Last Things: Death and Jesus' Return

Death - the Biblical idea of death includes physical, spiritual and eternal death.

Physical Death - The body without the spirit is dead. It is the dissolving of the union between spirit and body. God separates/severs what He originally joined together.  (Genesis 2: 7, Genesis 3: 19, Ecclesiastes 12: 7, James 2: 26, II Corinthians 5: 1 - 10)

Spiritual Death - A state in which man is separated from God, cut off from His favor and fellowship. It is the state of mankind without Christ. (Ephesians 2: 1 - 5, John 5: 24, Colossians12: 13)

Immortality of the Soul - The soul continues to live after its separation from the body. (Psalm 16: 9 - 11, Matthew 12: 41, John 11: 25 - 26, Romans 2: 5 - 11, II Corinthians 5: 1 - 10)

Intermediate State - The souls of believers at death enter glory in the presence of Christ. The souls of unbelievers enter a place of torment. (Luke 23: 43, Luke 16: 19 - 31, Hebrews 9: 27)

Antichrist - anti means "against" or "in place of”. The Antichrist opposes Christ and seeks to substitute himself for Christ. He is a false Christ who seeks to deceive people into thinking that he is the true Christ. John speaks of many manifestations of antichrist (I John 2: 18; I John 4: 3).  Paul says that a special manifestation of the Antichrist will appear before the end of the age and the second coming of Christ. The coming of the Antichrist is also linked to a great apostasy in the Church. He makes war on the people of God and seeks the destruction of Christ and His kingdom.  The Antichrist will be no match for the true Christ. The defeat and judgment of the Antichrist is sure. (II Thessalonians 2: 1 - 12, I John 2: 18 - 23, I John 4: 1 - 6, II John 1: 7)

Second coming of Christ - Jesus Christ will return at the end of the age. His return will be a personal, physical, visible, sudden and glorious return. (Acts 1: 11, Matthew 24: 27 - 44, Matthew 25: 31 - 33, Hebrews 9: 28, I Thessalonians 4: 13 - 18, Revelation 1: 7) We were not present when Jesus came the first time, but no believer will miss His second coming. The Church will be raptured to join our Lord as He returns as victor and judge. The return of Jesus Christ will not be secret but manifested to all. The purpose of the rapture is to allow the saints to meet the Lord in the air as He returns and to be included in His entourage during His triumphal decent. At His coming there will be a general resurrection, the final judgment and the end of the world. No one knows the day of hour of Christ's return.

There are several different major views on the return of Christ:

Many associate the return of Christ with an extended period of blessedness and prosperity and peace on earth where Christianity and Christ will reign supreme. The pre-millennial view holds that Christ will return before this will happen and at the end of this period the wicked will be raised for final judgment.

Postmillennialism is the view that the Holy Spirit will gradually bring about a period of virtual triumph of true Christianity before Christ returns. Some believe an apostasy will precede this golden age, others believe it will follow. Christ will then return after the world is evangelized, the Jews converted and the Church established in its purity. The general resurrection and judgment will follow. Then the eternal kingdom will begin.

Amillennialism is the view that the Scripture does not teach that there will be a golden age in world history prior to Christ's return or before the final judgment. Christ is reigning now. We serve a King who has already been enthroned, yet we await His triumphal return when every knee shall bow before Him. Christ will return and resurrect all men at the same time and a general judgment will follow. The new heaven and new earth will then appear.

Resurrection of the Body - There will be a physical resurrection of both believers and non-believers. (Job 19: 26, I Corinthians 15: 12 - 19, 25 - 26, 50 - 58; Matthew 22: 23 - 33, Luke 20: 35 - 36, John 5: 25 - 29)

Final Judgment - The Lord is coming for the purpose of judging the living and the dead and consigning each individual to their eternal destiny. (Matthew 13: 36 - 43, 47 - 50; Matthew 25: 31 - 46; Philippians 2: 9 - 10, Revelation 20: 12 - 13)

Heaven - There are many rich biblical images of heaven. The things that will be absent in heaven include tears, death, sorrow, pain darkness, sin, the ungodly, the sun and the moon. Present in heaven will be the saints, the river of the water of life, healing fruit, the Lamb of God and the unveiled face of God. The saints will delight in fellowship with their Savior. Heaven will be a place to enjoy God's rewards forever. Nothing will be able to diminish the joy we will have in heaven.  (I Corinthians 15: 50 - 57, II Corinthians 5: 1 - 8, I Peter 1: 3 - 9, Revelation 21 & 22)

Hell - There is no biblical concept more terrifying and dreadful than Hell. Most of the biblical teaching on hell comes from Jesus. Hell is described as a place of outer darkness, a lake of fire, a place of torment that never ends. Hell is a place of judgment and perfect justice where God is present in His wrath and judgment. Hell is eternal and there is no escape. (Matthew 8: 11 - 12, Mark 9: 42 - 48, Luke 16: 9 - 31, Jude 1: 3 - 13, Revelation 20: 11 - 15)

Final State - A New Heavens and a New Earth or Hell (Mark 9: 43 - 48, Luke 16, Revelation 21, II Peter 3: 7 - 13)

We are to be prepared for death and His coming. - (II Peter 3: 11, Romans 8: 18, I Corinthians 2: 9)

Written by Bob Krepps  © 1999 all rights reserved Permission is granted to copy this outline for personal study and small groups only 

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