End Time Prophecies Of The Church
"But you, brethren, are not in darkness,
so that this Day should
overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the
day. We are not of night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep
as others do, but let us watch and be sober." 1st Thessalonians 5:4-6
Let us first of all define our terms:
The word church involves
a spiritual entity and a human organization.
The church that is visible to the eye of man is a
human organization. It may be a very simple or very complex human
organization, but in every case, a human organization. Generally,
the visible church is composed of a mix of true believers in Christ
and others who profess to believe in Christ, but have never been
born again by the Holy Spirit into God’s family. As a human
organization, the church is referred to more than one hundred times
in our New Testament.
The church as a spiritual entity is composed only
of true believers in Christ who have received a spiritual birth into
God’s family and have been baptized (or placed) into Christ’s
spiritual body by the Holy Spirit.(1st Corinthians 12:13).
There are certain phrases that refer to the
closing events of the church, Israel, and the unsaved Gentile world.
Some of these phrases are "the end", "the end of the age", "end
times’, "the time of the end", "the latter days", "the last times",
and "the latter years". The context or subject matter in which these
phrases appear determines their specific meaning.
We now consider some of the end time prophecies of the church:
Jesus Will Always Be Present With The Faithful Church
Just before Jesus
ascended back to heaven He made this promise to the 120 disciples
who would be the members of the first church, "Go therefore, and
make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe
all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20.
We gather from this that there will be faithful
churches that win souls to Christ, baptize them and teach them to
obey all that Christ has commanded. These churches can be confident
that Jesus will be in their midst right on down to the end of the
The Church Will Have Qualities of Good and Evil Present in the
Organized Church Throughout the Church Age.
In the 13th chapter of Matthew we have seven
parables (illustrations) spoken by Jesus concerning "mysteries of
the kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 13:11). He revealed there would be some
good things and bad things all the way to the end.
The Good Things.
Jesus said there would be the good seed which is
"the word of the kingdom". There will be good soil which are "the
sons of the kingdom" who "yield a crop" and "grain". The true Sower
is "the Son of Man", Jesus. (Matthew 13:37). There are also good fish
that are kept (Matthew 13:48).
The Bad Things.
There is also at work in the visible church "the
evil one" also called "the enemy" who is "the devil". There are "the
tares" (weeds that resemble wheat) who are "sons of the evil one".
There is "leaven", a corrupting influence and "bad fish" which are
At the end of the age, the angels will separate
the wicked from the righteous and cast them into a furnace of fire.
The Organized Churches Will Be In A Variety Of
Spiritual Conditions Until The End of The Age.
The entire book of
Revelation is a book of prophecy. It begins with these words "The
Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His
servants---things which must shortly take place…Blessed is he
who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those
things which are written in it; for the time is near."
Revelation 1:1 & 3.
THE CHURCH AGE
This means that the seven churches of Asia
discussed in the first three chapters are representative of the
organized church throughout the church age. Each has a message for
* 1. Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) Ephesus means "desired".
It is the betrothed bride of Christ that had left its first love by
the end of the apostolic period.
* 2. Smyrna (Revelation. 2:8-11) Smyrna means "myrrh" a
sweet fragrance produced by crushing the stem of the myrrh shrub. It
pictured the church purified by great persecutions from Domitian to
* 3. Pergamos (Revelation. 2:12-17) Pergamos means
"objectionable marriage". This took place in 313 A.D. when
Constantine declared the Roman Empire Christian. Pagan temples were
converted to "Christian churches" and the pagan idolaters were
outwardly converted to Christianity. Sadly, few hearts were changed
by saving faith in Christ. The church was married to pagan idolatry.
* 4. Thyatira (Revelation. 2:18-29) Thyatira means
"continual sacrifice". This church age emphasized "continual
sacrifice" instead of the "once for all"
sacrifice of Christ. It was characterized by the spiritual
fornication of worshipping the idols retained from the formerly
* 5. Sardis (Revelation. 3:1-6) Sardis means "remnant" or
"those who escaped". It is the
started out anew in the 14th and 15th centuries. Jesus said that it
gained the "name that you are alive, and you are dead."
