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Note: this is the second part of a two-part blog post. The first part can be found here.

 

Question 3:Cheap Cleveland Browns Jerseys What will happen to unbelievers who die during the tribulation?

As mentioned in part 1 of this post, it appears that the tribulation period will last for seven years – with the second half of the tribulation being much worse than the first half.

It turns out that some Christian denominations have a very specific belief about the tribulation. This belief deals with people who die, during the tribulation period.

In essence, the belief is as follows: If a person dies during the tribulation – and if that person is not a believer in God and Jesus – then that person will never be resurrected. In other words, if a non-believer’s life ends, during the tribulation, then that person will never be resurrected at all – instead, he will be condemned to permanent death.

So, is this belief supported by Scripture? In other words, is it really true that all non-believers who die during the tribulation will be permanently destroyed?

The most obvious item to consider, about this overall question, is as follows: millions upon millions of people have already died, without ever hearing about God and Jesus. In other words, those people have never received any information about the God of Israel, and His beloved Son – i.e., they “died in ignorance” of Yahweh. As a result, those people never had any opportunity to be saved, during this age.

From what I can see, it appears that people who died in ignorance will have the opportunity to be saved, after Jesus returns. An article that deals with that subject can be found here.

So, this raises another question: How much knowledge about God will exist, during the tribulation period? In other words, is God going to ensure that everyone learns about Him – and therefore, that everyone has the opportunity to be saved – during the tribulation?

If every single person does know the truth about God during the tribulation, then it might make sense that unbelievers who die during that time will never be  resurrected. However, if some people do not have accurate knowledge about God during the tribulation, then those people certainly will be resurrected – even if they die during the tribulation.

So, is there any indication that everyone will learn the truth about God and Jesus, during the tribulation? Well, Revelation 14:3-4 states the following:

Revelation 14:3-4 (ESV):

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

At first glance, that passage might appear to imply that everyone will hear about God during the tribulation. However, consider this: in Mark 16:15, Jesus tells the disciples to “proclaim the gospel to the whole creation“. Similarly, in Matthew 28:19, Jesus told them to “make disciples of all nations“. Of course, the disciples did not actually spread the gospel to every single person on the earth. So, the above passage in Revelation does not necessarily mean that every single person on earth will hear the gospel, during the tribulation.

In addition, consider this – there are many people who are mentally incapable of understanding about God – even if that information is presented to them. For example, newborn babies simply do not possess the mental faculties to understand the gospel – even if someone tells them about it! People who have severe mental disabilities would fall into that category as well. So, even if the gospel is presented to everyone during the tribulation, there will still be many people who do not understand it at that time.

As a result, it appears to me that there will definitely be at least some people who do not understand the truth about God, during the tribulation. That, in turn, implies that unbelievers who die during the tribulation still could be resurrected – because those people might not have ever heard about God.

In other words, from what I can see, the belief that “All unbelievers who die during the tribulation will never be resurrected” does not appear to be supported by the whole of Scripture.

 

Question 4: Where will Jesus and the apostles be, during the millennium?

As mentioned previously, the millennium period will begin immediately after the tribulation period. In essence, Jesus will end the reign of the “man of lawlessness”; and then he will rule the earth, for 1000 years. In addition, Jesus’ followers – most notably, the apostles – will assist him in that rule.

Some Christian groups have a specific belief about Jesus’ rule during the millennium. The belief is that Jesus and his followers will live in heaven during the millennium. That is, Jesus and his followers will rule the earth “from afar” – i.e., they will be ruling the earth, while they are actually located in heaven.

The most obvious passage to consider, when debating this question, is Revelation 5:9-10. Here is that passage:

Revelation 5:9-10 (ESV)

And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you [Jesus] to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”

The last part of that passage states that Jesus has made his followers “a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth”. With that translation, it is clear that Jesus’ followers will actually be located on the earth during the millennium – not in heaven.

Almost all English translations of the Bible are very similar – i.e., almost all of them state that Jesus’ followers will reign “on” , or “upon“, the earth. So, in almost every translation, it is obvious that the apostles will live on the earth during the millennium – not in heaven.

However, there are a few English translations of the Bible that render that verse a bit differently. For example, here is the Amplified Bible’s translation of Revelation 5:10:

Revelation 5:10 (AMP):

10 And You have made them a kingdom (royal race) and priests to our God, and they shall reign [as kings] over the earth!

That translation states that Jesus’ followers will reign “over” the earth. Some groups use that translation to state that Jesus’ followers will actually reside in heaven during the millennium. Basically, those groups assert that the phrase “reign over the earth” means that the followers must be located in heaven – so that the followers will literally be “over” the earth.

