C.S. Lewis once wrote in his book The Problem of Pain this,

We are very shy nowadays of even mentioning Heaven. We are afraid of the jeer about “pie in the sky,” and of being told that we are trying to “escape from the duty of making a happy world here and now into dreams of a happy world elsewhere.” But either there is “pie in the sky” or there is not. If there is not, then Christianity is false, for this doctrine is woven into its whole fabric. If there is, then this truth, like any other, must be faced, whether it is useful at political meetings or no.

The Scripture is clear that for the believer heaven  is our hope (Philippians 3:20-21). Further thinking of the end times and the coming of our king ought to be our motivation in this life (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). In this post we will work our way in outlining the events of the end time from a dispensational view point.

An Overview of the End Times Events

The Rapture

The coming of Christ for His church meeting her in the sky. The church (living and dead) is raptured to meet the Lord in the air either at the beginning (pre-tribulation view) of the seven years of tribulation; tribulation saints and Old Testament dead will be raised at the end of the tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; John 14:1-3; Revelation 3:10).

For a biblical evidences for a pre-tribulational rapture see this article by Mike Vlach. Mike Vlach is a professor at the Master’s Seminary in California.

The Judgement seat of Christ: (Greek, bema)

In heaven the saints of the church age are being judged (rewarded) for their service to Christ during their time on earth (Romans 14:10-11; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10; 1 John 2:28; Revelation 3:11-12).

For a biblical treatment of the judgment seat of Christ look up this article by R. Bruce Compton professor of biblical languages and exposition at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.

The Tribulation

Earth will experience tribulation that has never experienced before.  A seven-year period (the 70th week of Dan 9:25-27) containing the reign of the Anti-Christ just prior to the millennium; restoration of Jews to Israel, conversion of the remnant of Israel, temple rebuilt, priesthood, sacrifices restored.

A Gap of 45 Days Period

This time window (Daniel 12:11-12) when the Old Testament saints will be raised from the dead (Daniel 12:1-3).

Millennium – A thousand years

Christ will return at the end of the tribulation to institute a 1000 year rule from a holy city (the New Jerusalem); those who come to believe in Christ during the tribulation (including the 144,000 Jews) and survive will go on to populate the earth during this time; those who were raptured or raised previous to the tribulation period will reign with Christ over the millennial population (Isaiah 11:4; Jeremiah 3:17; Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 20:2-7).

For a short defense of the pre-millennium position, i.e. the coming of Christ before the beginning of the millennium see this article.

for a longer and comprehensive defense of the pre-millennium position see article by Walter C. Kaiser Jr. “What’s So Important About Pre-Millennialism?”

Post Millennium

Satan, bound during Christ’s earthly reign, will be loosed to deceive the nations, gather an army of the deceived, and take up to battle against the Lord; the battle will end in the judgment of the wicked and Satan, followed by entrance into the eternal state of glory by the righteous (Revelation 20:7-10).

Eternal State

The Great White Throne

This time the Lord will judge the wicked according to their works (Revelation 20:11-15). All those who refused to believe in the Lord Jesus and trust in Him as their Savior they will be thrown into the eternal fire.

New Heaven and New Earth

The dwelling place of the righteous who is saved by faith in the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Revelation 21, 22).

Major proponents: John Whitecomb, John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Louis Sperry Chafer, J. Dwight Pentecost, Norman Geisler, Charles Stanley, Chuck Smith, and Chuck Missler.

For a visual chart of the events of the end times look at this chart.

In order to listen to John MacArthur explains what is dispensationalism and end times.

Dispensationalism – Part 1 (Bible Q&A)

Dispensationalism – Part 2 (Bible Q&A)

Q&A on Heaven and the Rapture (John MacArthur)