Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Any minute now....

Jesus …

“... is seated at the right hand of the Father and he will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in … the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.”
- The Apostles Creed
(1st or 2nd century A.D.)

“… will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end….We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen”
- The Nicene Creed
(A.D. 381)

“… shall come again to earth, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God….
“….For all mankind, there will be a resurrection of the body into the spiritual world and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. Unbelievers will be separated from God into condemnation. God’s judgment will reveal His justice in consigning them to perpetuate in eternal retribution for their own rejection of God. Believers will be received into eternal communion with God and will be rewarded for works done in this life.”
- Willow Creek Community Church Statement of Faith
(20th century)

“… New Testament believers waited not for signs but for Jesus himself …. Their hope was directly focused on the sovereign appearing of Christ because they believed it was the next great event to occur in God’s timetable for the end of all things.”
—Gilbert Bilezikian, Christianity 101, p. 234

What Does the Bible Teach About the End?

The following outline is adapted from chapter eight of Christianity 101, by Gilbert Bilezikian, which is recommended for further reading:

I. The Parousia is an “Imminent” Event – The early church was told all the conditions required for Christ’s return had been met.

  • Acts 2:16-17 – The “last days” were inaugurated at Pentecost.
  • Romans 13:11-12 – They were to live expectantly of it.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:7-9; 10:11 – It was possible in their lifetime
  • Philippians 3:20-21; 4:5 – They were rightly actively waiting.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (cf. 1:9-10) – Some might live to see it.
  • 2 Timothy 3:1-5 – End times conditions existed.
  • Titus 2:11-13 – They needed to be holy in case Christ returned.
  • Hebrews 1:1-2; 9:26-28; 10:25) – They’re in history’s last phase.
  • James 5:7-9 – They’re to suffer in hope that Christ could return.
  • 1 Peter 4:5 (Also 1:5,13; 4:7,17; 2 Peter 3:12-17) – Everything was ready for the judgment of the living and dead to begin.
  • 1 John 2:18 – It was “the last hour.”
  • Revelation – 1:1,3; 3:11; 22:6-7,12,20) – The time was near and Christ himself promised to come soon.

II. The Parousia as an Absolute Event

  • The Teaching of Jesus
    Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50
    Matthew 24:29-31, 37-42
  • The Teaching of Paul
    1 Corinthians 15:23-26, 52-57
    1 Thessalonians 4:14-5:4
  • The Teaching of Peter
    2 Peter 3:1-15
  • The Teaching of John
    The Book of Revelation

III. The Parousia as a Universal Event

The Universal Renewal

  • The resurrection
  • The reunion

The Universal Removal

  • The resolution of the presence of evil
  • The retribution by judgment

IV. Current Views on the End Times

  • Anti-eschatological Attitudes
  • Indifferent Attitudes
  • Obsessive Attitudes

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