Copyright Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. 1992



It is recommended that the reader take the test found in appendix one to see where they are in their knowledge of the future. This will give you some idea of how you are in your eschatological prowess.

This section is designed to give the reader a quick over view of all that we will be looking at as we move through the study.

Don't get worried if you become a little overwhelmed or confused in this section. You can come back to this section as you read the other topical studies and refresh yourself concerning the topic and where it belongs in the big picture.

We will cover items of interest in chronological order beginning with God before He created.


Before there was time, Lucifer, man, earth or anything else the Trinity conceived of a plan to bring glory to themselves. The plan was complete in its totality. This is important to the position that will be presented. It becomes important when Christ comes to earth as the Messiah of the Old Testament and was rejected by His people the Jews. Some view the events that follow the cross as something new and unique. This study will submit a position that states the church is a continuation of God's continuing program and not a new program.

I will submit to you that it was not a new program, but rather a continuation of that original plan that was set by the Trinity in eternity past. The church was an integrated part of that plan from the beginning.


At a point in eternity past, God specified that creation would occur. He created through the Son and by the power of the Spirit. Creation began with the angels and beings of the heavenly scene. Lucifer and his followers fell in this period before the creation of the heavens.


God created heaven and earth for the next step in His overall program. On the earth He placed Adam and Eve who soon after their creation fell into sin. The sin separated them from their creator.

Over time God worked with different men and women. These people followed the revelation that they had from God and found favor with God through a sacrificial system that is depicted in the early part of the book of Genesis and later in the law.


God made a covenant with a man by the name of Abraham and made several promises to him. These promises were not conditional on Abraham's obedience. Abraham followed God's program through his life by faith in what God had told him. Abraham was the basis upon which God built the people of Israel. Israel was blessed through their father Abraham until the nation turned against Him in the time of the kings.


After many years of God dealing with His through the priestly system and leaders like Moses and Joshua, the Jewish people decided they needed a king to rule over them. This was because everyone else was doing it. All the nations around them had rulers so they decided they must have one also. God allowed Saul to be named king over Israel.


Saul's successor was David. David was not a prime example of purity in his life, yet he pleased God. God blessed David's ministry to His people.


David's son became king and ruled for many years. Under his reign the people become dissatisfied and ultimately his two sons became the kings of the divided kingdom. The ten tribes of the north went their direction, and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin went theirs.

The two peoples had a series of kings that ultimately brought the peoples to destruction. The northern tribes were taken captive by the Assyrians and the southern tribes fell into the hands of the Babylonians later.


Prior to the fall of these two peoples God sent messengers to His people to warn them of coming tragedies if they did not change their ways. He gave them fair warning to turn back to Godly ways or reap the consequences. These men preached their message until the fall of the peoples. Even after the captivities God chose to speak to his people through prophets.

Throughout the Old Testament the thought of a savior or Messiah is given. These prophets proclaimed the Messiah and the kingdom that He would set up here on earth. That kingdom was the desire of the Jewish people.


When we move into the New Testament John the Baptist is on the scene preaching repentance for the kingdom of heaven is near. The kingdom that he was preaching about was that Old Testament kingdom that the Jews were awaiting for.

Christ began preaching the same kingdom when He started His ministry. The message was not acceptable to the Jews and as a result they rejected their Messiah.


Ultimately the Jews killed Christ on the cross. This was not a mistake or a glitch in the plan of God, but rather something that the Trinity had planned beforehand. Some theologians suggest that the fall of man was a surprise party for God and that He dreamed up the plan of salvation to salvage something from His creation. This is not true in any manner. All that has gone on in time is according to the plan that was set before the foundation of the world.


In the Old Testament period when a person died they were transported to the place of departed spirits, called Sheol.

This place is mentioned and defined in Luke sixteen in the account of the rich man and Lazarus. In short it was a two compartment area with a great chasm between that no one can cross. There has been much confusion as to why this place of departed spirits existed. Why would God send the saints there and then transfer them to heaven? What is the place for? Is this hell?

It seems that the best explanation of all this is that before the cross there could be no regeneration, thus no salvation as such. Yes, the Old Testament saints could please God by faith. Yes, they were eternally saved, however the provision was not made as yet. In God's eyes they would be in eternity with Him, yet there was the need of the death of Christ to make the provision. At the time of the cross all departed spirits were in Sheol. The lost were in the side of torments and the saved were in the side with Abraham. This place was temporary for the righteous until their salvation could be completed by Christ.

This was accomplished through His death on the cross for their sin. The Old Testament saints sins were covered so there was fellowship with God, but they needed Christ's blood to cleanse those sins.

After Christ died, He ascended to the heavenly tabernacle, according to Hebrews, and offered His blood once for all. He then proceeded to Sheol to empty it of the believing saints, to take them to be with the Father until the culmination of time.

At the time of the Great White Throne judgment the departed lost in Sheol will be brought forth to face their judgment and then they well be cast into the lake of fire for eternity. (Rev 20:11-15)


The church is God's people in this age or dispensation. We are not something new and special, we are just a continuation of God's program and kingdom. The church is the gathering of all of God's people in this age, as Israel was God's people in the age of the Law.


At the end of the church age the Lord will remove His people from the world and prepare the earth and Israel for the final stages of prophecy, the tribulation and the events that will follow.


