the child of God.

A. THE FACT OF CHRIST'S RETURN:

There is no greater certainty in the Word of God than the return of Jesus Christ. It is one of the great themes of the Bible.

1. Jesus Himself Said He Would Return.

Matthew 16:25 KJV 1900
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Mark 13:32–37 KJV 1900
32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
Luke 17:20–37 KJV 1900
20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. 22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. 23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. 25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. 26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
John 14:3 KJV 1900
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

2. John the Baptist said Christ would return

Luke 3:4–5 KJV 1900
4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;

3. Angels have said Christ would return

Acts 1:11 KJV 1900
11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

4. The Apostles said Christ would return

a. Paul-I Thessalonians 4:13-18.
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 KJV 1900
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
b. Peter -II Peter 3:10.
2 Peter 3:10 KJV 1900
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
c. James -James 5:7.
James 5:7 KJV 1900
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
d. Jude- Jude 14,15.
Jude 14–15 KJV 1900
14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
e. John -Revelation 1:4; 22:20.
Revelation 1:4 KJV 1900
4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
Revelation 22:20 KJV 1900
20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

B. THE ASSURANCE OF CHRIST'S RETURN:

Our assurance of the certain fact of Christ's return rests with fulfilled prophecy relating to His first advent.
Many Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled literally and accurately. For example: Micah 5:2; Isaiah 7:14; Zechariah 9:9; Psalm 22:16; Isaiah 53; Psalm 16:10; etc.
Psalms 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Psalms 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 53:1-12 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2- For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3- He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4- Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5- But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6- All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7- He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8- He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9- And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10- Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11- He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12- Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
There are eight times more prophecies relating to the second coming of Christ than to His first coming.
Several of Old Testament prophecies involve both advents. Since one part of the prophetic verse has already been fulfilled literally and accurately, we may confidently expect the other part also to be fulfilled just as literally and accurately.
For example, see: Isaiah 61:1,2; (c.f. Luke 4:16-21) and Micah 5:1-4.
Turn to Isaiah 61:1-2 and compare with Luke 4:16-21
Isaiah 61:1-2 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2- To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
Luke 4:16-21 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17- And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18- The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19- To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20- And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21- And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

C. THE NATURE OF CHRIST’S RETURN

The return of Jesus Christ consists of two stages: The Rapture(Christ coming FOR His Saints) and The Revelation (Christ coming WITH His saints).

The word “rapture” in Latin means: “to transport from one place to another”
The Bible teaches several facts about the coming of the Lord. It will be:

1. A Personal Return.

Acts 1:11 KJV 1900
11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 KJV 1900
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
John 14:3 KJV 1900
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

2. A Bodily Return

a. Acts 1:11 " ... shall so come in like manner. .. "
b. Philippians 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

3. A Visible Return-“Turn and Read the following verses”

a. Matthew 24:30 " ... they shall see the Son of man ... "
b. Titus 2:13 "Looking for that blessed hope... glorious appearing."
c. Hebrews 9:28 -" ... look for Him ... "
d. Revelation 1:7 " ... every eye shall see him ... "

4. A Sudden Return.

See: I Thessalonians 5:2,3.

5. An Imminent Return. By this we mean that Christ could come at any moment.

Matthew 24:42–44 KJV 1900
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Luke 12:35 KJV 1900
35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
Luke 12:45 KJV 1900
45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
Romans 13:11 KJV 1900
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
Philippians 4:5 KJV 1900
5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Hebrews 10:37 KJV 1900
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
James 5:8 KJV 1900
8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
See: Matthew 24:42-44; Luke 12:35,45; Romans 13:11; Philippians 4:5; Hebrews 10:37; James 5:8.
The believers in the church at Thessalonica expected Christ's return at any moment. Paul wrote to them saying: " ... we which are alive and remain ... " -I Thessalonians 4:17.

6. A Premillennial Return.

The Bible tells a coming age often referred to as the "Millennium." This is the kingdom of Christ on earth a 1,000 year era of peace and righteousness upon the earth, when Satan will be bound and the Lord Jesus shall be King.
See: Revelation 20:2,3,6,7-Note-1,000 years used 6 times in this chapter.
The return of Christ must be PRE-MILLENNIAL (Le. before the Millennium) for the following reasons:
a. There can be no millennium without Christ.
There can be no peace without the Prince of Peace.
b. The Book of The Revelation teaches it.
A study of the order and outline of this great prophecy shows a Premillennial return:
Chapters 1-3- The Present Age
Chapters 4-5- The catching up of believers into glory
Chapters 4 -18- The Tribulation
Chapter 19- The Second Coming of Christ
Chapter 20- The 1,000 year reign
c. The Book of Zechariah teaches it.
A Premillennial order is given in Zechariah 14:
Verse 2- The Great Tribulation
Verses 3-7- The Second Coming
Verses 8-21-The Millennial Kingdom
d. The Book of Daniel teaches it.
The dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2 and the vision of Daniel in Daniel 7 give a premillennial order.
The five kingdoms mentioned in these chapters represent a historical outline of the "Times of the Gentiles" -Luke 21:24b.
Daniel 2:31-45 Daniel 7 Kingdoms
Gold Lion Babylon- 606 B.C.
Silver Bear Medo-Persian- 538 B.C.
Brass Leopard Greece- 333 B.C.
Iron Terrible Beast Rome- 63 B.C.
Iron/Clay Ten Horns Revived Rome-led by antichrist
Uncut Stone Ancient of Days Return of Christ
Great Mountain Possessed Kingdom MILLENIUM
e. The Book of Hosea Teaches It:end 5/4/11
Again note the order:
· Christ’s Ascension- Hosea 5:15a
· Present Age- Hosea 5:15b-Matthew 23:38-39
· Tribulation-Hosea 5:15c
· Second Coming-- Hosea 6:1- Zechariah 12:9-13:1
· Millennium (third ‘day’)- Hosea 6:2

