Atlanta Taiwanese Presbyterian Church English Ministry
Oct 29, 1995
End times outline
Return of Jesus
Signs of the times
The next generation
Many terms are used when talking about end times. Three of the most common terms are tribulation, rapture and millennium.
Today weíre going to look at what the terms mean.
Tribulation - "Great trial, affliction, distress"
Of the three terms, itís the only one found in the Bible.
Verses on the tribulation period:
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
Mark 13:24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
Romans 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Premillennialism believe in a 7 years of the great tribulation
Interpreted as when the seals (Rev 6), trumpets (Rev 8,9), and bowl (Rev 16) judgements will occur.
Amillennialism believe that the tribulation is the history of the Christian church versus the world. There will not be a 7 year period.
Rapture - "the state of being transported by a lofty emotion, ecstasy"
Referring to the extreme happiness of joining with Christ. Word rapture is not found in the Bible.
Two main verses talk about the rapture:
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 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. 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: 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.
4 different interpretations of when the rapture will occur:
Partial Rapture theory
The church is raptured before the tribulation.
Church returns after the tribulation.
Church goes through the tribulation period.
Rapture and second coming occur at same time.
Partial Rapture theory
The "overcoming" Christians will be raptured before the tribulation. The "lukewarm" Christians will go through the tribulation.
Church is raptured in the middle of the tribulation.
Not a widely held belief.
Millennium - "thousand years"
Verses on the Millennium:
Revelation 20:1-7 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection. Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
Four millennial views
The simplist interpretation.
Most symbolic interpretation out of the four. Avoids literalism in interpreting scripture.
No specific tribution period, no specific millennial period, no Armageddon battle.
The millennium is symbolic of the constant battle between God and Satan, good and evil, church and the world until Christ returns bodily.
Tribulation symbolic of Christian tribulation throughout history.
Armageddon is symbolic of power of Godís word over evil.
When Christ comes, He will judge all and then the new heaven and earth will be established.
Gradual growth of the gospel which will cause the world to become increasingly better until the present order merges into a kingdom of righteousness over which Christ will then return to rule.
Christís reign on earth is more spiritual rather than physical.
No literal 1000 years. Millennium symbolic of gospel preaching.
Most literal interpretation.
Most commonly accepted among evangelicals.
Christians will be raptured before tribulation (pretribulationism)
There will be a 7 year period of tribulation of judgement on unbelievers. Rise of a specific antichrist. Literal battle of Armageddon at Valley of Megiddo. Bowl, Seal, Trumpet judgements during the tribulation.
Then Christ will return with saints and rule on earth for 1000 years. It will be a time of peace and righteousness established by "force". At the end of the 1000 years, God will judge all people.
Then the new heaven and new earth will be established.
"A specific system or arrangement by which something is dispensed or administered"
7 identifiable unique church periods:
Creation, Fall, Flood, Abraham, Moses, Church, Second Coming
Parallels creation of world. 6000 years from Creation to Second Coming. 1000 years of rest. (Creation to Abraham - 2000 years, Abraham to David 1000 years, David to Christ - 1000 years, Christ to Second Coming - 2000 years)
There will be a 7 year period of tribulation.
Rapture and Jesusí return occur at same time after tribulation (posttribulationism)
Christ will return and rule on earth for 1000 years. It will be a time of peace and righteousness. Then the new heaven and new earth will be established.
Armageddon doesnít have to be a literal physical battle.
Kingdom of God will come through conversion of hearts, 1000 year reign will be a natural result of proclaiming the gospel.
With so many different beliefs, which one is right? In actuality, it doesnít matter. Each interpretation has itís own strengths and weaknesses. But none can definitely say that they have the only correct interpretation.
However, all believe that Christ will return. They only differ in when and how Christ will return.
But in all camps, there is a common consensus that Christís return is imminent. The signs of the times point to the world being ready for His return.
And we will look at some of what the signs are next week.
Return to Oliver Tseng's Bible Study - Messages