To fully answer these questions, we must review the sequence of end time events as written about in the Bible and how they affect both believers and non-believers. Though Biblical scholars differ in their understanding of these complex issues, they agree in their understanding of the effects on these events on those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
We are now in what is called the Church Age which began following Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection and the subsequent arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This Church Age will continue until what is called the rapture, when we believers and all deceased believers in Jesus Christ will be “taken up” from the earth and be forever with Christ. As to your question ‘When’, it would appear we are getting closer and closer to this event. As mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 and elsewhere in scripture, “…. sin will abound and man will deny and even mock Christ at this time.”
Then a period of time known as the Tribulation will begin and last for seven years. During this period, there will be massive devastation and loss of life and there will be a world leader known as the Antichrist sitting on a throne in Jerusalem. It is described in the Book of Revelation.
Immediately following, a period known as the Millennium, i.e. 1000 years, will begin. It will be ruled by Christ and we as believers will be with Him as leaders. There will be also present those Jews and others who accepted our Savior during the Tribulation. This is generally referred to as the Millennial reign of Christ.
Following this period comes the final White Throne Judgement by Jesus described in the Revelation to John at the end of the Bible. That ushers in the eternal dwelling for believers in the new Heaven and eternal separation from God (hell) for the non-believers.
While the exact sequence of the events I have just described may be debated, the important thing for you is ‘where will you be? Have you made your life’s commitment to Jesus?
ETERNITY IS A LONG LONG LONG TIME
The ‘Rapture’ event is mentioned very specifically and in much detail and is referenced in multiple passages in the Bible including these:
According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
I Thessalonians 4: 15-17 (NIV)
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
I Corinthians 15: 51-52 (NIV)
These tell us, that is all believers in Jesus Christ, not the rest of the world, will be ‘caught up’, and be changed suddenly and then be with the Lord. Also included are all the dead who have trusted in Him. We don’t know when this will be as God stated it is a ‘Mystery’.
What is vital for us to know is YES IT IS COMING, and YES IT WILL BE FOR REAL. Each of us must ask: Am I prepared? Have I committed my life to Jesus Christ? How about you?
Great question, especially in light of all the recent discoveries.
Let’s begin with what the Bible says. A literal reading of the genealogy as recorded in the book of Genesis would put Adam at about 6000 years ago (4000 BC). However, the Hebrew word for ‘Son of’ or ‘Bar’, later ‘Ben’, also means grandson of, great grandson of, etc., so there could be very many generations between each person identified as ‘son of’ in the book of Genesis. Just as in later instances, only the noteworthy or significant individuals are identified.
We also know Adam possessed the ability to speak, communicate, had language, intelligence, etc.. He also possessed a ‘God Given Spirit’ in addition to his DNA as a Homo Sapien.
Now from a science, evidence perspective, we know there existed a Chinese population with language, a city, buildings, etc. at 10,000 BC, or 12,000 years ago. Allowing for time from Adam, this would put the first Adam possibly as far back as 20-40,000 years ago.. There are reports today of findings claiming Homo Sapiens as early as 40,000 years ago, and several much later, but generally without the DNA.
I encourage you to browse the Reasons to Believe website and consider the scientific work of Dr. Hugh Ross and his team who have done an outstanding job confirming the Bible and Science.
A short quick answer is NO. The bible says that after we die there are NO second chances. God gave us this life in which to make our decision and, as in Jesus’ teaching in Luke 16:19-31, death is final. There are many more verses to reaffirm this. I suggest that you read this one.
There is NOT ONE verse in scripture mentioning Purgatory or the notion that after death a person enters a state of limbo between heaven and hell where a purging takes place and that there are things a person can do, or that others can do for him, that will get him out of limbo and onward to heaven. The doctrine of purgatory was introduced into church teachings 1200 years after the death of Christ and remains a teaching of the Catholic church but not of protestant churches or some of the major orthodox Christian churches. Purgatory is clearly a false teaching denies that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and nothing we can do except acknowledge His gift to us, that we are put into right standing with God.
Likewise, reincarnation as taught by some eastern faiths, says that when we die we return as animals, or plants–something different from what we are before we die. But the Bible clearly explains that all animals and plants are specific creations of God and not previous or reincarnated humans. Our bible is very clear, when we die, if we have believed in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we will be with Him in some new bodily form, recognizable, knowing others, and able to communicate and worship HIM for eternity.
How about you? Have you made that decision for a new joy filled life here on earth and knowing without any doubt that you will be with HIM forever? It’s a wonderful new life, it’s for free, it’s for real and not just some “psychological high.”