7. A Two Stage Return

From a prophetic standpoint, the first coming of Christ involved two distinct stages the Cradle and the Cross. In like fashion, the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ will occur in two phases:
a. The Rapture.
The word "rapture" is not found in the Word of God, but since it means to be 'caught up' it is a fitting word to describe the events occurring at the first stage of Christ's return.
The term "rapture" is used to mean the 'catching up' of the saints into the air as Christ comes to the clouds, as described for us in I Thessalonians 4:16,17 and I Corinthians 15:51,52; Revelation 4:1
Incidentally, the Bible does not give any sanction to use the phrase, "the rapture of the church." The scripturally accurate term would be 'the Rapture of the saints!'
All of the saved that are living will be “raptured” and the dead will be “resurrected”
b. The Revelation.
The word Revelation means 'to reveal,' and refers prophetically to the visible revealing of Jesus Christ to the world when He returns in power and glory, as taught in Revelation 19:11-16; Luke 21 :25-27; etc.
c. Differences between the Rapture and the Revelation.
Rapture Revelation
Christ in the Clouds Christ on Earth
I Thess. 4:17 Zechariah 14:4
Time of Great Joy Time of Gloom
I Thess. 4:18 Joel 2:2
Union with Christ Judgment by Christ
I Thess. 4:17 Joel 3:12,13
Always Imminent Preceded by signs
Matthew 24:29, 30
Reference to saints Reference to Israel
Rapture Revelation
Christ in the Clouds Christ on Earth
I Thessalonians 4:17 Zechariah 14:4
Time of Great Joy Time of Gloom
I Thessalonians 4:18 Joel 2:2
Union with Christ Judgment by Christ
I Thessalonians 4:17 Joel 3:12,13
Always Imminent Preceded by Signs
Matthew 24:29, 30
Reference to Saints Reference to Israel
d. Similarities between the Rapture and the Revelation.
i. Both are sudden and generally unexpected events.
ii. Both involve the personal, bodily, return of Christ.
iii. The Rapture is Christ coming FOR His saints the Revelation is Christ coming WITH His saints.
See: Matthew 24:31; Revelation 19:14.
8. A Pre-Tribulational Return.
The prophecy of "The Seventy Weeks," found in Daniel 9, teaches that there will be a period of approximately seven years between the Rapture and the Revelation.
During this period the following events will occur:
a. On The Earth -The Great Tribulation.
[See: Unit 10, Lecture 2.]
b. In Heaven The Judgment Seat of Christ.
[See: Unit 10, Lecture 2.]
The Word of God teaches a Pre-Tribulation Rapture for two basic reasons:
· First, because the Great Tribulation is specifically in the context of the nation of Israel- Daniel 12:1; Jeremiah 30:7.
· Second, because God promises to keep Christians from this terrible period- I Thessalonians 5:4,5,9; Revelation 3:10.
D. THE DETAILS OF CHRIST'S RETURN:
1. The Rapture:
A scriptural designation for this event would be "the resurrection." The major scripture passages dealing with this event are I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:51-57; Philippians 3:20,21; and I John3:2.
2. The Revelation
a. Signs of this event. There will be several signs pointing to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth: in the heavens -Luke 21:25; in the earth­-Luke 21:25; Matthew 24:7; in political and social life –II Thessalonians 2:7; in religion I Timothy 4:1; and most particularly, in the Jewish nation -Matthew 24:32-34.
b. Its effect upon Israel. When Christ returns in glory, Jerusalem will be under siege by the Antichrist and his armies -Zechariah 14:2. In that day the remnant of the nation will be born again Isaiah 25:9; Romans 11:26; Isaiah 66:8, and the nation divided no longer -Ezekiel 37:21,22.
c. It’s Effect Upon The Nations.
According to Matthew 25:31-46 and Joel 3:9-16, the Lord will judge the nations.
[See: Unit 10, Lecture 2]
d. Its Effect Upon Satan. The armies of the Antichrist will be destroyed at the battle of Armageddon, and the beast and false prophet will be cast into the lake of fire.
Satan himself will be bound for 1,000 years Revelation 19:20,21; 20:2,3.
DOCTRINAL VERSE MEMORIZATION: # 33 John 14:3. DOCTRINAL VERSE MEMORIZATION: # 34 I Thessalonians 4:16,17.
NOTES
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