To help people understand the current studies on the end times, we are posting here a list of FAQs with their corresponding answers as we in CCF generally interpret them. These were culled from the web and from other contributors. We hope this helps clarify the common causes of confusion on the subject.
1.) What is meant by the “Times of the Gentiles”?
The period during which God carried out a program with those who are not Israelites is known as the “Times of the Gentiles.” Christ described its starting and ending point: LUKE 21:24 “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
When were the Jews led captive into all nations? The latest date was A.D.70 by the Romans. However, the earliest date might be Babylon’s Nebuchadnezzar who captured Jerusalem about 600 B.C. And ever since, Jerusalem had been under Gentile dominion…until 1967.
In 1967, Jerusalem reverted back into Jewish hands. However, we know from Daniel 9:27 that Jerusalem would fall back into Antichrist’ hands at the middle of the Tribulation, thus under Gentile control again. And Christ would finally end gentile control with the institution of the Millennial Kingdom.
Thus, it was necessary that the Jews have temporary control before Antichrist takes it away from them. Jerusalem is now in Jewish hands!
2.) Why is Heaven Called the “3rd Heaven”?
This description is from 2 Cor. 12:2 “an one caught up to the third heaven. “
The three levels of heaven are–
(A) 1st Heaven = The atmosphere, the miles of air above us, where airplanes and balloons find their limits.
(B) 2nd Heaven = Space, where exists the sun, moon, and stars. It is so vast that no actual scale model of the universe is possible. No one knows where the last star is.
(C) 3rd Heaven = God’s throne, before which are the Triune God, angels, the saints of all ages. It is a limitless place.
3.) What is the Rapture?
The word “rapture” is from the Latin word which means “caught up.” Actually, it was used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 for this event (“we shall be caught up with them in the clouds”).
It is separate from the Second Coming of Christ. That event is stated clearly in scripture as being an event that all can see and that it will be at the end of the tribulation.
The Rapture is in constant debate – it is an event that is brought forth from arguments drawn from various scriptures – it has no signs as the second coming does. In the early church they considered it imminent and even greeted each other with “maranatha = The Lord is coming soon.
There are three thoughts on the Rapture and each involves the “when” it happens.
Pre-tribulation Rapture, Mid-tribulation Rapture, Post-tribulation Rapture.
Pre-tribulation Rapture – Jesus will Rapture the Church to heaven before the Tribulation begins
Mid-tribulation Rapture – Jesus will Rapture the Church to heaven in the middle of the Tribulation
Post-tribulation Rapture – Jesus will Rapture the Church to Himself at the end of the Tribulation and then bring it to earth with Him.
4.) Why is the Rapture Described as “Mystery”?
I Corinthians 15:51 says “Behold, I show you a mystery”.
The word mystery is from the Greek word “musterion” used 27 times in the New Testament. The NT usages does not give the idea of something mysterious or baffling, but something unheard of and unrevealed. The rapture is a brand-new New Testament truth!
Moreover, during Old Testament times, people thought there was no way out of life except through death. Everyone expected ultimately to die. But now Paul calls all Christians to wait for something other than death: the Rapture.
5.) What is “In The Twinkle Of An Eye”?
It takes 1/50th of a second to blink an eye and a person blinks 25 times a minute. And a “twinkle” is even shorter than a blink or wink. In a twinkle, and all Christians would be gone. Thus, in the smallest possible length of time, the Lord will come and all Christians will be changed. When heaven’s last trumpet sounds, Christian will start going up.
6.) What About Christians Who Had Died?
Pagan funerals during Paul’s time were terrifying sights. The bereaved would refuse all comfort, crying their hearts out. Conversely, the catacombs under the city of Rome buried an estimated 3,000,000 Christians during the Roman persecution. Inscriptions found there read: “In peace,”"In sleep,”"Thou livest in God.” There is HOPE for Christians.
I Thess. 4:14 says that Jesus will bring back with Him the souls of dead Christians. At the same instance, their bodies buried on the earth will be resurrected (v.16). And the souls would be re-united with the bodies to become resurrected, glorified bodies.
7.) How About Living Christians?
In that split second, two events would occur: the resurrection of dead saints and the transformation of living saints. If Jesus were to come today and we are alive, we would be changed with immortal, glorified bodies, and we would go up to the meet the Lord in the air.
8.) What is the Tribulation?
The Great Tribulation is a seven-year period before the second advent of Christ when divine judgment is poured on the earth in an unprecedented manner, and when sin comes to a head under the leadership of the antichrist.