* 6. Philadelphia (Revelation. 3:7-13) Philadelphia means
"brotherly love." It is the church before whom Jesus set "an open
door." Out of the dead church came a series of great revival
movements that launched the greatest missionary outreach in the
history of the church. This period continued from the late 1700's to
the present day.
* 7. Laodicea
(Revelation. 3:14-22) Laodicea means "people's rights". It describes
the majority of churches today that are organized to accomplish what the members want rather than
seeking the mind of Christ to accomplish what He wants. It is
neither hot nor cold and so Jesus spews it out of His mouth.
THE CHURCH NO
LONGER ON EARTH
After the revelation concerning the seven
churches, John saw "a door standing open in heaven, and the first
voice…saying, 'Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place
after this." Revelation 4:1. What follows is a description of
the seven future years of tribulation. Israel and unsaved Gentiles
are prominent in these chapters, but the church is not mentioned as
being on earth one time. Why? Because John is a picture of what
happens to the truly saved in the church at the end of the church
period. They are caught up to heaven.
Widespread Departure From The Faith
In The Organized Church
Tim La Haye and Jerry B. Jenkins ask the question,
"What would you think of an Episcopal bishop who loudly championed
the views that:
The resurrection of Christ was not a real event, but a legend.
There was no empty tomb, no angels, no appearances
No reasonable person could believe in the literal
interpretation of the Bible
The virgin of a literal Bible – the virgin of annunciation,
Bethlehem, and the manger –"will have to go"
The church should actively endorse and even celebrate
homosexual behavior, as well as heterosexual
liaisons outside of
And yet, these are the views fervently proclaimed by John
Shelby Spong, the Episcopal bishop of
Newark, New Jersey in
one of his
many controversial books. (Are We Living
In The Last Times? Page 68)
Should we be surprised? No. The apostle Paul wrote to his protégé, Timothy,
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some
will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and
doctrines of demons." (1st Timothy 4:1). Instead of having their minds
illumined to the truth of scripture by the Holy Spirit these false
teachers will be brainwashed in the lies of the Devil by demonic
spirits. There are great numbers of them throughout the organized
church right now.
In some of the last words Paul wrote, he
revealed that the reason there will be so many false teachers is
because they will teach what the unsaved within the church want to
hear. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound
doctrine; but according to their own desires, because they have
itching ears, they will
heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn away their ears from the truth, and
turned aside to fables." ( 2nd Timothy 4:3,4).
As the apostle Peter neared the time of his
death he also warned that false teachers would infiltrate the
organized church. "But there were also false prophets among the
people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who
will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the
Lord Who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their
destructive ways, because of
whom the way of truth will be blasphemed." (2nd Peter
Many prophetic Bible scholars believe that the
thrust of 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-3 along with verses 7-8 teach:
- that it is the truly saved within the organized church that
keeps the church from a total departure from the faith and
- the anti-Christ cannot be produced until the Holy Spirit
working through the truly saved is taken out of the way.
This makes good sense. When Jesus catches up
all Christians that will leave no one but unsaved professors in
the organized churches. They will quickly depart from the true
faith. In addition there will be no restraining influence
powerful enough to keep Satan from producing his false Christ.
The rampant departure in many quarters of
Christendom is a message that the coming of Jesus for His church
is drawing near.
Jesus Will Come To Catch Up All True Believers of
the Church Age
"For this we say to you by the word of
the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the
Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord
Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an
archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ will
rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up
together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and
thus we shall always be with the Lord." (1st
In that moment, "...the twinkling of an eye"
as Paul puts it in 1st Corinthians 15:51,52, all
Christians living or dead will be transformed from mortal and
corruptible to immortal and incorruptible. They will be snatched up
from their graves and from wherever they are living to meet Jesus in
the sky. The living will experience reunion with saints who have
gone before that will never be broken by death. All sorrows will be
past and, as the songwriter wrote, "It will be worth it all when
we see Christ." Every Christian will receive their eternal
rewards and in a glorious and victorious procession enter in to "the
Father’s house" to the marriage supper of the Lamb and His bride,
Don’t you want to be in that number when the
saints go marching in!
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.