A good and longstanding friend has asked me to blog a little on eschatology, and other people have expressed interest in this as well, but I’m not really sure what exact issues are on people’s radar. So, I’ll toss up the eschatology section from my personal teaching statement and simply open up the floor for questions.
Last Things (Eschatology)
I teach that physical death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness (Revelation 6:9-11), that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8), that there is a separation of soul and body (Philippians 1:21-24), and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), which initiates the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6) when our soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 50-54). Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8). I teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11, 19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Revelation 20:13-15). I teach that the souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Revelation 20:13-15), when the soul and the resurrection body will be united (John 5:28-29). They shall then appear at the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41-46), cut off from the life of God forever (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
The Promises to Israel
I teach that Israel has a distinct and special future in God’s redemptive plan and the unconditional promises God made to the nation of Israel have not been nullified, nor have they been transferred fully and exclusively to the Church. The Abrahamic, Davidic, and New Covenants will be fulfilled in detail as promised to Israel (Genesis 15:1-21;17:4-8, 13, 19; 22:18; 1 Chronicles 17:1-15; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Romans 11).
I teach that there has always existed a universal kingdom of God, (Psalm 29:10; 74:12; 145:13), but there will also come a future, literal, earthly, kingdom of Christ (Isaiah 2:2-4; 24:23; Daniel 2:44; Zechariah 14:9). Believers are kingdom citizens who serve Christ on this earth as aliens, strangers, and ambassadors of his coming kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; 5:20; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:11).
The Church Age
I teach that believers are currently living in the Church age, a time where God is offering salvation and the kingdom primarily to the Gentiles (Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:25-29). The Church age began at Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) and will end at the rapture of the Church.
The Rapture of the Church
I teach the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven-year tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Titus 2:13) to remove His church from this earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:11) and, between this event and His glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to their works (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). The Tribulation Period
I teach that immediately following the removal of the church from the earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 16), and that these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth (Matthew 24:27-31; 25:31 46; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12). At that time the Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living unbelievers will be judged (Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 25:31-34; Luke 17:22-37; Revelation 20:4-6). This period includes the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:15-31; 25:31-46) and will be when God will primarily focus His attention on the ethnic nation of Israel, bringing many to faith in their previously rejected Messiah (Romans 11:25-27; Hosea 3:5; Zechariah 12:10-14; Revelation 7:4-17)
The Second Coming and the Millennial Reign
I teach that, after the events of the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:10-11; 2:29-30) and establish His messianic kingdom for a thousand years on the earth (Revelation 20:1-7). During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth (Ezekiel 37:21-28; Daniel 7:17-22; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 19:11-16) and the curse will be partially lifted, with the earth returning to a sort of pre-flood state (Isaiah 11; 65:17-25). This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world (Daniel 7:17-27; Revelation 20:1-7). I teach that the kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel (Isaiah 65:17-25; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Zechariah 8:1-17) to restore them to the land which they forfeited through their disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). The result of their disobedience was that Israel was temporarily set aside (Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1-26) but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:22-32; Romans11:25-29). I teach that this time of our Lord’s reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Isaiah 11; 65:17-25; Ezekiel 36:33-38), and will be brought to an end with the release of Satan (Revelation 20:7).
The Judgment of the Lost
I teach that following the release of Satan after the thousand year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Revelation 20:9). Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10) whereupon Christ, who is the judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and judge all the unsaved dead at the Great White Throne judgment. We teach that this resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment for their sinful deeds, they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matthew 13:42, 25:41; Mark 9:47-48; Luke 16:24; Romans 14:10-13; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10; Revelation 14:11, 20:11-15).
The Eternal State
I teach that after the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:7-15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a totally new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15, 21-22). Following this, the heavenly city of the New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another (John 17:3; Revelation 21-22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28) so that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Corinthians 15:28).
I’m sure there’s no disagreement or confusion on anything I’ve just posted.
Feel free to toss whatever my way, and I’ll do my best to interact as time permits.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “How Long Oh Lord?!” Unger