Like many other Christians, Baptists are often fascinated with biblical prophecies of the end of the world. While Baptists are far from monolithic in their understanding of the end times, the majority of Baptists do hold to a common view. This view, known as dispensationalism, paints a portrait of the end of the world that involves apocalyptic battles, oceans filled with blood and the final destruction of the Antichrist.
Most Baptists believe that Jesus Christ will return one day. When he does, dead Christians will all rise from the grave and meet Jesus in the sky. Following this, living believers will also be caught up, or “raptured,” and be taken to heaven with Jesus. They believe this rapture could occur at any moment, and that it will come with no warning. The Bible passages cited to support this view include first Thessalonians chapter 5 and Matthew chapter 24.
Baptists who believe in dispensationalism pull their beliefs from a specific understanding of the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation. They believe that the events described in the book of Revelation are all yet to occur, and that a portion of Daniel’s prophecies correspond to a portion of the end times known as the tribulation: this age will end in a 7-year tribulation, during which the Antichrist will come to power and rule the world; those who refuse to bow to the Antichrist will be violently persecuted and eventually slaughtered.
The Second Coming
Jesus Christ’s second coming is a distinct event from the rapture of the church, according to most Baptists. At the end of the 7-year tribulation period, Jesus will return to Earth with the armies of heaven, and destroy the Antichrist and what’s left of wicked humanity in the battle of Armageddon. After this, Jesus Christ will judge all humanity, both the living and the dead.
In the prevailing Baptist view of the end times, the rapture, tribulation and second coming all occur prior to the millennium. The millennium is a literal 1,000-year period during which Christ reigns as king on Earth. This will be a time of peace and prosperity for all believers. At the end of the millennium, time will cease and believers will go to heaven to live with God forever. Baptists base these beliefs on passages in the Gospels that refer to the “kingdom of God,” as well as a single passage in Revelation chapter 20 that describes a 1,000-year period during which Satan is bound.
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