As it turns out, the English phrase “reign over” does not necessarily mean that the person in authority resides in some other location, than the place that he is ruling. For example, consider this: Queen Elizabeth II is currently reigning over England. Does that mean that she is living in some other location than England? No, of course not – she is living in England, while she is reigning over England.

Similarly, the few Bible translations which state that Jesus’ followers will reign over the earth do not necessarily mean that they will be located in some other place – i.e. they could live on the earth, while they reign over the earth. (This is especially true since almost all translations explicitly state that the followers will be located on the earth, during their reign.)

There are several other passages to consider about this question as well. First, consider this passage; which takes place immediately after Jesus ascended into heaven:

Acts 1:10-11 (NIV):

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

In the above passage, angels tell the apostles that Jesus will come back, in the same way that he left. This certainly implies that Jesus will return to the earth, at the beginning of the millennium. That, in turn, implies that Jesus (and his followers) will be located on the earth during the millennium.

Some people assert that the above passage does not mean that Jesus will return to the earth. Basically, some people state that Jesus will appear in the atmosphere above the earth – but he will not come “all the way back down” to the earth. So, is that assertion true? Is it really true that Jesus will not “set foot” on the earth, when he returns? To answer that, consider the following passage:

Zechariah 14:3-4 (ESV):

Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.

From the New Testament, we know that the above passage refers to the return of Jesus, at the beginning of the millennium. Of course, that passage is clear that Jesus will come “all the way back” to the earth – because “his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives”. Interestingly, Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives – and Acts 1:11 tells us that he will return the same way he left. So, it appears that when Jesus returns, the place that he will return to will be the Mount of Olives.

The final passage to consider is the following:

Luke 1:30-33 (ESV):

30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

That passage states that Jesus will “inherit” the throne of David’s kingdom. This a fulfillment of the prophesy in 2 Samuel 7:12-16, in which God tells David that one of his descendants will rule his kingdom, forever. In other words, Jesus is the descendant of which that prophesy spoke.

Of course, David’s kingdom consisted of land on the earth – with a king ruling the kingdom from Jerusalem. So, since Jesus will inherit David’s kingdom during the millennium, that implies that Jesus will reside on the earth during the millennium.

A summary of the above information is as follows:

– Almost all translations of Revelation 5:10 state that Jesus’ followers will reign “on”, or “upon”, the earth. That explicitly indicates that those followers will be located on the earth, during the millennium.

– Acts 1:11 and Zechariah 14:4 state that Jesus will literally return to the earth, at the beginning of the millennium – i.e., that Jesus will actually stand on the earth at that time.

– Luke 1:30-33 states that Jesus will inherit the kingdom of David, during the millennium – and that implies that Jesus will live in Jerusalem (i.e., on the earth) during the millennium.

So, all of the above information indicates to me that Jesus and the apostles will live on the earth during the millennium – rather than living in heaven.

 

Question 5: Will animal sacrifices take place during the millennium?

Another belief about the millennium deals with the subject of sacrifices – specifically, animal sacrifices. Basically, some groups believe that animal sacrifices will take place, during the millennium – within the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.

There is definitely Scriptural evidence that sacrifices will be re-established in the future. In particular, Ezekiel chapters 40-47 explicitly prophesy that sacrifices will be re-established in the future, in the rebuilt temple. Basically, chapters 40 through 43 describe the properties of the temple, itself; while chapters 44 through 46 describe the sacrifices that will take place in that temple.

All of the information in the above chapters is presented in painstaking detail – and as a result, it is very unlikely that that information is just “figurative” in nature. In other words, it certainly appears that the temple will be rebuilt; and that sacrifices will take place in it.

Of course, the re-establishment of sacrifices is rather difficult to “reconcile” with some of the passages in the New Testament. Basically, some of the statements in the New Testament appear to indicate that animal sacrifices have been completely abolished – so that they will never return. For example, consider this passage:

Hebrews 10:5-14 (ESV):

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

The above passage tells us that followers of Christ have been sanctified “once for all”, by the single sacrifice of Jesus. It also states that Jesus “does away” with animal sacrifices, in order to establish God’s will. As a result, that passage certainly seems to indicate that animal sacrifices will never take place, ever again.

So, there appears to be a “contradiction” here. Ezekiel 40-46 states that sacrifices will be re-established in the future – but Hebrews 10 appears to state that sacrifices have been abolished, never to return.

Of course, I do not believe that Scripture ever contradicts itself. So, what can we make of this apparent contradiction?

