THE ESSENTIALS OF THE DOCTRINE OF END TIMES
By Andrew E. Courtis
When it comes to the doctrine of end times, there is no hiding the fact that believers have differing views. The three major millennial views (Amillennial, Premillennial, and Postmillennial) each have godly, gifted, and gracious adherents. In this post, I would like to point out four key areas of agreement between the views. This is not to suggest that we ignore the arguments for each of these views, nor am I suggesting that they are not important. My main point in this post is to provide the essentials with regards to end times. I want to consider four essentials with regards to the doctrine of end times that are not up for negotiation.
Firstly, each view holds to the expectation of Christ’s return. With great clarity on numerous occasions, the Scriptures teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back (Matt. 24:36; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; Titus 2:13; Rev. 1:7, 19:11-21). Regardless of one’s eschatological view, when discussing the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, we need to recognise that it is a certainty. Despite the rise and increase of scoffers and their rebellious rejection of biblical truth, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is certain. It is certain simply because God said it is going to happen. The reality and certainty of our Lord’s Second Coming is called the church’s “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), because it is a reality that provides spiritual happiness to the believer.
Secondly, each view must hold to the expectation of future bodily resurrection. The time is coming when the Lord Jesus Christ will issue out an authoritative command and all who have died will be raised up to be judged. This is an incredible thought. This will occur because the Father “has given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man” (John 5:27). In this future event, every single person in history will be raised up and will stand before God. With authority and command, the Lord Jesus Christ will speak and the dead will be raised. Note that Jesus speaks of two different kinds of resurrection – “the resurrection of life” and “the resurrection of judgment”. The first is in reference to believers and the second to unbelievers (cf. Dan. 12:2).
The third essential of eschatology is the expectation of Christ’s recompense. The day has been appointed in which the Lord Jesus Christ will judge the world. As previously mentioned, the Father “has given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man” (John 5:27). This reference is an allusion to Daniel 7, where we read about Daniel’s vision of the Ancient of Days (God the Father) seated with power and authority (Dan. 7:9-10). Jesus Christ will issue out judgment, and those who are His will enter the glory of Heaven, and those who are not His will enter into eternal punishment (Matt. 25:14-30; Rev. 20:11-15).
The final essential is the expectation of eternal rule. God is ruling and reigning now, but the time is coming in which God’s rule will be made manifest and His rule will expand over all and it will be everlasting (Psalm 145:13; Dan. 7:27). The saints of God will join in this rule and they shall reign for all eternity with their Lord (Rev. 22:5). In this eternal environment there will be no sin and the glory of God will be seen in all things.