For thousands of years, the Jewish nation had anticipated a Messiah who would defeat their oppressors. The ancient Jews expected Messiah to set up his Kingdom on the earth and to reign from Jerusalem. They had discerned this from the Scriptures.
Ancient Jewish scholars memorized the entirety of the Old Testament Scriptures. They meditated on Scripture. And yet, still, they expected Messiah to come riding into Jerusalem on a war horse, rather than on a mild donkey.
What they didn’t realize was that Jesus Messiah would have two arrivals, the first as a baby in a manger come to grow to adulthood, to teach us about his Kingdom, and to redeem us from the weight of our sins. His second arrival will be as Jesus, the conquering King, who will bring justice, mete out consequences, and establish a new heaven and a new earth. Behold, he comes with the clouds!
The fact that many learned Hebrew scribes and scholars couldn’t detect that there would be two appearings should humble us, preparing us to re-examine our own viewpoints about the Second Coming of Christ. We may need to reconsider which eschatological positions might be more accurate.
Eschatology is theology concerned with the final events of history — the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as “the end of the world” or “end times,” relating to death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind.
If the Jewish scholars could be wrong about what Messiah’s first appearing would look like, we too are certainly wrong in some of our own expectations of what his Second Coming will look like. Probably none of us have it 100% right.
This easily accessible book compares each position and is worth your consideration: Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond, Counterpoints. Darrell L. Bock is the General Editor, Zondervan the publisher.
More than once during this pandemic, I’ve been asked if the vaccine is “the mark of the beast.” Over the years, many things have been assigned this designation, from credit cards that could be swiped electronically to new technologies. None were “the mark of the beast,” for we didn’t have to deny Christ to receive them.
The Lord provided an Old Testament illustration in Ezekiel 9:1-8 that pictures how and why “the mark” may be different than we’ve imagined.
“Mark” is a masculine noun meaning a mark, or a signature. It is the name of the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet — ת, Tav. It indicates a mark of some kind put on a person (Ezek. 9:4, 6); and also a person’s identifying mark or signature (Job 31:35). In the case of Ezekiel, the mark was a sign of exemption from judgment for God’s people.1. Those who had obeyed the Lord were marked as those who should be spared in this instance.
In the Ezekiel account, only the angels and God could see the actual mark.
The mark given in the last days seems to imply that one has denied Christ and, thus, belongs to the evil one.
Believer’s names are recorded in the Book of Life. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit as with a signet ring in wax. Neither is visible to us. Might these realities act as a mark we already have, indicating that we belong to the Lord?
My husband and I have spent fifteen to twenty years studying the eschatological Biblical texts, the accompanying commentaries, and the scholarly investigations. Simultaneously, we’ve focused on the commands and instructions Jesus gave us for our preparation. There’s plenty of application, for we must be ready.
Yet, we remain acutely aware of the ancient Jewish predictions that weren’t accurate long before us. And thus, we approach our conclusions with great humility, aware that we cannot possibly get this 100% right. No one can.
At our pastor’s urging, my husband and I are writing a Christian fiction series set in the final days. The first Biblical Fiction series that I wrote was set in Genesis — Fallen and Refuge. This second Biblical Fiction series is about the return of Christ.
Only the Lord God Almighty knows what will happen and when and why.
Every one of the eschatological (end-times) scenarios that you find described here, in the notes of your Study Bible, or within a reputable systematic theology book are all within a solid understanding of the Scriptures. Every one of them can safely be considered as a possibility.
It could be any one of these or a scenario that none of us have yet discerned.
Bible-believing people around the world can and do, with solid reasons, hold to any one of these eschatological viewpoints.
There is more than one possible scenario of the end times.
Do not be shocked. Do not be dismayed. God knows what will occur.
There are many understandings of apocalyptic passages studied by multitudes of Biblical scholars with comprehension of Hebrew and Greek.
Each one emphasizes that Christ will return and that we need to be ready.There are many understandings of #apocalyptic passages studied by multitudes of Biblical scholars. Each one emphasizes that Christ will return and that we need to be ready. #bgbg2 #endtimes Click To Tweet
From our perspective on this earth within these human bodies, we can’t yet comprehend all that is written here, for we are not God.
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John” (Revelation 1:1 ESV).