Some of its terrifying features are:
(1) Trouble — Dan. 12:1; Jer. 30:7
(2) Judgment — Rev. 14:7; 19:2
(3) Wrath — Zeph. 1:15,18; Rev. 16:1
(4) Destruction — 1 Thess 5:3; Joel 1:15
(5) Darkness — Amos 5:18
(6) Punishment — Isa. 24:20-21
(7) God’s Anger — Isa. 26:20-21; Zech. 1:18
(8) Desolation — Dan. 9:27; Zeph. 1:14-15
9.) Does the Bible Call It “Great Tribulation”?
Yes. One of the most significant and dramatic themes of Bible prophecy is that of the Tribulation. There is more prophecy on this period than any other period in Bible prophecy.
Let us just cite the very words of Christ: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:21). This term is especially speaking about the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation because how terrible everything will be.
10.) What Other Terms Describe It?
Other important break-points are:
* The Day of the Lord
* The Last Days
* That Day
* The End
* The Time of the End
* The End of the World
* The End of the Age
* That Time
11.) How Long Will the Tribulation Last?
The length of the tribulation period is not difficult to calculate. Use Daniel’s prophecy of the “70 weeks” as the starting point. Its first “69 weeks” may be calculated as exactly 483 years (from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 445 B.C. to Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem). If “weeks” means 7 years for the first “69 weeks”, it would also means 7 years for the 70th week.
Thus the Great Tribulation will extend over 7 years. Revelation 17:10 called it “a short space,” and Jesus described it as shortened time (Matt. 24:22)
The mid-point of the tribulation is revealed to us even in days and in months: “42 months” (Rev. 11:2; 13:5), “1260 days” (Rev. 11:3; 12:6), “time, times and an half” (Dan. 12:7).
12.) Describe Events at the Tribulation.
The world will be battered under: (1) God’s divine judgments of the 7 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 bowls; (2) Antichrist will issue absolute economic and political decrees which bring further woes; and (3) Satan and his emissaries will concentrate activities on earth (Rev. 12:12).
As the world begins to come apart, supernatural events will transpire worse than any ecologist’s nightmare. Combined acts of man and judgments of God will cause-
* stars to fall, planets run off course
* unnatural climage changes
* food production largely wiped out
* strange new epidemics spread worldwide
* gigantic earthquakes level every city
And in other areas of human life-
* economic and money system collapsed
* all moral and social structure break down
* a super religion absorbs all other religions
* Satanism, occultism, witchcraft in full sway
* Terrorism, fear, destruction abound
* an unprecedented World War (Armageddon)
13.) Why Must There be a “Great Tribulation”?
Three major reasons exist for the Great Tribulation:
A. To Judge The World
1. For their sins (Isa. 26:21)
2. For its worship of antichrist (Rev. 13:11-18)
3. To cleanse it for Christ’s reign (Rev. 20)
B. To Prepare Jews for Messiah Jesus
1. Jews are now “blinded” to the Gospel
(Isa. 6:9-10; Rom. 11:17-27)
2. Gospel of the Kingdom to be preached
-by 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Rev. 7)
-by Elijah (Mal. 4:5-6)
-by Two Witnesses (Rev. 11)
3. Israel to be persecuted by Satan, but preserved by God
(Jer. 30:7; Rev. 12; Zech. 13:9 says only 1/3
of Jews would survive)
4. Multitudes of Jews to turn to Christ (Rev. 7:1-8)
C. To Populate the Millennium
1. Many Gentiles (non-Jews) are saved (Rev. 7:9)
2. They will be Millennium’s inhabitants (Matt. 25:31-46;
14.) Have all the prophecies concerning Christ been fulfilled?
No – just the prophecies that concerned His first coming – which were mostly about His suffering and sacrifice. All the prophecies concerning His second coming and entering into His glory are being fulfilled and will continue until He sets up His kingdom.
15.) Is Jesus coming back to reign on this earth?
Yes – Read Isaiah 24:21-23; Daniel 7:13-14, 18, & 27; Zechariah 14:1-9, 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:26-27; 5:9-10; and 20:6.
16.) Are we seeing signs that we are getting close to the Lord’s return?
Yes – many things but two very big ones are the rebirth of the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem under Jewish control.
17.) Matthew 24:14 say that the Gospel must be preached to all the world before the Lord can return?
Yes it does say that – remember though that concerns His second coming – not Rapture. There are no signs concerning the Rapture so this passage in Matthew has to do with before the Lord returns for His Kingdom.
