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LAST THINGS The Doctrine of:

May 15, 2011

A summary of the Christian Doctrine of Last Things. Comic and Personal Eschatology collide to make up the study of last things

The  doctrine  of  last  things  is  best  covered  in   the  following  areas  of  study:  Cosmic  and   Personal  Eschatology.  Within  these  two  areas   of  the  doctrine  several  speci>ic  subjects  will   be  covered.  Eschatology  must  be  approached   from  a  biblical  theological  approach  and   therefore  this  summary  will  touch  on   eschatology  as  it  is  presented  in  the  Old   Testament  and  the  New  Testament.  The   following  subjects  will  be  included  in  order  to   have  a  robust  view  of  eschatology:  Death,   judgment,  resurrection,  hell,  new  heavens,   new  earth  and  the  kingdom.  These  subjects   will  be  broached  as  this  summary  gives  a   thorough  examination  of  the  doctrine  of  last   things. In  the  Old  Testament,  the  doctrine  of   last  things  shows  up  in  the  >irst  verse  of  the   Bible.  “In  the  beginning…”  tells  us  there  is  a   starting  point  and  implies  there  must  be  an   ending  point,  that  is,  “end  times”  or  “last   things”.  The  law  repeats  this  phrase  several   times,  “in  the  days  to  come”.  This  is  an  

anticipation  of  something  that  the  future   holds  for  the  “people  of  God”.  The  prophets   talk  of  the  day  of  the  Lord  and  Zion,  that  holy   mountain.  This  is  eschatological  language   looking  forward  to  judgment  and  renewal   (Isaiah  10,  Book  of  the  12).  Jeremiah  31   references  a  coming  “new  covenant”  that  God   will  make  with  Israel.  The  Writings  too,  look   ahead  to  “the  day  to  come”. In  the  New  Testament,  the  gospels   assume  the  reader  and  the  hearer  have  an   understanding  of  Old  Testament  prophecies.   The  gospel  writers  continue  to  communicate   how  one  should  respond  to  these  coming   events  with  warnings  like,  “Watch  wisely!”   and  “Serve  faithfully!”  as  we  see  the  day   approaching  (Matt  24-­‐25).  1  Corinthians  15   and  1  Thessalonians  4-­‐5  look  ahead  to   “restoration”  and  “the  day  of  the  Lord”.  The   New  Testament  culminates  with  the  book  of   Revelation,  which  reveals,  in  symbolic  terms,   how  the  restoration  will  take  place.   Revelation  shows  God’s  people  how  the  

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world  should  be  and  will  be,  which  gives  the   people  of  God  a  charge  to  work  towards  this   ideal  now. A  complete  view  of  the  cosmic   eschatology  must  include  the  views  on  the   Millennium,  the  time  when  Christ  will  reign   for  1000  years  as  the  Messiah  King.  Each   view  of  the  millennial  reign  of  Christ;   Premillennial,  Postmillennial  and   Amillennial  as  well  as  the  different  views  of   the  timing  of  the  Tribulation  will  determine   a  lot  about  one’s  understanding  of   eschatology.  The  rapture  of  God’s  people   and  the  timing  of  this  event  are  often  talked   about  in  Christian  circles,  but  this  event  will   not  be  discussed  here  because  it  is  not  the   focus  of  the  text.  The  focus  is  the  bodily   return  of  the  Christ  (1  Thess  4). In  Personal  Eschatology,  death  is   where  the  discussion  must  begin.  Whether  it   is  physical,  spiritual  or  eternal,  death  will   occur  to  all  individuals.  Because  all  humans   are  sinners,  death  is  the  penalty  for  sin   (Rom  6:23).  Christians  will  only  experience   a  physical  death  because  Christ  paid  the   ransom  for  sin  and  died  in  our  place  (Rom   5:8).  All  of  those  not  trusting  in  Christ  will   face  eternal  separation  from  God’s  presence   to  bless. This  death  subjects  the  non-­‐believer   to  God’s  >inal  judgment  and  eternity  spent  in   the  eternal  “Lake  of  Fire”  (Rev  20:11-­‐15).   The  believer  will  likewise  be  judged,  but   judgment  for  the  believer  occurs  at  the   judgment  seat  of  Christ.  This  is  where   believers  will  be  judged  on  their  faithfulness   to  Christ  and  they  will  be  given  rewards,  or   lose  rewards  based  on  the  visible  evidence   of  their  faith  (Rom  14:10)

There  will  be  a  resurrection  of  the   dead,  either  to  life  or  condemnation  (John   5:19-­‐30).  Jesus  is  the  one  who  gives  life  and   judges  the  believer  and  the  unbeliever  (John   5:19-­‐30).  This  resurrection  to   condemnation  will  send  the  unbeliever  to   hell,  which  is  eternal  conscious  torment  and   separation  from  God’s  presence  to  bless   (Mark  9:43). God  will  restore  His  creation  with  a   new  heavens  and  a  new  earth.  This  is  not   some  place  where  we  will  go  when  we  die,   but  rather  a  place  that  will  come  to  earth   transforming  and  renewing  the  entire   universe  (Rev  21:2).  This  is  where  the   kingdom  of  Christ  will  reign  and  all  of  God’s   people  (those  in  Christ)  will  receive  their   inheritance:  everything  (R.  Moore).  The   forever  King  will  reign  on  the  forever   Throne  in  this  restored  creation.  The  old   order  of  things  is  gone  and  the  new  is  come.   There  will  be  no  weeping,  no  hurt  or  pain   because  Christ  is  on  His  eternal  throne,   present  with  His  eternally  good  creation. The  doctrine  of  last  things  covers  so  many   areas  that  the  Christian  can  get  distracted   and  hung  up  on.  It’s  easy  to  get  into   disagreements  and  maybe  even  heated   debates  about  who  is  right  and  who  is   wrong.  This  doctrine  is  supposed  to  charge   Christians  to  live  a  certain  way  before  the   Lord,  now  and  in  the  future  eschaton.  The   doctrine  of  last  things  points  to  a  day  when   God’s  people  live  before  Him,  with  Him  in   the  promised  Zion.

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The Doctrine of Last Things