End Times: Back to the Future
Introduction End Times Study Overview
Before we officially begin our study of End Times, I thought that it might be helpful to provide a brief overview in preparation for the study. It is important for us to know and understand God’s eternal plan for mankind, and how Christ’s return fits perfectly into that plan. It is also important for us to have a working knowledge of the facts regarding this part of prophecy, so that we are not easily misled by false teaching, and so that we can teach others about this pivotal event. My prayer is that as we jointly embark on this study, God will open our eyes and our heart to all that He has in store for us when Christ returns. Furthermore, I pray that we will find others to share this good news with as we study together.
As we begin this journey, let’s review some of the key precepts and questions regarding Christ’s Second Coming. Just as it was with his disciples two thousand years ago, we have the same questions today — When will it happen? How will we know when that time is drawing near?
For our introductory lesson, we will be reviewing passages in Matthew (Chapters 24-25) as well as others in 1 and 2 Thessalonians as we consider and answer the following questions:
- Read Matthew 24:1-3. List below the three specific questions that the disciples asked Jesus regarding the destruction of the Temple and his return.
- The first question, "When will the Temple be destroyed?", is not answered by Jesus; however, we know that in 70 AD, it literally did occur just as Jesus said it would, i.e., "not one stone will be left". How did he answer the second question? (see Matthew 24:4-28)
- How did Jesus answer the third question? (see Matthew 24:29-35)
- What did Jesus say about the specific time or day that marks his return? (see Matthew 24:36-44)
- What did Jesus say was the specific "gospel" that will be preached "in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come"? (see Matthew 24:9-14)
- What does the judgment of the sheep and goats represent? How are "nations" judged, and when? (see Matthew 25:31-46)
- In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Paul speaks of the end days and the abomination. What does this passage say about that time? What will initiate these last days when the "lawless one" is revealed?
- One belief some Christians hold is that the Church will be "caught up", or "raptured", prior to the second coming of Christ. How is this described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and how does this passage relate to the one that we examined above in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12?
One thing that all Christians, i.e., all believers in Christ, agree on is that Christ will indeed return. The difficulty in understanding this complex body of prophecy revolves around the fact that not all believers agree on how, when, or even where, it will occur. As we move ahead with our study, we will be focusing as closely as possible on actual scripture, using it as our sole guide. Each of us must allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, as we try to discern the revealing of Christ, the timing of His coming, and what those days will be like.
There is much that we can garner from this study that will strengthen our faith, and encourage us to continue in ministry and witness more strongly, as we work toward that great and glorious day.
Thanks for studying with us.