18.) Who is the Anti-Christ and where will he come from?
The Bible makes it clear that this person will be empowered by Satan during the Tribulation. He will be an incredible gifted leader, very dynamic and charismatic personality. He will lead the world to make peace with Israel and will negotiate a peace treaty with Israel and then proceed to build a worldwide empire. In the middle of the tribulation, 3½ years into the 7 year treaty he will declare himself to be god, and he will launch the greatest persecution of the Jews in history. He will remain in power until Christ returns and will be defeated at the battle of Armageddon. There is only one reference of where the Anti-Christ will come from – The prophet Daniel says the Anti-Christ will come from the same people who destroyed Jerusalem. See Daniel 9:24-27.
19.) What is the Millennium?
It is a period of 1000 years where Jesus will reign over the earth from Jerusalem with a “rod of iron,” resulting in worldwide peace, righteousness, and justice.
20.) Does Russia play any role in end time prophecy?
It is clear that the scriptures talks about the Kingdom that is the utter most north of Israel. This Kingdom invades Israel through the Persian Gulf. These countries today are Russia, Iraq & Iran. The issue is not the name of a particular country – because that may change – the issue is the Bible makes it clear that these areas of the world are involved in a battle near the end of the age. This battle is not Armageddon, but it is a battle with great loss of life. The Kingdom from the north that invades Israel will lose 5/6 of it’s Armies. This prophecy is in Ezekiel 38 & 39.
21.) Are the Jews still the Chosen People of God?
No where in scripture does God ever state that His covenant with Israel is over. Through out scripture God makes it clear that He never goes back on His promises. God promised Israel that they would always be His chosen people. He did tell Israel that He would discipline them for disobedience, but that never voided His covenant with His people. In Romans 11:1-2 Paul says that “God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.” And in Romans 9:4 Paul says that God still has covenants (the Abrahamic and Davidic) and promises to fulfill with the Jewish people. Also Romans 3:1-4. In fact in Daniel God states to Daniel how many more years He will work with His people. That number is 490 years. 483 years took place from the time the Temple was rebuilt under Nehemiah until Christ was put to death. That means there are 7 years left in God’s timetable with Israel. After the death of Christ God began the “Church Age” and Israel was taken off the center stage of God’s dealing with the earth. The scripture also makes it clear that at the end of the age Israel will be placed back on center stage and the clock with begin to tick – this is the last 7 years which is called the Tribulation.
22.) When will the Judgment take place?
For the Saved, their judgment for sin took place at the Cross when Jesus became their sin-bearer and took the wrath they deserved (2 Corinthians 5:21). The only future judgment the Redeemed will experience will take place after the Rapture, at the judgment seat of Jesus in Heaven. At this judgment, they will be judged of their works to determine their degrees of reward. Read 2 Corinthians 5:10 and 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. For the Unsaved, their judgment will occur at the end of the Millennium at the Great White Throne. They will be judged of their works to determine their degrees of punishment. Read Revelation 20:11-15.
23.) Hasn’t the disobedience of the Jews invalidated all of God’s promises to them?
Absolutely not. Paul specifically addresses this question in Romans 3:1-4. He asks, “Has their [the Jews] unbelief nullified the faithfulness of God?” He answers, “May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” Their disobedience has delayed God’s fulfillment of His promises, but His promises are still valid. The promises will be fulfilled to a believing remnant. See Romans 9:27. God’s incredible patience with Israel and His persistent pursuit of their hearts is a demonstration of His incomparable grace.
24.) What are Apocalyptic Writings?
Scripture that reveals truth that had been concealed
The word apocalypse means “to unveil,” to “reveal.” In verse 30 Jesus spoke about the day in which “the Son of Man will be revealed.” That word “revealed” is the word apocalupsis from which we get apocalypse. The last book of the Bible is named Revelation, because the first word in Revelation 1 actually says, “The apocalupsis of Jesus Christ.” There are apocalyptic passages in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah, and Revelation.
25.) What is Eschatology?
The study of the last days. The Greek word for “end times” is eschaton. Thus, any study of the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world is called eschatology.
26.) What is “The Day of the Lord” ?
All the events associated with the return of Christ – “The Day of the Lord” is not a 24 hour period; it is a term used throughout Bible Prophecy to describe multiple events taking place over a long period. When someone says, “We live in the day of cell phones,” they aren’t talking about one single day, but a period of time. In Luke 17, Jesus used “day” and “days of the Lord” interchangeably. The Day of the Lord encompasses the rapture, the tribulation, and the return of Christ at the battle of Armageddon. In case you’re confused about those events, here’s a brief description about the events included in the Day of the Lord.
