How will the world end? Eschatology

black smoke coming from fire

The Bible is clear about how human history will transition into a new reality.  Yet, scholars often disagree about the order the major events.  There are three major perspectives: premillennialism, postmillennialism, and amillennialism.  Each have several variations within them and yet each perspective recognizes the following major events in different ways.

Tribulation

We will experience a growing period of evil and pain that affects our world.  Matthew 24; 2 Thessalonians 2; 2 Peter 3:1-15; Revelation 8-9, 16

Jesus’s return to Earth:

Jesus will return to earth literally and physically, and we will forever be with Him (Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2; Revelation 19:11-12). There are signs of this return, but God only knows the timing (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Timothy 3; 2 Peter 3:1-10).

Judgement:

God will take over our world, bring peace, and remove Satan and establish His rule (Daniel 7-9; Revelation 11:15-18; 21-22).  All who have accepted God will be with Him, and those who reject God will be removed Daniel 12:2; Matthew 13:41-42; 25:41-46; Hebrews 10:26-31; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:10-15, 21:8

Final Destination

There will be a new Heaven & Earth I(saiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21-22). We are recreated with new physical bodies (1 Corinthians 15; Philippians 3:21; Colossians 3:10; 2 Peter 1).  We will be able to experience life as it was meant to be lived.

Here is how each view sets these events in their particular order.

Premillennialism

In this literal view, the second coming of Jesus happens after the church age but before the start of the millennium.  In between are seven years of tribulation.  Believers are raptured to be with Jesus (different views when below) and return with Jesus to launch the millennium.

  • Pre-Tribulation – believers do not experience the tribulation
  • Mid tribulation – believers experience half of the tribulation (3.5 years)
  • Pre-Wrath – believers experience the tribulation but are raptured before the worst of the worst.
  • Post Tribulation – believers go through the tribulation but are raptured before Jesus’s return.

Postmillennialism

The second coming of Jesus happens at the end of the millennium.  Society progressively improves as the Church spreads the Gospel. Satan’s forces are slowly defeated, and the Kingdom of God expands.

  • Historicist view: the tribulation is happening today
  • Preterit View: the tribulation has happened already

Amillennialism

Revelation is an allegory of the ages, and Jesus’s second coming will occur at the end of time.  Society decays and causes Jesus’s return.

  • Classical View: There is no literal 1000-year reign of Christ on the earth
  • Preterit View:  We are living in the new heaven/earth that God is in the middle of renewing.

For more, read Daniel 7-9; Ezekiel; Matthew 24-25; 1 Thessalonians 4; Revelation 4-22

A good breakdown can be found at Visual Theology

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