Pastors' Forum


The End-Times

I believe I need to do some more end-time teaching than I have in the past. What are some of the approaches that other pastors take in teaching on such issues, and what are the basic things that pastors teach along these lines? I realize there are many different views when it comes to eschatology—how can I teach my people healthy, wholesome doctrine that avoids weirdness? What resources are recommended?


Rick Renner – Moscow, Russia
I have been in the ministry 40-plus years, and I’ve taught on nearly every subject one can imagine, but I had never taught on the subject of eschatology until 2014. To be honest, I didn’t want to teach on that subject. I had heard it taught in so many different ways—and each approach sounded like it had a portion of truth. So rather than try to figure it out for myself, make mistakes that would embarrass me, or teach something incorrectly, I decided to ignore the subject altogether. But in 2014, the Holy Spirit impressed me that it was time to educate myself and our congregation on the scriptural study of the end times.

So I pulled out all the serious study books I own and dove head first into very deep waters on the subject of eschatology. Before I knew it, I had been studying on end-time events for months. I finally came to the place that I could draw concrete conclusions about what the Bible taught on the subject. I believed it was time for me to teach this series to my congregation and to our weekly online Home Group.

When I began to teach this series on eschatology, I had no idea it would last for nine weeks. I also didn’t realize the impact my studies on this subject would have on me or that it would be so faith-building for my congregation. Those nine weeks of teaching on what the Bible says about end-time events stirred and strengthened hope, imparted faith, and provided solid answers about the future for those who listened. Thousands of people joined us online for this study on eschatology during our weekly online Home Group webcast—which showed me the tremendous hunger people have for serious scholarship on this subject that is so pertinent for this hour.

With stacks of books all around me, I studied for hours, poring over modern commentaries and reading through ancient commentaries dating back to the Early Church. I exegeted word for word to determine the full meaning of the Greek text wherever the New Testament had something to say about the last days or the end of the age. It was the most thorough study I’ve done on one concentrated subject in years. By the time I was finished, I concluded that I stood on solid ground theologically regarding what I believe about the subject of eschatology. I had even memorized major texts on the subject in Greek. I truly wanted to get this study right and to have the key points regarding the Greek text solidly planted in my mind and heart.

Because I have a knowledge of New Testament Greek, I focused on what the New Testament says about end-time events. I studied every single text from Matthew to Revelation that deals with the plan of God for the ages; what could be expected in the world at the end of the age; and how to recognize where we are on God’s timeline in terms of the catching away of the Church and the Second Advent. I analyzed Jesus’ teachings on signs of the end of the age, particularly in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. I spent hours on Peter and Jude’s teaching about the end of the age. I poured myself into the writings of the apostle Paul. And, of course, I studied certain key texts in the book of Revelation.

In the end, I was able to lay out what I believe has been the plan of God for the ages — past, present, and future. Then I taught it to my Moscow congregation with a white board and many different colors or pens to help highlight various aspects of the study. It was, I believe, the most effective series I have ever taught in our church. As noted, it inspired hope; it caused great conviction; and it provided a firm assurance about where the near future is headed and, as a result, produced a fuller measure of peace in the hearts of the listeners.

If you’re considering teaching on eschatology, I recommend you stay away from “fad” books about current and end-time events and stick to the Scriptures. Mountains of these types of books have been written that are of no true benefit and can often serve to confuse the issue. Instead, surround yourself with solid scriptural scholarship and learn from those who have devoted their lives to this subject. I particularly recommend as a resource to find writings of serious Bible scholars. I believe you will benefit from their writings on this critical subject of the last days.

As a concluding note, let me encourage you: Always keep in mind that on the subject of eschatology, as with every other subject you study in the Word, it is crucial to be as the Bereans, who “…searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11 NKJV). With Scripture as your standard for truth, the Holy Spirit will be faithful to lead you into further truth regarding these “last of the last days” that we are living in so you be fully prepared to fill your role in God’s great plan.

Pastor Duane Hanson – St. Paul, MN
There is one verse that recently had a real impact on my perspective of “The End Times.” For the past 35 years or so, I’ve been aware of the many books and teachings about the “Last Days.” I’m sure I’ve been exposed to just about every kind of “Tradition & Doctrine” that’s been floating around since the mid 70’s regarding the final chapters of the Church. It wasn’t until last Fall that I realized I was coming up short when it came to Paul’s encouragement about his “Last Days” on the earth.

