The study of Eschatology, or the End Times, has always fascinated people. The scriptures make it clear that we live in a world that is not destined to remain forever. There are several different views regarding this. I am rather boring on this issue because I still subscribe to the standard dispensational views. The way I understand it is that the rapture marks the beginning of the End Times. It is where the true believers who are “alive and remain” are caught up together with them [those who already died as Christians] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…” (1 Thess. 4:17). This is the time of the resurrection where the Christian receives his resurrected body. There are various views as to what this will look like and when it will happen. But most commentators believe it is immediately followed by the great tribulation on the earth, while a great celebration takes place in heaven with the resurrected believers often called the “marriage supper of the Lamb.” During the tribulation is when the seals, trumpets and bowls of revelation occur.

After the seven years of great tribulations on earth, the Lord along with the resurrected believers will return to earth and set up the Millennial Kingdom. Some argue for a very literal 1000 years, others see it as a “long period of time.” It will be God’s answer to the Lord’s Prayer that has been prayed millions if not billions of times over the centuries: “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth…” There will be one final uprising of Satan and evil, but will be overturned by the Lord and His forces that will set up what we know as the “Eternal State.”

We must always keep in mind that our understanding of the End Times has never been part of the test for orthodoxy. There are many different opinions held by true believers. But it seems that everyone agrees that the most important teaching regarding the End Times is Jesus’ exhortation to be ready at any moment. He tells us in Luke 12:40, “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” The word “maranatha” is a Syriac expression that means: “our Lord comes.” It was used as a greeting in the early church. When believers gathered or parted, they didn’t say “hello” or “goodbye” but “Maranatha!” If we had the same upward look today, it would revolutionize the church. O that God’s people had a deepening awareness of the imminent return of the Savior!

“For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2