What we believe about the Last Things (July 2013)

We believe there is a continuity[i] to history.

We believe that history extending into eternity past and future has and will unfold according to God’s timetable, established by him alone before the foundations of the world. He has a definite purpose in all things as demonstrated by creation itself and his intervention into human affairs. These great and mighty saving acts, where he demonstrates his desire to reconcile sinful mankind unto himself, will proceed to the ultimate victory of Christ over sin, death and Satan (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

We believe Jesus will return.

Just as his first advent fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, we believe Jesus will come again as promised in the Scriptures (John 14:3; Acts 1:11; Titus 2:13).

We believe in the resurrection of the dead.

We believe that the bodies of those who have died believing in Jesus Christ as Savior will be resurrected and changed to glorified bodies like unto his. These new glorified bodies will then be reunited with their souls, already in the presence of the Lord, to spend eternity in the place he has prepared for them (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:50-52; Revelation 20:4-7; John 14:1-6).

We believe the bodies of the unbelievers will also be resurrected to be joined with their souls to face the judgment for their rejection of Christ as Savior (Revelation 20:11-15).

We believe in the judgment of God.

We believe those who have trusted in Jesus for salvation will stand before the judgment of Christ to give account for their works done for him (2 Corinthians 5:10). It is there they will receive crowns for lives pleasing to him (Hebrews 6:10). We believe the judgment of the believer’s sin was taken by Christ on Calvary and has been forgiven and purged[ii] from the memory of God (Hebrews 10:17).

We believe those who have rejected God’s offer of salvation and have not received Christ as their Savior will stand before the great white throne judgment. Their names will not be found in the Lamb’s Book of Life. They will suffer the eternal consequence of that rejection and their sin (Revelation 20:11, 15).

We believe in the ultimate glorification of all believers.

We believe that earthly, corruptible[iii] things cannot enter heaven (1 Corinthians 15:50). We believe we will, therefore, come to total sanctification, perfection and glorification when we enter his presence (1 John 3:2; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Romans 8:30).

We believe a unified theology regarding the sequence of last events is not essential to salvation.

We believe that individual understanding of how the events of last things will unfold has no impact upon the way to salvation or the work of Christ on the cross. We believe there are honest differing understandings regarding last things. We believe godly and learned scholars have arrived at differing and biblically supported understandings concerning the details of when and how last things will unfold. Accordingly, the Churches of God, General Conference has no established or universally accepted dogma concerning the timetable, nature or sequence of these events. Individuals holding a wide spectrum of positions may be found within the Churches of God. All are expected to respect and show acceptance of others, whatever position they may hold. Further all are encouraged to prayerfully search the Scriptures and determine an individual position they can biblically defend. Individual differences regarding these matters should not be a catalyst for division in the body or a hindrance to the work of the Gospel.

[i] Continuity –connectedness.

[ii] Purged – eliminated; removed.

[iii] Corruptible – that which has been contaminated by sin; morally evil.