The tribulation is a seven year period of great destruction and judgment upon the earth and the lost. During the tribulation Israel will turn to God nationally ending the great separation between God and His nation. The tribulation will be a time of preparation for the kingdom which is the next event in God's timetable.


At the end of the tribulation the Old Testament and Tribulation saints will be raised from the dead, and will enter the Millennial kingdom.


The saints of the kingdom will live for one thousand years with Christ ruling on the throne of David in Jerusalem. During the kingdom the Lord will rule the entire earth, and Satan will be bound. There will be peace in the kingdom until near the end, when Satan is released and will gather his forces for one final rebellion.


The final preeternity act of God concerning his creation will be the Great White Throne. This will be the time when all the lost will appear before God for their final judgment.


The lake of fire is the final abode for all the lost, the Devil and all of his coworkers. This is not a time when they are destroyed, as in annihilation. They will be in eternal permanent torment which will not have end.


Eternal life, or eternal existence with the Trinity is the future of the believer. This existence will take place in the abode that He has prepared for the believers.

The overview that we have just had is called the pretribulational view of eschatolgy. We need to look at some terms that will become commonplace in our discussion.


Pretribulationalism teaches that the church will be raptured or taken out of the world before the tribulation. There is no reason for God to allow His people to go through a time of judgment so will remove them to the heavenlies. During this time the judgment seat of Christ will take place. This is when the believers works not their souls will be judged. The marriage feast of the Lamb will probably take place at this time, though we have no text which really tells us this. Some feel that the marriage feast would fit well in the Millennial kingdom when the Old Testament saints are present, and others place it at the beginning of eternity when all the lost are taken care of and all believers are eternally with their Lord.

Where you place this occasion depends on your view of who the bride it. Most theologians follow the traditional thought that the bride is the church, while a few theologians suggest that the bride is Israel. Does that suggest a good topic of study for you? I trust that some of these suggested topics of study will tweek your interest and that you will dive into these areas as you have time.


This teaching holds that the church will go through part of the tribulation sees the church raptured at the middle of the tribulation, just before the Great Tribulation begins. There is indication that the first half of the tribulation will be bad, but the last half will be Great. The Great tribulation will be much worse than the first half.

There is a similar teaching called partial rapture which sees the righteous believers taken out before the tribulation, however the not so righteous are left to go through part of the tribulation for purification. Those purified are either taken out all at once during the tribulation, or they are removed individually as their time of purification ends.


Some feel that the church will go through the entire tribulation and will be raptured out at the end.


The next item to consider is the teaching that we have given in this brief overview. Premillennialism teaches that the rapture and tribulation are before the Millennial kingdom.


Postmillennialism would teach that the rapture and/or the tribulation will occur after the Millennial kingdom.


Ammillennialism teaches there is nor literal, real 1000 year kingdom. This teaching holds there is either no kingdom at all, or that the kingdom is going on at this time. The Devil is bound in this age and this age is not confined to a specific

time limit.


Those holding to covenant theology believe that God has and will operate with man through the Old Testament covenants. The covenants were set, and we are still under them. Sometime in the future the Lord will tie all things together.

People holding to this position mix all the teachings and promises of Scripture and apply them to believers in this age. In other words there is no difference between Israel and the church. All believers of all times are the same, and the promise to one is the promise to all.


The method of interpreting Scripture that is called allegorical sees all of Scripture as a series of information that really has no valid meaning as it is, but we must look into the "real" message of the passage. The Scripture text itself is only a vehicle to carry the real message of God. Nothing in Scripture can be taken for face, literal value. You must find the spiritual meaning. Some view a text in more than one level of information. The recorded level which was for the man that recorded it and then there is the level that has the "real" spiritual message for us.


The other method of interpretation is called literal because that is how you interpret. The passage means what it means in plain, easy, literal reading. There is no "hidden" or "spiritual" message behind the literal message. We will look into interpretation as we go along in the study.


Kingdom theology is a newer system of thought which appears in many different forms. The common thread of these new lines of thinking is that the church has the responsibility for getting the world back into a condition that would be conducive to the Lord's return. In short, Christ cannot come back until we get a specific job done.

This thinking is seen in some of the modern missions efforts. The thought of reaching the world by a certain date is based on the need to evangelize the world so the Lord can return.


The system of eschatology that is opposite to Covenant Theology is dispensationalism. Dispensationalism sees a difference between Israel and the Church. The premillennialist will be a dispensationalist.

Dispensationalism teaches that God deals with man in different ways in different periods of time. We will look into this teaching in more detail later, however to prove that God deals differently in different periods of time is seen in the fact that the Old Testament saint was required to bring animal sacrifices for his sin, while we in the church age only have to confess and repent.

The dispensationalist will not apply the promises given to Israel to the church age saint. This system comes out of the literal interpretation of Scripture.

In thinking of many of these terms a list might help to solidify things in your mind. Normally if the person is premillennialist he will be those things listed below, and if a person is an ammillennialist he will be those things listed below that position.



We trust that this overview will be helpful in placing the following studies into some perspective. It is similar to writing. If you have an outline to follow you know where you have been and where you are going. The information coming in can be placed where it belongs in time.

Reviewing this overview from time to time might be helpful for the newcomer to eschatology. It also might help the old timer to review what he has forgotten.