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End-Times Prophecy: What Do We Know?
Posted on Dec 05, 2017 Topic : Prophecy
Posted by : Ed Hindson and Mark Hitchcock
The Bible warns us that humanity is marching toward inevitable destruction. The end might not come now or even in our lifetimes, but it will come. Scripture tells us that the great crisis will begin somewhere in the Middle East and eventually spread to the whole world. No person or place will escape God’s retribution at the end time.
The question of how all this will come about divides Christians who have differing eschatological views. Pretribulationalists believe Christ will rapture the church to heaven prior to the tribulation and then return with His bride at the end of the tribulation to set up His kingdom on earth. Mid- and posttribulationalists believe the church will suffer to some extent during the tribulation or at the very end of the Great Tribulation.
Amillennialists believe things will get worse at the end of the church age. While most people view the entire church age as a time of tribulation for believers, some feel that the persecution of Christians will get worse in the last days. Amillennialists say that at the very end, the Battle of Armageddon will commence, and Christ will return to judge the world and usher in eternity.
Postmillennialists believe that the church is the kingdom of God on earth and that it is our responsibility to bring in the kingdom by the preaching of the gospel and the enactment of Christian laws, values, and principles in society until the whole world is converted to Christ.
Obviously there are great differences in each of those views, and yet each one contains an element of truth that all Christians need to remember.
From the pretribulationalist we are reminded to be ready for the coming of Christ at any moment.
From the mid- and posttribulationalist we are reminded that frequently Christians are called to suffer for Christ. Certainly, believers in the Third World could teach us much about what it means to suffer for Christ.
The amillennialist reminds us that we must be ready to face the judgment of God. While it is exciting to think about our Lord’s coming, we must also realize that His judgment is coming as well. While premillennialists look forward to Christ’s earthly kingdom, we must also remember that even that will come to an end and be merged into the eternal kingdom of God. The apostle Paul says there is coming a time when Christ “hands over the kingdom to the God and Father” (1 Corinthians 15:24).
And from the premillennialist we are reminded of our Christian responsibilities to the world in which we live. Because we do not know the exact time of Christ’s return, we dare not sit back and do nothing but wait for the rapture. Christ has given us specific orders about our responsibilities to one another and to the world at large. We are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world until our Lord returns (Matthew 5:13-16).