THIS IS GOD’S PROPHETIC AGENDA:
(1) Rapture: The moment in which Christians will be caught up to be with the Lord
The rapture is next big event on God’s prophetic calendar. We read in I Thessalonians 4 when Christ returns the living Christians will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. The Latin word for the Greek verb “caught up” is raptio, that’s where we get the word rapture. People who do not know Jesus personally will be left behind when the rapture occurs.
(2) The Great Tribulation: Seven years of chaos and trauma in which a leader (Antichrist) will direct a worldwide government and economy
We know from both Daniel 9 and Revelation 6-18 this will be seven years of incredible disasters and difficulties as God pours out His judgement on sinful mankind. In the midst of all this chaos, a single world ruler will be in charge, the Bible calls him Antichrist.
(3) The Battle of Armageddon: When Christ will return to conquer Antichrist and his armies, afterwards He will enter Jerusalem to establish His earthly kingdom (millennium)
At the end of the seven year tribulation, Antichrist and his armies will gather to attack Israel. Revelation 19 predicts Jesus will return and easily conquer Antichrist and his armies. Then according to Zechariah 14, Jesus will enter Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate and set up His Kingdom on earth.
Millennial Views Comparison Chart*
|Dispensational Premillennialism||Historic Premillennialism||Postmillennialism||Amillennialism|
|Favored hermeneutic||Strict literal||Grammatico-historical||Covenant-historical||Redemptive-historical|
|Israel and the church||Views church and Israel as two distinct peoples of God with two individual redemptive plans.||The church is the fulfillment of Israel.||The church is the fulfillment of Israel.||The church is the eschatological fulfillment of Israel.|
|The rapture||The church is raptured before a seven-year tribulation (the seventieth week of Daniel – Daniel 9:24-27). This tribulational period contains the reign of the AntiChrist.||The saints, living and dead, shall meet the Lord in the clouds as he comes to earth to commence the millennial reign.||The rapture is temporily coincident with the Second Coming, both of which occur at the end of the church age||The saints, living and dead, shall meet the Lord in the clouds and immediately proceed to judge the nations with Christ and then follow Him into their eternal state.|
|Kingdom of God||The literal physical kingdom reign, anticipated by the OT prophets, during which God will fulfill all the OT promises to ethnic Israel.||The literal physical kingdom reign anticipated by the OT and NT prophets.||A spiritual entity experienced on earth through the Christianizing effect of the Gospel.||A spiritual reality in which all Christians partake presently by faith, but by sight at the consummation.|
|Millennium||Christ will return at the end of the great tribulation to institute a thousand-year rule from a the New Jerusalem. Those believing in Christ during the “seventieth week of Daniel” who survive will go on to populate the earth during this time. Those raptured or raised prior to the tribulational will reign with Christ over the millennial population. This view sees the re-establishment of temple worship and animal sacrifices as a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice.||Christ will return to institute a thousand-year reign on earth after the tribulation period. Others like J. Barton Payne argure for an imminent Second Coming.||A “golden age” leading up to Christ’s second advent during which Christ will virtually rule over the whole earth through an unprecedented spread of the Gospel; the large majority of people will become Christian.||Inaugurated with Christ’s resurrection. In an “already/not yet” sense, Christ already reigns over all and is already victorious over Satan.|
|Major proponents||C. I. Scofield, John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Lewis S. Chafer, J. Dwight Pentecost, Charles C. Ryrie, Tim Lahaye, Hal Lindsay||W.J. Erdman, George Eldon Ladd, Robert Gundry, Robert Culver, Walter Martin, J. Barton Payne, John Warwick Montgomery, Wayne Grudem.||Lorraine Boettner, Rousas J. Rushdoony, Greg L. Bahnson, Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., David Chilton, R.C. Sproul , Gary North.||Charles Hodge, Meredith Kline, Kim Riddlerbarger, Robert B. Strimple, Gregory Beale, Anthony Hoekema, Vern Poythress, John Murray, Louis Berkhof.|
* chart adapted from Wikipedia article on “Millennial Kingdom”
Definitions of Millennial Positions
Agreements and differences
Bible-believing people all agree that at some future time Jesus Christ will appear openly and bodily to the world in the Second Coming and will begin visibly to reign. But they do not all agree on the exact character of all the events preceding and following the Second Coming, nor do they all agree on the order of events. People have held three main positions over the course of church history, namely premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism.The differences among these positions are complex, involving questions concerning the interpretation of a considerable body of OT prophecy as well as various NT passages. Rev 20:1-10 is only one of the passages involved in the discussion. It just happens to be the case that the names of the positions have been derived from the Latin word millennium meaning 1000 years, because of the mention of a period of 1000 years in Rev 20:2-7.
