We believe that spiritual death is the condition of all mankind at birth (Ephesians 2:8-9; Psalm 51:5). Except for believers at the appearing of Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), all will experience physical death (Hebrews 9:27) as a result of sin (Romans 5:12). Physical death results when the spirit is separated from the body (James 2:6). The second death is separation from God to the place called hell (Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8). Those that place their faith in Christ will never experience the second death (John 5:24; Revelation 20:6). I believe that immediately after death, the soul of the believer will be in the presence of the Lord in Heaven (Luke 16:25; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Philippians 1:23). At death, the souls of unbelievers will immediately be in Hell or hades (Luke 16:23-26), awaiting the resurrection of the damned (John 5:28-29), where they will be united with their bodies (Revelation 20:13) to stand at the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-13). They will sentenced and then cast to Gehenna, an eternal lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8; Mark 9:43-44; Matthew 25:41; Jude 13).
We believe in a literal approach to interpretation of eschatological events. An understanding of the covenants contained in the scriptures is imperative in understanding and developing a Biblical Eschatology. There are five major covenants in scripture (the Abrahamic, Davidic, Mosaic, Palestinian, and New Covenants), but only the four eternal (unconditional) covenants are related to eschatological events. All these covenants are literal and should be interpreted literally.
The Abrahamic Covenant
One of God’s promises to Abraham was that his descendants would have the land from the river of Egypt to the river of Euphrates as an everlasting possession (Genesis 15:18; 17:7-8). There are other aspects of the Abrahamic covenant that have already been fulfilled literally. This promise has yet to take place, but when it does, it will be fulfilled literally. The Palestinian covenant is an expansion of the Abrahamic covenant in reference to the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 30).
The Davidic Covenant
The Lord’s covenant with David assured him of an everlasting dynasty with one of his descendants reigning on his throne forever (2 Samuel 7:12-17; Psalm 89:3-4). This descendant is Jesus Christ (Luke 1:32-33; Isaiah 9:6-7). Jesus is reigning now on David’s throne (Acts 2:29-36), but the literal fulfillment of that on earth has yet to take place.
The New Covenant
The New covenant is God’s promise to bring the nation back to Him spiritually, writing the law on their hearts, forgiving their sins, and giving true knowledge of Himself (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Although the Gentiles can have a part in the blessings of this covenant, Israel awaits a literal, national fulfillment.
The unfulfilled promises of God in the Abrahamic, Davidic, Palestinian, and New covenant still await a literal fulfillment, and require a premillennial return of Christ to the earth and a literal reigning of Christ on the earth (Revelation 19:11-20:6). After Jesus returns to the earth, he will reign for one thousand years (Revelation 20:1-6). During this period, the nation of Israel will be in its land and will experience the cleansing God has promised (Ezekiel 36:22-33; Romans 11:26).
The Chronology of Eschatological Events
We believe in the pre-tribulational rapture of those that are in Christ (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-11; Revelation 4:1). This conclusion is based on five Scriptural evidences. First, the purpose of the tribulation period is to judge unbelievers (Revelation 6-19:10), and to purify the nation of Israel (Daniel 9:24-27). Second, God promises the church that they will not experience His wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9). Third, the Church will escape the time period of the tribulation (Revelation 3:10). Fourth, the tribulation is described in Revelation 6-19, and the church is not mentioned one time. Fifth, New Testament believers anticipated the imminent return of Jesus Christ with excitement (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; James 5:7-9).
When the rapture takes place, the dead in Christ will be resurrected first, then we which are alive in Christ will be caught up together with them in the air to meet Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54). We believe that the time after the rapture and during the tribulation period best fits the timing of the judgment seat of Christ. All believers will stand at the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of their lives (Romans 14:10-12). Not only will the believers’ works be evaluated, but their motives will be as well (2 Corinthians 5:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 4:5; Colossians 3:23-24). The key to being confident at his coming is to be abiding in Jesus Christ (1 John 2:28). We believe that the seven year tribulation will begin at the signing of the peace treaty between the antichrist and the nation of Israel (Daniel 9:27). The purpose of the tribulation period is to purify Israel (Daniel 9:24-27) and to punish all unbelievers (Revelation 6-19; 20:4). After three and half years the antichrist will break his covenant with Israel, and set himself up as god (2 Thessalonians 2:4). He will be empowered by Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10), and he will rule the world, but tribulational saints will not worship him (Revelation 13:7-8). During this tribulation, the gospel will be preached in the whole world (Matthew 24:14), and multitudes from every nation will be saved (Revelation 7:9-14). There will be great persecution on believers and many will become martyrs because they will not worship the beast, nor receive his mark (Revelation 6:9-11). We believe that the second coming of Christ is at the end of the tribulation and before the millennial reign (Revelation 19:11-20:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The antichrist, false prophet, and the nations will gather for war against Christ at Armageddon (Revelation 19:19). Jesus Christ will come and destroy them with the spirit of his mouth and the brightness of his coming (2 Thessalonians 1:8; 2:8; Revelation 19:15). The antichrist and the false prophet will be thrown alive into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20; 20:10). After this, Satan is bound and Jesus will reign on earth and will bring peace and perfect justice for a thousand years (Isaiah 11:1-10). We believe at the end of the millennium, Satan will be released to re-gather all those that are unbelievers from the millennium. They will surround Jerusalem, but they will be devoured by fire from heaven (Revelation 20:7-9). Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and will be tormented forever (Revelation 20:10). All unbelievers will be ushered to the great white throne where they will be sentenced and cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). God will create a new heaven and a new earth and believers will have the privilege to live with their Savior forever, never to be separated again (Revelation 21-22)! We do admit there needs to be latitude on the chronology of the Eschatological events and an understanding that believers can disagree yet maintain scriptural unity.