Eschatology (teaching about the end-times) has become quite the subject of controversy in the past century, especially here in the USA. Some people insistently believe in “dispensational premillennialism” and treat it as if it’s a crucial aspect of the Gospel message, while others mock it as absurd. Although I am tempted toward the latter, what I thought I’d jot down right now are the basics of what I do believe about the end-times. Please realize this not a subject I have studied in any great depth yet, so this is all very much subject to change, according to what my devotions & studies in Scripture and other readings teach me.
The end-times sequence I anticipate is as follows:
1. The dead are raised *
2. Jesus returns with the departed faithful *
3. All are judged, favorably or not *
4. the sheep & goats (or the wheat & tares) are separated
5. The end
Technically, I think steps 1 & 2 are essentially simultaneous. The rest I expect are immediately sequential; I don’t subscribe to the idea of long intermediate periods of time giving “one last chance” for repentance and such. I believe we’re in that “one last chance” phase right now; that’s why the mission of the Church is so much more overtly evangelistic than it ever was for Israel in the Old Covenant. Asserting that there’ll be another age between this one and the consummation of the Kingdom implies the giving of a third covenant, which has no warrant in Scripture whatsoever. This is all part of that classic “already / not yet / even now” dynamic that so many Christian teachers describe.