The end times, or last days, are mentioned often in the New Testament and also in our culture. Do you know what that phrase means? I know that some people, even Christians, are scared of the end times. But what does the Bible actually say about the last days? Join me and my cohosts, Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool and Kirsten at DoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life, by linking your post below and by grabbing this button!
The End Times
We have always been taught from the gospels that things must get so bad before Christ comes. We are told that no one can know the day or the hour, and that the world will be in complete turmoil and the Christians under persecution. Go ahead and go read all of those passages – Matthew 24 and the following few chapters, Matthew 13 as well, Mark 13, and Luke 21, for starters. If you’ll read carefully, you’ll see that these passages do all in fact apply to what’s been called “The Great Tribulation” and the gathering of the followers of Christ to Him in the air. Yes, and yes.
Some of what we have always quoted as must happen is listed as only the beginning of birth pangs. So do see that. And then remember that these accounts in the gospels are not the only information we have on the end times! These passages are specifically Jesus talking about His triumphal return. It’s the last moments and the end of the earth. If you look further, though, there is information about what happens after the what is described here.
Read the Word
Let’s go to 1 Corinthians 15 and read. You can start in verse 20; the context is that Paul, as the writer, has just confirmed that we must believe in the resurrection of the dead because if there’s no resurrection of the dead then even Christ could not have been raised and if that were true then all of it is in vain. That Christ was raised from the dead is the very foundation of our faith; it’s why our sins have been paid for and why we have access to God the Father and to heaven in the first place. That’s what Paul is talking about prior to verse 20.
From this point, Paul says that of course it was this way and there is a perfect order. Christ died and was risen first as a firstfruits offering to God. (Do you know your Old Testament??) After that, all who believe in Christ will be raised. Then let’s read from the Amplified, for starters, starting in verse 23:
After that comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the Father.
Now wait right here. What does it mean that Jesus (He) will “hand over the kingdom” to the Father? I grew up being told that “the kingdom” was heaven itself. But that’s not what this says, is it? Doesn’t heaven already belong to God the Father? We know from the gospels that this must be referring to the earth and all that is in it – it’s the culmination end of the prayer of Jesus Himself, “Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” That is what Jesus is handing over. Now, the end of the verse (24) and the next (25):
after He has made inoperative and abolished every ruler and every authority and every power.
For Christ must reign as King until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
What does that say? It says that the period described in the gospels doesn’t happen until after every evil on earth has been conquered by Christ. Until the kingdom has come to earth, and things work on earth as they do in heaven. Why? Because Christ gets to reign and be king – of a kingdom – up to the point (which is what the word “until” means, yes?) all the enemies are under His feet. Until the enemy has been conquered, Jesus is King. And then Jesus will hand this kingdom over to God the Father, in the end times (or “the end of the age” in Biblical terminology).
Bride of Christ
Do you see that? The last enemy to be destroyed is death. That happens when all of Christ’s elect are raised from the dead to meet Him in the air. Yes? So if that’s the last thing, then the defeat of every other evil on earth must happen before that. Please feel free to go ahead and look it up in any other translation. I like the Amplified because it expounds on words that might have more than one translation possibility, such as the KJV “puts an end to” in verse 24.
Paul goes on to instruct people to stop sinning. This isn’t the only time we are instructed to “be holy,” including by Christ Himself (“…as I am holy”). The chapter ends with Paul encouraging us to stand and be faithful because our work is not in vain. He’s telling us that by conforming to the image of Christ and making effort to stop sinning, we are doing the work of bringing God’s kingdom to earth as it is in heaven and bringing the day of resurrection closer!
In Ephesians, Paul is instructing wives and husbands in chapter 5. He instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Then he explains exactly how that was – Christ gave Himself up for the church, His bride, so that He could present her to Himself without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. Folks, that is the Bride that Christ is coming for! That is the church He is waiting to recognize who they are, to do the work of bringing God’s kingdom to earth as it is in heaven, and by doing so they stop sinning. They become pure and white and without any imperfection, so that this church is ready to be the Bride of Christ, the true heart’s love of a man who lived without sin. That’s who we are! That’s who we are called to be, before these end times shall come to pass.
Who knows when that will happen. (Exactly.)
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