Definitions of Millennial Positions Cont.
Premillennialism argues for the following series of events. (1) The present age continues to be a mixture of good and evil, believers and unbelievers. (2) Christ returns (the Second Coming). Christians living and dead receive resurrection bodies. There is a judgment on the unbelievers who are alive. (3) Christ inaugurates a visible reign over the nations, a time of great peace and prosperity lasting for 1000 years (some think longer). (4) Shortly before the end of this period, Satan instigates a great rebellion (described in Rev 20:7-10). (5) God puts down the rebellion, and there is a final judgment of those alive and of the wicked dead. (6) The eternal reign of God begins (the consummation).
A variation of premillennialism arising the 19th century has the following series of events. (1) The present age continues with a mixture of good and evil. (2) Christ comes to rapture the church. All believers are caught up to heaven and receive resurrection bodies. Unbelievers are left on earth and do not see Christ. (3) Seven years of tribulation begin, during which God’s wrath is poured out on unbelievers and a Jewish remnant converted to faith in Christ bears witness to the truth. (4) At the end of the tribulation Christ appears visibly, unbelievers are cast into hell, and believers living on earth enter a period of 1000 years during which Christ rules over the nations visibly. (5) Satan instigates a rebellion near the end of the period (Rev 20:7-10). (6) God puts down the rebellion and judges all the dead and all the people who lived in the 1000 year period. (7) The eternal reign of God begins (the consummation).
Amillennialism has the following sequence of events. (1) The present age continues with a mixture of good and evil. (2) Satan instigates a final rebellion near the end of the age. (3) Christ returns (the Second Coming). Christ judges all people, living and dead. Believers receive resurrection bodies, and unbelievers are cast into hell. (4) The eternal reign of God begins (the consummation).
Postmillennialism has the following sequence of events. (1) The present age becomes better and better as more people become Christians and the blessing of God is poured out on them. There will come a future age of spiritual prosperity when Christian faith will dominate in this world. (2) Christ returns (the Second Coming). Christ judges all people, living and dead. Believers receive resurrection bodies, and unbelievers are cast into hell. (3) The eternal reign of God begins (the consummation).
27.) What Happens Right After the Rapture?
II Corinthians 5:10 describes a “judgment seat” (Greek, Bema) to be set up to examine each believers’ work while on earth. The Bema in Paul’s day was a “reviewing stand” where important persons would be seated to watch and reward the contestants below. Winners were led by the referee before the Bema, where high officials would place garlands over them. During that heavenly reviewing day, Christ would have only two standards: “Good or bad.” These standards would examine motives, attitudes, and the heart. When “done for Christ” (Col. 3:23), it is good, otherwise it is bad.
28.) Who are the “Remnant” in Tribulation Passages?
These are not church saints but believing Jews. They would be regathered to the Land of Israel in unbelief (Rom 11), the tribulation will bring them to faith in Jesus as Messiah (Rev. 12:17), and finally the nation Israel turns to Christ at His second advent (Rom. 11:26).
29.) Can People be Saved at the Tribulation?
Yes. Even though the Holy Spirit is removed with the Church at the Rapture, He is still the omnipresent God. He will still be operating on earth in regeneration people. Only His indwelling on earth is removed. (Cf. Rev. 7, 14) The Bible says there will be a great harvest of souls during the Tribulation (Revelation 7:9-14). But the Bible indicates that there will be a “lie” that many believe. It also states that many will become even harder during the Tribulation and curse God.
30.) Will we know each other in Heaven?
Yes, definitely. We are told that we will have glorified bodies like the one that Jesus had after His resurrection (Philippians 3:21). Once the disciples got over the shock of His resurrection, they easily recognized Him whenever He appeared to them (John 21:1-7). In like manner, the disciples recognized Moses and Elijah when they appeared at the transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-5). We do not become non-entities at death. We retain our individuality and personality. God constantly refers to Himself as “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” long after their deaths. His fellowship with them is obviously continuing in Heaven. See Luke 20:37-38.
Compiled by: Nathan Leigh