Learn tools and techniques you can use in any Biblical study and then explore the History of Israel. Use what you learn to analyze Old Testament prophecies and apocalyptic writings - all in preparation for comparing accounts of what Jesus told His disciples on the Mount of Olives and for analyzing the Revelation given to John. Round out your experience with in-depth studies of end-times players such as the Antichrist and the 144,000 'redeemed from the earth'. Finally, explore in great detail the major rapture positions and challenges presented by each.
The guide provides an apocalyptic sanity check that's timely in light of recent global events and extreme interest in the topic of the end of the world. Ron Braley's goal is to help the reader gain a thorough and eye-opening understanding of end-times events. Without being force-fed a particular end-times view, they'll be bathed in everything the Bible, history, and prophecy have to say about the end of our world as we know it. No end-times Scripture is left out, no topic avoided.
• How to study Scripture effectively.
• Overview of the history of Israel.
• Good guys: 144,000, martyrs, the 2 witnesses, and the bride of Christ.
• Bad guys: Antichrist, the False Prophet, false teachers and false messiahs.
• Overview of Old Testament end-times prophecies from Daniel, Ezekiel, and others.
• Detailed look at everything Jesus said about the end of the world and His return including the Revelation to John.
• Comparison of all popular end-times views and rapture doctrines.
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Read an Excerpt
Our world as we know it will end suddenly one day. But God's incredibly destructive wrath and a gathering of those faithful to Christ will come first. You and I will be in one of two groups if this happens in our lifetime: those gathered before the destruction begins, or the rest who'll suffer the wrath of God and eternal torment. No other options exist. Following a misguided church tradition and believing in false doctrine can cause a lack of faith based on a misunderstanding of the gospel, placing one in the latter group. Also, being ignorant of what God has already told us about the end of time by not exposing ourselves to gospel teaching about it can result in the same outcome.
The objective of this study is to help you avoid the destruction and torment mentioned above by accomplishing several goals:
Guide you through as much Scripture as possible dealing with Christ's return so that you can make your own informed decision about what it teaches.
Offer insight into existing end-times theories to examine where they may get it right or wrong.
Teach you how to study Scripture so that you'll have a basic foundation for reading and studying it on your own.
Additional rewards I hope you'll gain from going through this study:
Increased knowledge of Christ's return. This will reduce confusion and help keep you from being vulnerable to false doctrine.
Motivation to become a spiritual leader in your home or community.
Able to study God's Word more effectively.
Stronger faith through learning the gospel.
While I don't intend to push a particular end-times view, the circumstances surrounding Christ's return - and certainly His actual coming - will become clearer and relatively easy to understand. Of course, whether this happens as advertised will depend on your approach to studying the topic and related Scripture. If you're like I was in my earlier spiritual journey, you may have already adopted your church's end-times doctrine (probably without question). In my experience, a pre-tribulation rapture position seems to be most prevalent - at least with evangelical churches in the United States. This is what I believed. Again, it's what my church doctrine reflected. My desire is to share with you my subsequent discoveries in the Scripture, and to provide you with the tools to do your own study and build your own faith.
Why am I so passionate about this topic? Until 1998, I was a statistic - one of 95% of Christians who don't read God's Word on a regular basis. Most of my biblical knowledge had come only from others. I was playing scriptural "Russian roulette," taking what some pastors and a few other well-meaning souls said as "gospel" in regards to end-times events. This was a great mistake and very dangerous. Why? What I learned later through my own study of Scripture was that much of what I believed concerning the end times resulted from misinterpretations, misunderstandings, personal or hidden agendas, or incomplete Scripture references taken out of context. But what did I know? I had no idea of what I didn't know, so I was very content.
There's danger in being scripturally illiterate. The Bible makes it very clear that our faith is strengthened from hearing the gospel, which is the good news of Jesus Christ's accomplishments in His first coming and the promise of His second coming. However, if what we know or believe is contrary to it, then our faith can be false or nonexistent. According to Scripture, we know there'll be a falling away from the faith and great deception of believers in the last days (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1, for instance). The lack of faith - or a faulty foundation built on false teaching - will open the door to allow this to happen. Conversely, I strongly believe that those who study Scripture and history carefully, while asking for God's Holy Spirit to give them wisdom, will have a strong faith and won't easily be tricked or confused.
So there I was in 1998 - full of bliss and of little faith until I started studying God's Word after being challenged by a friend. In this particular case, he revealed my misunderstandings about Christ's return, which was based on partial verses such as "Pray to be found worthy to escape," or "Jesus will come back like a thief." Angered at first (no one likes being wrong!) I told him I'd prove the end-of-the-world theory I believed. After all, there had to be a good reason why so many people believed as I did.
After about 90 days of extensive Internet research, bugging pastors about why they believed what they believed, and sporadic Bible searches, I had to go back to my friend empty-handed and admit there was a problem and that I needed to become more knowledgeable. This humbling experience changed my life forever. I became the spiritual leader in my home and began daily devotions with my family. I also began building and strengthening my faith through regular study of God's Word and was relentless in my pursuit of the truth regarding Christ's return.
During this time, I found that no one could (or would) present a valid defense of their end-times belief based upon Scripture. Out of frustration, some people (including pastors) would say, "It doesn't matter what you believe about the rapture anyway as long as you're saved." I accepted this at first. However, I understood it to be a false sentiment after learning more about the signs surrounding Christ's return to earth and the subsequent gathering.