First of all, as indicated in part 1 of this article, sacrifices definitely will occur during  the tribulation period. Basically, Scripture indicates that sacrifices will take place in Jerusalem, during the first 3.5 years of the tribulation.

So, it is possible that Ezekiel 40-46 is actually referring to the sacrifices that will take place, during the first half of the tribulation? That seems rather unlikely. First of all, the temple and the sacrifices are described in great detail – so it doesn’t seem to “fit” that that temple will only be used for 3.5 years. Even more importantly, the prophesies in Ezekiel 40-48 indicate that the world is at peace, and is being healed – and of course the world will not be at peace during the tribulation period.

It appears to me that one of the “keys” to this issue is contained in verse 14 of Hebrews 10, above. That verse states: “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

Notice: that verse does not state that everyone has been perfected by Jesus’ sacrifice – it states that only “those who are being sanctified” have been so perfected. Presumably, this means that only followers of Christ have already been perfected by Jesus’ sacrifice.

Of course, as mentioned previously, millions upon millions of people have lived and died, without ever hearing about God and Jesus. So, evidently those people have not (yet) been perfected by Jesus’ sacrifice. In addition, those people have never even heard about God’s entire plan of salvation – and of course, God’s plan is contained in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

So, it appears to me that animal sacrifices may be made during the millennium, for the benefit of people who were not followers of Christ during this age – because those people will not yet be “covered” by Jesus’ sacrifice. Those animal sacrifices will also teach those people about the “foreshadowing” of animal sacrifices, to the sacrifice of Jesus.

This concept of bringing people to repentance, during the millennium, appears to harmonize with the “healing of the nations” concept mentioned in Ezekiel 47:12 – and in Revelation 22:1-2.

Of course, animal sacrifices definitely will not be appropriate for people who were followers of Christ during this age – because as mentioned above, Christians have already been “perfected” by the sacrifice of Jesus.

 

Question 6: Is the “die at 100 during the millennium” doctrine correct?

Another belief about the millennium deals with the lifespans of people during that time. Basically, some groups believe the following: during the millennium, unbelievers will have exactly 100 years to become followers of Jesus. If an unbeliever does become a Christian within that 100 years, then he will continue living past 100 years. However, if an unbeliever does not become a Christian during that time, then his life will come to an abrupt end on his 100th birthday.

The Scriptural passage that is normally used to support this belief is as follows:

Isaiah 65:19-20 (ESV):

19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.

Notice the very last line in that passage – “and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed”. With that translation, it might appear that the following is true:  “If a person reaches the age of 100, without accepting Christ, then he will be cursed – i.e., his life will end.”

However, take a look at some of the other translations of that last line:

NASB: And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed.

HCSB: and the one who misses a hundred years will be cursed.

ISV: and one who falls short of a hundred years will be considered accursed.

The above translations state the following: “If a person does not reach the age of 100, then people will think he is accursed.” In other words, those translations simply state that people’s normal lifespans will be extremely long during the millennium; and therefore, if a person dies before he reaches 100, then people will think he is accursed – because he died prematurely.

It appears to me that the above three translations are much closer to the truth. Throughout the Bible, many people have thought that all sorts of problems – premature death, infertility, physical deformities, etc – were curses from God, due to sin. Even the disciples had that mindset. Consider this passage:

John 9:1-2 (ESV):

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

So, it makes sense that during the millennium, if an individual dies before reaching 100, then many people will think that he was accursed.

Not only that, but the context of the above passage does not mention anything about following Christ. So, it appears to me that the belief of “accept Christ before your 100th birthday – or die” is not supported by the whole of Scripture.

 

Question 7: When will “ignorant” people be resurrected?

As mentioned in part 1 of this post, there are several different periods of time, in between this current age, and the age to come. In particular, Scripture refers to the following time periods:

– The “tribulation” period;

– The “millennium” period;

– The “short season” period

Also, as mentioned earlier, it appears that “ignorant” people – that is, people who never heard about God and Jesus, during this age – will be resurrected. This resurrection will allow those people to learn about God’s plan of salvation – and that, in turn, will give those people the opportunity to be saved.

So, the final question to consider is the following: when, exactly, will “ignorant” people be resurrected? In other words, during which of the above time periods will ignorant people be resurrected?

To my knowledge, there is one – and only one – passage in Scripture, which appears to address this question directly. That passage is the following:

Revelation 20:4-6 (ESV):

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

That passage primarily describes the followers of Christ coming to life at the beginning of the millennium – and then reigning with Jesus, during that 1000 year period. However, in the middle of that passage – almost as an “aside” – the following sentence appears: “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.”