Verse one informs us that this is a “revelation” and it has a divine author: Jesus Christ. This book reveals unseen spiritual forces that operate and have operated behind the scenes throughout human history, shaping events and outcomes. We see many of these revelations through symbolic visions, especially in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah.Revelation reveals unseen spiritual forces that operate and have operated behind the scenes throughout human history, shaping events and outcomes. Revelation is a prophecy. #bgbg2 #endtimes Click To Tweet
The word revelation is translated from the Greek “apokálupsis (Strong’s #602), from apokalúptō (#601), to reveal. It means revelation, uncovering, unveiling, disclosure. One of three words referring to the Second Coming of Christ (1 Cor. 1:7; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:7, 13). The other two words are epipháneia (Strong’s #2015), appearing (1 Tim. 6:14), and parousía (Strong’s #3952), coming, presence (2 Thess. 2:1). [THIS IS IMPORTANT>>]Apokálupsis, a grander and more comprehensive word, includes not merely the thing shown and seen but the interpretation, the unveiling of the same. The epipháneiai (pl.), appearances, are contained in the apokálupsis, revelation, being separate points or moments therein. Christ’s first coming was an epipháneia (2 Tim. 1:10); the second, an apokálupsis, will be far more glorious.” 2.
“I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 1:19 ESV).
The word “tribulation” itself means to be crushed or squeezed, pressed, troubled, or afflicted, typically on account of one’s faith in Christ.
Revelation is not a chronological timeline. It is apocalyptic literature.
Apocalyptic literature in the Bible is marked by symbolic imagery and the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and raises the righteous to life in a messianic kingdom.Revelation is not a chronological timeline. Apocalyptic literature in the Bible is marked by symbolic imagery and the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm. #bgbg2 #endtimes Click To Tweet In Revelation, heavenly mysteries and eschatological events are revealed in pictorial manner, maybe more than once. We strive to comprehend the unveiling of these events. #bgbg2 #endtimes Click To Tweet
Heavenly mysteries and eschatological events are revealed in pictorial manner, maybe more than once. We strive to comprehend the unveiling of these events.
In light of his coming, how should we then live?
Not only is the return of Christ discussed in the book of Revelation, but also in numerous passages throughout the New Testament and the Old Testament, each shedding more light and providing more pieces of the puzzle.
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to the servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Revelation 1:1-3 ESV).
“The things that must soon take place“ and also “the time is near“ were written approximately two thousand years ago. From the moment Jesus ascended, there has never been a time on earth when the church was not persecuted somewhere.
This is why we say, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”
Our idea of “soon” or “near,” and God the timeless and eternal Sovereign’s idea of “soon” and “near” are clearly two different concepts.
Must “soon take place“ is translated from the Greek táchos (Strong’s #5034); from tachús (5036), prompt, swift. Quickness, swiftness, speed. In the NT, only in a phrase with the prep. en (1722), in, used as an adv. meaning quickly, of short duration, speedily, soon, shortly, equivalent to tachéōs (5030), suddenly, quickly (Luke 18:8; Acts 25:4; Rom. 16:20; Rev. 1:1; 22:6, meaning suddenly). Also with the idea of haste (Acts 12:7; 22:18; Sept.: Deut. 11:17; Ps. 2:12).3.
Consider a timeline that progresses off to infinity and forever on your left and that same line moves onward to infinity and forever on your right. There is no beginning and no ending of this timeline.
This is the essence of the eternal God’s existence.
A thousand years are like a day, and a day is like a thousand years. From God’s perspective, the return of Christ will quickly be upon us. It is coming with great haste. All of heaven is preparing.
“Revelation draws back the curtain on the unseen realities of life for God’s people. There is a spiritual battle going on, and the risen Jesus reveals these visions to John so that God’s Church will be aware of what is happening now and in the future. While the strange imagery might seem frightening, the ultimate message of Revelation is a hopeful one: Although evil appears to triumph, God remains on the throne.“4.
My husband Tim and I have arrived at what we feel has the most solid probability of occurring. Simultaneously, we humbly recognize that just as the first-century Jews were mistaken in their understanding of the first coming, any/every human being investigating the Second Coming today is off in one point or another.
Our series is fictional, but it is based on decades of study. We present a worldwide event with fictional characters from all over the globe. We look forward to bringing this series to you as we consider Christ’s return.
Watch for it, and pray for us as we write. There is always spiritual warfare.
- Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 1215). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers. Stong’s #8420 –תָּו tāw.
- Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
- Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.