Thoughts on how eschatology affects soteriology.

squirrelyguy

Active member
I've been giving more thought lately to this question: why don't we Christians earnestly, sincerely pray every day that Christ would come back today? They did in the early church. Why don't we?

As for myself, I think I can probably speak for everyone else when I say that, in the back of my mind, there is the thought that if I pray for Christ to return today and He does, it will end all hope of salvation for most of those on earth right now including many people that I love.

Is this true of you as well? Do you hesitate to pray for Christ's immediate return because you are afraid it would end any hope of salvation for your loved ones?

What does this say about our theological assumptions regarding the return of Christ?

As you think on that, let me offer a framework that I've worked out which, if true, would offer a more encouraging view of Christ's return, and which would possibly even incentivize praying for His immediate return.

1. Let's suppose that almost* no one's eternal destiny is settled prior to the final judgment, which (per Revelation 20) happens after Christ has returned to earth for a thousand years.

2. Let's also suppose that part of the purpose of the millennial reign is to give everyone who has ever lived (or at least, many who have ever lived) and who did not repent during their initial lifetime a chance to repent and get right with God prior to the final judgment.

3. The first two points, if true, would paint a picture of an eschaton in which conditions on earth are more favorable than they have ever been for people to accept Christ and to be forgiven. In fact, it may be the overall purpose of the eschaton to offer a final chance for humanity to resolve themselves for or against the Lord's Christ.

Obviously there would be a lot of Scripture that needed hashing out in order to make this scheme plausible; I've done some work on this and I think I have a somewhat biblical case for what I've just described, but it is beyond the scope of this post to go into that kind of detail here (I know I've made other posts on CARM about those passages before). But I'll stop here and give everyone a chance to think on my original question and offer thoughts.

* My reason for saying "almost" no one is that the book of Revelation speaks of at least two individuals being condemned to the lake of fire at the beginning of the eschaton, and they are still there when the rest of condemned humanity is cast therein at the beginning of the eternal state. Also I think there are verses that hint there will be other such individuals cast into the lake of fire at the beginning of the eschaton. I call this group the "pre-damned", because whereas most of humanity does not have its final destination determined until the end of the eschaton, these individuals are damned prior to the eschaton. This group includes (according to my thinking) all unregenerate kings and rulers who have ever lived and who have ruled wickedly. I have Scriptural support for this, but I don't want to overwhelm this post by going into too much depth here.
 

Keraz

Active member
Good post SG.
My belief is that there will be no one who has not already accepted Jesus before He Returns, who will go with Him into the Millennium.
Also, as Satan will be unable to deceive anyone during the Millennium, that whole time will be a period of peace and prosperity and only after the thousand years is over, will be be again sin and rebellion. Which God will dispose of by fire from heaven.

We do pray; thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven..... But there is to be a tough time of testing and trials before Jesus Returns. 1 Peter 4:12
Do you know what it will be and what to do when it happens?
 

Yahchristian

Well-known member
Let's suppose that almost* no one's eternal destiny is settled prior to the final judgment, which (per Revelation 20) happens after Christ has returned to earth for a thousand years.

Or, let’s suppose...

Revelation 17:8... The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
 

squirrelyguy

Active member
Or, let’s suppose...

Revelation 17:8... The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
The book of life and its significance is not entirely clear from Revelation alone. Earlier in the book, Christ speaks of people whose names will not be blotted from the book of life (3:5). So is the mere fact that one's name is in the book of life mean that it can never be removed? And who is to say that one's name cannot be added? Does Paul's analogy of the olive tree in Romans 11 have any similarity to the book of life in Revelation? In that analogy, Paul speaks of people being cut off from the tree and grafted in again, which suggests both the possibility of being removed and added.
 

leonard03782

Well-known member
I've been giving more thought lately to this question: why don't we Christians earnestly, sincerely pray every day that Christ would come back today? They did in the early church. Why don't we?

As for myself, I think I can probably speak for everyone else when I say that, in the back of my mind, there is the thought that if I pray for Christ to return today and He does, it will end all hope of salvation for most of those on earth right now including many people that I love.

Is this true of you as well? Do you hesitate to pray for Christ's immediate return because you are afraid it would end any hope of salvation for your loved ones?

What does this say about our theological assumptions regarding the return of Christ?

As you think on that, let me offer a framework that I've worked out which, if true, would offer a more encouraging view of Christ's return, and which would possibly even incentivize praying for His immediate return.

1. Let's suppose that almost* no one's eternal destiny is settled prior to the final judgment, which (per Revelation 20) happens after Christ has returned to earth for a thousand years.
This depends on what you mean by "no one".
Hebrews 9:
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:


2. Let's also suppose that part of the purpose of the millennial reign is to give everyone who has ever lived (or at least, many who have ever lived) and who did not repent during their initial lifetime a chance to repent and get right with God prior to the final judgment.
This is a false assumption.

Revelation 20:
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

3. The first two points, if true, would paint a picture of an eschaton in which conditions on earth are more favorable than they have ever been for people to accept Christ and to be forgiven. In fact, it may be the overall purpose of the eschaton to offer a final chance for humanity to resolve themselves for or against the Lord's Christ.

Obviously there would be a lot of Scripture that needed hashing out in order to make this scheme plausible; I've done some work on this and I think I have a somewhat biblical case for what I've just described, but it is beyond the scope of this post to go into that kind of detail here (I know I've made other posts on CARM about those passages before). But I'll stop here and give everyone a chance to think on my original question and offer thoughts.
No. There would be a lot of Scripture that would need to rewritten.

* My reason for saying "almost" no one is that the book of Revelation speaks of at least two individuals being condemned to the lake of fire at the beginning of the eschaton, and they are still there when the rest of condemned humanity is cast therein at the beginning of the eternal state. Also I think there are verses that hint there will be other such individuals cast into the lake of fire at the beginning of the eschaton. I call this group the "pre-damned", because whereas most of humanity does not have its final destination determined until the end of the eschaton, these individuals are damned prior to the eschaton. This group includes (according to my thinking) all unregenerate kings and rulers who have ever lived and who have ruled wickedly. I have Scriptural support for this, but I don't want to overwhelm this post by going into too much depth here.
This is. IMHO, the only thing that you got right in this entire post. If you will notice, Hades and the lake of fire are two different places.

Revelation 20:
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
 

shnarkle

Well-known member
I've been giving more thought lately to this question: why don't we Christians earnestly, sincerely pray every day that Christ would come back today? They did in the early church. Why don't we?

As for myself, I think I can probably speak for everyone else when I say that, in the back of my mind, there is the thought that if I pray for Christ to return today and He does, it will end all hope of salvation for most of those on earth right now including many people that I love.
This suggests that some of those who could have been saved would be lost, yet scripture plainly points out that none will be lost.

Christ points out that it is not he who will judge, but instead his words will judge them. In other words, Christ imparts eternal life now, and those who are incapable of receiving it according to God's will have no chance. John 1:12,13; Romans 9:16 Judgement day will be quite anticlimactic by comparison. The problem is that people are oblivious to their fate. Although I think some do become aware. Jeremiah is a good example of someone who discovers the reality of the hopelessly wicked condition of the human heart. Anyone who is made aware of this revelation can do one of two things: repent in terror, or succumb.

When was the last time you heard of anyone saying anything more than a confession that they were less than perfect? This doesn't strike me as someone who has experienced a true revelation from God instigating or motivating them to repentance. As the bible says, "The whole world is deceived."
 
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