2 Timothy 4:7–8 (KJV)
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Like many of us, we’ve preached and quoted verse seven, and probably the first part of verse eight. However, it was that last phrase in verse eight that finally hit me! When I read those words, “unto all them also that love his appearing,” I had to ask myself a simple question. Am I one of those who “love His appearing” as much as I love this present life?

I realize many of us have prayed “Come Lord Jesus ~ and please come NOW!” when we’re in the midst of difficult times. But I can’t honestly say that I was really in “love” with the thought of His soon return. In fact, I’ve heard people say that they hoped Jesus wouldn’t come back yet, because they wanted to see their children grow up, get married, and spend time with their grandchildren! Therefore, because of this realization, I went through the same process that is addressed by this month’s question. I began to approach this subject with a whole new attitude, purposing to fall in love with the idea that Jesus was coming back soon!

It’s true, we’ve been instructed to “occupy till He comes,” and we know that The Father is waiting for “the precious fruit of the earth,” while many are expecting to see a significant “harvest of souls” in these last days! Consequently I began to focus more on “The Last Days” rather than just the “End Times.” I understand that it may sound like “semantics” to some, but if we’re going to be Biblical about the subject, let’s see what the scriptures have to say about it.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (KJV)
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men will be…

In this very familiar passage, Paul warns Timothy about what will be coming upon the earth in “The Last Days.” We can read the complete list that Paul gives and realize that every single one of these characteristics is present in our society and culture today. Paul continues in this same chapter and encourages us to study to show ourselves approved unto God! With that in mind, let’s make sure we stay scriptural, and not interpret the Word based upon the daily news coming out of the Middle East, Washington D.C., or our favorite T.V. evangelist.

I personally began to research the subject and started pulling together the various scriptures that seemed to address the question concerning “The End Times.” At the same time, it seemed like more and more people begun asking me about the “signs of the times,” which may have been due to the daily news broadcasts!

I’ve never felt comfortable actually teaching anything specific about “The End Times” simply because of how uncertain things have been. (Besides, I really didn’t want to go back and erase any old tapes!) Let’s be honest about it! How many books have been written, and how many series have been taught about the subject of “The End Times,” and then the World maps have changed because of political and social upheavals? Sadly, few authors ever come out and retract their “prophetic” statements about the future, especially when the “future” dates and events they predicted have come and gone! Seriously, how many of us remember the frenzy and the fallout over the teaching “88 Reasons Why Jesus Is Coming Back in 1988?” Well, we’re still here!

I knew Jesus had faced this same situation with His Disciples during His final days with them. As we read Matthew 24:1-14, we can see how Jesus described some of the “signs” of The Last Days to His disciples. Most “End Time” evangelists love to quote verse fourteen: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” However, Jesus starts His response with a warning about being deceived!

Matthew 24:3-4, 12 (KJV)
Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

I would suggest that the real sign of “The End Times” is the level of complacency in The Body of Christ, and the gross deception that has infiltrated our society, culture, governments, and even the Church.

According to the fulfillment of Old Testament Prophetic words Peter quotes in Acts 2:16-18, the Church entered into the beginning of “The Last Days” on the Day of Pentecost. In God’s timeline, we are no doubt living in “The Last of The Last Days!”

Here are just a few verses to consider when teaching about “The End Times” and “The Last Days:”

Acts 2:17 (MSG)
In the Last Days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on every kind of people.

2 Peter 3:3 (KJV)
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts…

Jude 1:18 (AMP)
In the last days (in the end time) there will be scoffers [who seek to gratify their own unholy desires], following after their own ungodly passions.

Jude 1:17-19 (MSG)
But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: “In the last days there will be people who don’t take these things seriously anymore. They’ll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts.” These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There’s nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit!

James 5:3 (AMP)
Your gold and silver are completely rusted through, and their rust will be testimony against you and it will devour your flesh as if it were fire. You have heaped together treasure for the last days.

1 Peter 1:18-21 (AMP)
You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold, But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot. It is true that He was chosen and foreordained (destined and foreknown for it) before the foundation of the world, but He was brought out to public view (made manifest) in these last days (at the end of the times) for the sake of you. Through Him you believe in (adhere to, rely on) God, Who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him honor and glory, so that your faith and hope are [centered and rest] in God.