At first glance, that sentence certainly appears to state the following: people who were not followers of Christ during this age will not be resurrected at all, until after the millennium is over. If that is the case, then of course “ignorant” people will not be resurrected during the millennium period.

However, there are some additional items to consider, about this overall issue. First of all, Scripture states that there are two types of life: “mortal” life, and “immortal” life. In addition, there are two types of bodies – “natural” bodies and “spiritual” bodies. Consider this passage:

1 Corinthians 15:42-44,53-55 (ESV):

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

Basically, during this age, people have mortal life. However, in the next age, followers of Christ will have immortal life. The reason why this is important is because Revelation 20 primarily speaks about the resurrection of followers of Christ. When followers of Christ are resurrected, they will immediately be granted immortal life. We know this because the above passage states that the second death has “no power” over them.

So, Revelation 20:4-6 is primarily speaking about followers of Christ being granted immortality. As a result, the last sentence in Revelation 20:4 could presumably be written this way:

They came to immortal life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Of course, people who were not followers of Christ during this age will not be granted immortality at that time. So, the first sentence of Revelation 20:5 could presumably be written as follows:

The rest of the dead did not come to immortal life until the thousand years were ended.

In other words, non-Christians will not be granted immortal life, until after the millennium. However, they still could be granted mortal life, during the millennium! In other words, “ignorant” people certainly could be resurrected to mortal life, during the millennium – without contradicting Revelation 20:5.

The reason why this is important is because there are only two periods of time, when ignorant people could be resurrected – the millennium period, and the “short season” period. Of course, Satan will be released during the short season – and he will evidently convince many, many people to oppose God and Jesus during that time.

So, if ignorant people are not resurrected during the millennium, then presumably they will be resurrected during the “short season”. That, in turn, means that all of the ignorant people would have to learn about God – and decide to follow Him – during the time that Satan has an enormous negative influence over mankind.

In other words, if ignorant people do not get resurrected until the short season, then it will be far more difficult for them to ever follow God, than it will be if they were resurrected during the millennium.

Of course, God wants everyone to be saved – i.e., He does not want anyone to perish. (See 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9.) As a result, from all of the above information, it appears to me that the following events will occur:

– At some point during the millennium, “ignorant” people will be resurrected to mortal life.

– Those people will then learn about God and Jesus; and will have the opportunity to follow God.

– During the short season, Satan will be released. Ignorant people will then need to maintain their faith in God, during that time.

– At the end of the short season, those people who did maintain their faith will be granted immortal life.

In any case, the most important point to note about this overall issue, is that ignorant people will have the opportunity to be saved, at some point in the future. In other words, ignorant people are not “doomed to destruction”, simply because they never heard about God during this age.

 

Conclusion

As mentioned in this post, there are many different beliefs about the exact events that will occur during the “end times”. In other words, the various Christian denominations all have their own views about those events. However, one belief really “stands out”. Basically, most Christian churches teach that Christians will be “raptured up to heaven”, before the tribulation period begins.

It seems to me that that belief is rather dangerous. This is because if a Christian has that belief, then he may become extremely distraught, if he finds himself enduring the tribulation years. In other words, he may think that God does not consider him to be a Christian – since he was not raptured up to heaven before the tribulation.

So, hopefully this post will be useful in stimulating discussion about the end times.

 

One Response to “Questions about Events in the “End Times” (Part 2)”

  1. on 26 May 2013 at 11:37 amJas

    Brian
    Very informative .
    Concerning the future Sacrifices your belief that the Elect will not offer animal sacrifices ignores the fact that in Ezekiel this is for restored Israel. Now by restored Israel I dont mean by blood but by Covenant . Evidently there will again be a necessity for a change like there was when Jesus became a Priest by the order of Melchizedek replacing the Covenant to Aaron which was faulty. The priesthood in the millennium will be by the order of Zadok. Also stating Rev 20 should read immortal life is denied by the fact that the verse speaking of dying 100 years old is speaking of future Israel not ignorant people. The people who will be deceived by satan when he is loosened will be the nations that continue after the start of the millennium who the elect will be priest to. These people will have the opportunity to enter the Covenants by accepting the Words of the Covenants and either being baptized by water or the blood of a sacrifice . The second resurrection will be all that never entered the Covenants and those who forsaked it . Of those who never entered the Covenants some may have never heard about it and the rest deceived into believing it was done away with but all will be shown the truth and be offered Jesus as their mediator but some will deny because of their own ego.

  

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