God's Word teaches us there'll be a falling away from the faith and a great deception of believers in the last days. We're also taught that the "chosen of God" will undergo persecution and possibly death during a period of extreme trouble. If you're having difficulty with these ideas, I encourage you to be patient and follow along in this study. I believe you'll come to the same conclusion despite what you think you may already know about "the falling away," "the great deception," "the time of extreme trouble," "the rapture," or "the chosen of God." And even if you don't, you'll have the personal satisfaction of knowing you studied it for yourself and came to your own conclusions.
Passionate about teaching others to read and understand Scripture and learn the truth about many false church teachings (like several current end-times theories), I created a pamphlet, which turned into a larger document, which then turned into an Internet study, which . . . well, you get the idea. This project has grown considerably and been met with open arms by people just like me who for many years were ignorant of God's Word and had little faith. Since 1998, I've devoted well over 3,000 hours to researching, reading about, writing, thinking about, discussing, and teaching this very important topic. It's my pleasure to share the results with you.
Here's a brief overview of what we'll study together:
End-of-the-age prophecies : Preview of what the Bible has to say about the end of our world as we know it.
How to study Scripture : Important preparation for your study! Yes, there's more to understanding God's Word than just reading it.
History of the Jews: From the time of Abraham to the present. It also includes the end-of-the world visions of prophets like Daniel and Ezekiel.
End-times terminology: Common end-of-the-age terms and supporting Scripture.
The big picture: Beginning with a review of prophecy and a look at what Jesus, Peter, and Paul had to say about this subject. You'll also do an in-depth study of the Revelation given to John by Jesus.
End-times theories : Insight into existing views related to Christ's return.
Please review the Study Plan in APPENDIX A if you're interested in establishing an individual structured plan or if you'll be leading a group study. You're welcome, and encouraged, to take all the time you need to go through the course comfortably - the plan and templates are only loose guidelines and certainly not binding. Head to the Introduction afterward for basic tips that will help you make the most of your end-of-the-world education.
My sincere wish is that your life (and that of others around you) will be forever changed in a positive way, just as mine was, after going through this study.
With heartfelt gratitude and best wishes,
Table of Contents
PART ONE: Setting the Stage
Chapter One - Why Worry About This?
Chapter Two - A Glimpse of the End
PART TWO: Faith & Foundation - How to Study Effectively
Chapter Three - Faith - Truth or Consequences
Chapter Four - How to Study...or Not!
Sentence Structure & Grammar
Interpretive Concepts & Tools
PART THREE: The Cast, Crew, & Props
Chapter Five - Brief History of Israel & the Temple of God
Birth of a Nation
Egypt, the Exodus, & Beyond
Roman Rule & Dispersion
Chapter Six - Key End-times Players
Remnant of Israel
144,000 from the 12 Tribes of Israel
Chapter Seven - The Elect Bride
The Elect: Wheat, Woman, & Offspring
Chapter Eight -Satan & the Antichrist
The Dragon - Satan
Rise to Power
Covenant of Death
Term of Office
Sealing Followers - the Mark
Tribulation & Beheading
War to End All Wars
Chapter Nine -Babylon: Past, Present, & Future
Babylon - the Harlot
Babylon - the Great City
Chapter Ten - Deceivers
PART FOUR: Revelation & Insight
Chapter Eleven - Introduction to the Apocalypse
Chapter Twelve - Daniel's Visions & Interpretations
Part I: Chapters 2 & 4
Part II: Chapters 7 & 8
Part III: Chapters 9, 11, & 12
Chapter Thirteen - Other Old Testament Prophets
Chapter Fourteen - Mounting Suspense
Part I: Mount of Olives Discourse
Part II: Introduction to the Revelation
Chapter Fifteen - Peter & Paul Weigh In
Chapter Sixteen - The Unveiling
Part I: Revelation 1-4
Part II: Revelation 5- 8:1
Part III: Revelation 8:2-10
Part IV: Revelation 11-13
Part V: Revelation 14-16
Part VI: Revelation 17-19
Part VII: Revelation 20-22
PART FIVE: Putting It all Together
Chapter Seventeen - Exploring End-times Positions
The Millennial Reign - Fact or Fiction
The Timing of Christ's Second Coming
Appearing Versus Coming
Chapter Eighteen - Review & Conclusion
APPENDIX A: Study Plan & Templates
APPENDIX B: End of the Age Definitions & References
Age (World) - End of
Bride of Christ
Christ's Appearing (Epiphaneia)
Christ's Coming (Parousia)
Covenant of Death
Daniel's 70th Week (of Years)
Darkening of the Sun, Moon, & Stars
Day of Christ / Jesus / the Lord Jesus / Redemption
Day of the Lord / Day of God
Day Equals 1,000 Years
Fall Feasts of the Lord
Gospel Preached (to all Nations)
Great Judgment, The
Great Tribulation, The
New Heaven & Earth
One-Hundred-Forty-four Thousand (144,000)
One-Thousand-Year Reign of Christ
Remnant of Israel
Seals 4 & 5
Temple (of God)
Three-and-a-Half Years: Time, Times, and Half a Time
Three-and-a-Half Years: 1,260 Days
Three-and-a-Half Years: 42 Months
APPENDIX C: Bibliography
APPENDIX D: Answers to Checkup Questions
APPENDIX E: Notes