Any teaching we do that involves “The End Times” and “The Last Days” should focus on helping people establish their hearts on the truth, and help them to “believe” in the Lord so that their “faith and hope are centered” on Him. I would encourage anyone interested in this subject to accept and live by Paul’s closing words:

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (KJV)
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Pastor John B. Lowe – Warsaw, IN
Stay with Dr. Hilton Sutton’s material or Lester Sumrall’s teaching. They make no stupid date predictions. I would encourage you to look at the word through an eastern view of thinking. For example, the western view of the million man army coming against Israel in the early years was thought to be Russia, then China. But Israel is surrounded by that army. Islam. Fifty years ago the people surrounding Israel were just a patch of rag tag group of nations with no organization.

Pastor Bill Anzevino – Industry, PA
The first statement I make when beginning a series on the end times is “Be Ready.” Nothing is more important than living our lives “rapture ready” each and every day. Many have held different views on eschatology and no matter what they believed, now that they’re gone, it didn’t really matter to them. What mattered was whether or not they glorified God on earth by finishing the work He gave them to do!

When teaching eschatology, the approach I have used includes:

1.  A study on God’s seven-day redemptive plan revealed in Israel’s seven feast days. Leviticus 23:4

  1. Sunday:  Passover — Jesus crucified.
  2. Monday:  Unleavened bread —Jesus buried.
  3. Tuesday:  First-fruits — Jesus resurrected.
  4. Wednesday:  Pentecost — Jesus sends the Spirit. The spring feasts have been fulfilled and the time between Pentecost and the first fall feast represents the church age and the time of harvest.
  5. Thursday:  Trumpets — Rapture of the Church.
  6. Friday:  Atonement — Second coming when Israel repents and accepts Christ’s atoning Blood.
  7. Saturday:  Tabernacles — The Millennium when God tabernacles on Earth among men.

2.  A study on the signs of the times.

  1. Seven days = 7,000 years. 2 Peter 3:3-9
  2. Perilous times. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
  3. Explosion of knowledge. Daniel 12:4
  4. Birth of nuclear warfare. Zechariah 14:12
  5. Rebirth of Israel as a nation. Isaiah 66:8
  6. Regathering of Jews in Israel. Jeremiah 23:7-8; Isaiah 43: 5-6
  7. The scoffer sign. 2 Peter 3:2-4
  8. Solomon’s third temple. Priests are being trained, priestly clothes are being made, the vessels of the temple are collected, the cornerstones have been consecrated with water from the pool of Siloam, the anointing oil has been found, and the 95 pound pure gold menorah has been made.

3. A study on “End Times Sequence of Events according to Daniel and Revelation.” This would include studying Daniel’s 70 weeks and:

  1. The pre-trib rapture.
  2. The Church in Heaven for seven years.
  3. Tribulation on Earth for seven years.
  4. The Second Coming of Christ.
  5. The battle of Armageddon.
  6. Judgment of the Gentile nations.
  7. Satan bound for 1,000 years.
  8. The millennial reign of Christ.
  9. Satan loosed for a season.
  10. The Battle of Gog and Magog.
  11. The great white throne judgement.
  12. Death and Hell cast into the lake of fire.
  13. The new Heaven and Earth.

There are many resources that can be helpful for your studies, but one that has blessed me that I highly recommend is a book by Norman K. Robertson called Understanding End Time Prophecy.

Pastor Jay Stillinger – Schenectady, New York
Eschatology is an area of theology that many pastors attempt to avoid, yet it is a major topic mentioned in the New Testament. When I first started out in ministry, I simply taught what I had learned in Bible school and in church. Over time, however, I found that it was very important that we not teach things simply because someone we respect taught it in a certain way, but we need to research the topic and allow the Holy Spirit to give insight.

This approach necessitates the need to look at other viewpoints other than the one we embrace. When doing this, however, I believe it’s important to approach the other views with an openness and a teachable attitude. After having done this in my own life, I concluded that the traditional pre-tribulation rapture did not seem to hold up under much scrutiny in the Scriptures. Instead, I came to the conclusion that a post-tribulation rapture and second coming was much more probable with a three and a half year tribulation rather than a seven-year. Now, when I first began to see this, I probably had some of the same reactions on the inside as some of you do right now. Please know that by stating this, I am not at all saying that everyone should come to the same conclusion when they research eschatology.

