Section 9: The End Times
Week 1: Christ’s Return
Day 2: After He Returns, Jesus Will Establish His Kingdom
We saw yesterday that, although Christ is present with us today through the Spirit, a day is coming when he will return physically. Why? Do we really need anything more than his spiritual presence? As the gospel continues to spread, won’t more and more people come to follow his example? And when that happens, won’t his kingdom extend throughout the world as he rules in our hearts? Shouldn’t that be enough for us? Perhaps it should be enough for us, but it’s not enough for God.
It’s true that the gospel transforms the lives of those who accept it, but God intends to bring about transformation on a much grander scale. Right now, Christ rules in hearts of believers, but God intends to extend that rule to every corner of the universe by bringing all things together under Christ (Eph. 1:10).
We’ll discuss this in greater detail in the Digging Deeper section, but some theologians see this as happening in one fell swoop. When Christ returns, he will immediately usher in the New Heaven and the New Earth described in Rev. 21-22. Other theologians break it up into two stages: 1. Based on Rev. 20, they argue when Christ returns, he will first establish the Millennium Kingdom and rule on earth for 1000 years. 2. After that, the New Heaven and the New Earth will appear.
Read Rev. 20-22.
Without worrying whether everything unfolds in one or two stages, how would you describe the ultimate effects of Christ return?
WANT TO DIG DEEPER?
The book of Revelation plays an important role in our understanding of the end times, but for most of us it’s notoriously difficult to interpret. There a number of different approaches to interpreting the book of Revelation. We review a few of the major one’s in the next Digging Deeper section.
After reviewing the basic approaches to the book of Revelation, we the discuss the views on whether Christ’s return is followed by the Millennial Kingdom.