ARMAGEDDON – Another word that is referenced a lot in modern discussions of the end times, but occurs only once in the Bible (Revelation 16:16) is Armageddon. It refers to the place where the last great battle of the ages will take place and has become synonymous with the end of the world. The battle will coincide with the second coming of Christ (Revelation 16:15), when all the hosts of evil will be defeated (Revelation 19:11–21). (1)
MILLENNIUM – The word millennium is derived from the Latin words mille meaning a thousand, and annus meaning year, i.e., a period of one thousand years. Although the concept of the millennium has its foundation in certain unconditional covenants from the Old Testament, Revelation 20:4–6 specifically and unmistakably mentions that Christ will reign on earth for a thousand years. (2) There are three primary views on the millennium.
Premillenial View – Christ will return to the earth before the millennium to destroy and bind evil forces. Immediately after this He will reign for a thousand years on earth. That period will end with the loosening and rebellion by Satan. This will culminate in a final but brief war followed by a great judgment, and the beginning of the future age.
Postmillennial View – The thousand-year period will be a time characterized by a great spreading of the Gospel that will eventually result in peace and that culminate with the second coming of Christ.
Amillenial View – The thousand-year reign is not a literal period of time. It is the period now taking place symbolically as Christ reigns during the church age. (3)
THE LAST JUDGMENT – The scriptures actually speaks of two separate and distinct end times’ judgments.
First: The Judgment Seat of Christ (For Believers Only) – All Christians will “give an account” at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:12). At this time, God “will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart” (1 Corinthians 4:5). Believers will be rewarded for the things they have done in their earthly lives, the good, the bad and the ugly, and “fire will test the quality of each person’s work” (1 Corinthians 3:15). Loss of salvation is not the issue here. A believer’s eternal destiny (Heaven) will not be determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ, because salvation is forever secured when one places their faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9). However good deeds, which should be a result of our faith in Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:3), will be evaluated for rewards or loss of rewards (see Figure 1.7). (4)
Second: Great White Throne Judgment (For Non-Believers Only) – Non-believers will be evaluated at the Great White Throne Judgment. Death and Hades will give up the bodies and souls of the unredeemed dead and they will receive their judgment along with the lost that are still alive at the end. It is called great because all of the lost sinners of history (small and great, rich and poor, living and dead) will stand before the throne of God. It is called white because it represents the unchanging holiness of God against which all will be measured. It has been said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. In reality, neither good intentions nor actual good works are sufficient to pave the way to Heaven. In the end, even power, prestige and privilege will be pointless before The Judge (Jesus Christ) sitting on the throne (John 5:22–23). There will be no place for the lost sinner to hide and no place to escape (Hebrews 9:27).
Various books will be opened as judgment unfolds. But what are these books?
The Bible – This book will undoubtedly be there (John 12:48). The very Word that sinners hear and reject today will come back to haunt and condemn them on the last day.
The Book of Life – This book, which contains the names of the saints, will also be opened. If a person’s name is not found in the Book of Life, he or she will be cast into hell (Revelation 20:15).
A Book of Deeds – A record of all that people did, good and bad, while living will be reviewed. God, the Righteous Judge, keeps an exacting record of deeds and will judge each one justly. Hell will have degrees of punishment in the same way that heaven has degrees of reward (Matthew 11:20–24). Good works cannot save a sinner, but God will judge the works of each lost person fairly, sentencing them to a just punishment in hell. There will be no opportunity for sinners to plead their case. God will pronounce every lost sinner condemned. There is no higher authority to appeal. All those who share in the second resurrection must face the second death—eternal hell. (5)
Next Up – Dispensation.
- Elwell, W. A., & Elwell, W. A. (1996). In Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
- Enns, P. P. (1989). The Moody handbook of theology (p. 641). Chicago, IL: Moody Press.
- Hood, R. V. (2012, 2013, 2014). Revelation, Book of, Critical Issues. In J. D. Barry, L. Wentz, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair-Wolcott, R. Klippenstein, D. Bomar, … D. R. Brown (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- Lowery, D. K. (1985). 2 Corinthians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 566). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
- Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (pp. 854–855). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.