As you can imagine, however, this change in my end-times theology presented some definite challenges. It’s obviously clear that the pre-tribulation rapture position can be presented in a very victorious and hopeful way without concern for producing fear in the hearts of the congregation. This view proposes the escape of all true believers before the antichrist is revealed and before any severe persecution takes place. As a side note, this is a view very appealing to Americans who are not accustomed to any significant persecution. Believers in Sudan, Iraq and other nations may wonder if we’re in the end-time tribulation right now! In contrast, a post-tribulation rapture can produce fear in the hearts of God’s people if it is not presented carefully. Of course, it could be argued that a little bit of “godly fear” may be necessary in the United States in order to shake the Church out of its complacency and apathy. In considering these things, I have developed a method that seems to accomplish the task and yet leave the believer full of hope and free from tormenting fear. I offer the following suggestions:

  1. It’s important to understand that prophecy is often somewhat ambiguous. It was pointed out to me once that many of the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the first advent of the Lord were not fully understood until after their fulfillment. Only after they occurred did people realize what the prophetic word really meant. Based on this, it can be assumed that prophesies concerning the second advent of the Lord will not be fully understood until after their fulfillment as well.
  1. Though I lean toward a post-tribulation view, I have tried to avoid dogmatism pertaining to the sequence of events. After all, it’s basically the sequence of events, not the events themselves that differ between these two views. Two reasons I take this approach is, first, I’ve already changed my view once and I’m always open to see eschatology differently, and secondly, the previous point of ambiguity in prophecy requires it, in my view.
  1. I approach teaching eschatology by presenting both of the above views and include the pros and cons of each and leave it up to the congregation to decide which one seems more Biblical. As you study, you may choose to add other views including their pros and cons.
  1. Whatever views you present, it would be prudent to have a good grasp on them so you can teach them effectively and accurately.
  1. The main emphases I attempt to give are:
    • The victory of Christ’s coming.
    • The victory of the rapture and the resurrection.
    • The need to cultivate a close relationship with the Lord.
    • Exhortation to live like He could come at any time, but to plan on Him not coming in our lifetime.

The following are recommended resources:

Post-Tribulation View

  1. The Final Triumph, by Ernest Gentile.
  2. A Commentary on the Revelation of John, by George Eldon Ladd.
  3. Book of Revelation: An Exposition, by Kevin J. Conner
    (Not sure if it’s available in the U.S., I bought it directly from the author who is Australian.)

Pre-Tribulation View

  1. Final Warning, by Grant Jeffrey.
  2. Armageddon: Appointment with Destiny, by Grant Jeffrey.
  3. Things to Come, by J. Dwight Pentecost.

Books which Compare Various Views

  1. Last Days Handbook, by Robert Lightner.
  2. Three Views on the Rapture; Pre-tribulation, Pre-Wrath, or Post-Tribulation, Various Contributors from the Crosspoint Series of Books.
  3. A Basic Guide to Eschatology, by Millard J. Erickson.

Pastor Kevin Berry – Lansing, MI
The topic of the end times has always been a source of interest and has the potential to boost attendance too. :) Over the years I have been exposed to some tremendous teaching on end-time events. My pastor for years, Pastor Dave Williams, has some great, sound, and very down-to-earth teaching on end-time events.

I would encourage you to consider a couple things:

  1. Keep it Simple — A good journalism rule is: don’t bury the lead. Don’t bury the main point you want to communicate with too many details that simply are not essential. Keeping it simple means communicating:
    • We are living in the day that allows us to see Bible prophecy happen right before our eyes. Jesus is coming soon; show them the signs that point to this in our news today.
    • You must be ready; some people will miss the rapture.
    • You want to take as many people with you; you cannot delegate winning souls to someone else. Only the Church (that’s us) has this God-given task.
  2. Keep it Clear — Show them the biblical timeline of end-time events.
  3. Keep it Practical — Show them how living in the end times should affect their lives today. This teaching from God’s Word is meant to transform hearts, not just give information. Peter said, “The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:7-10).
    • Be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.
    • Show deep love for each other.
    • Use your gifts well to serve one another.


  • Pastor Dave Williams – and Chuck Smith commentaries on
  • Coming World Events (Van Impe & Williams Special)
    • Once again, Dr. Dave Williams teams up with America’s Foremost Bible Prophecy Scholar, Dr. Jack Van Impe, to bring you an up-to-the-minute look at COMING WORLD EVENTS.
  • End Times Bible Prophecy (Book)
    • Dave Williams’ personal study notes used to preach messages regarding what the Bible has to say about end times.

Hope this helps.

The resources I have been using are: Will Christians Go through the Great Tribulation by Gordon Lindsay; End Time Events by Charles Capps; and Another Look at the Rapture by Dr. Roy Hicks.

I recently began a series on “End Times” with my main focus on 1 Timothy 4:1-6, it just seemed good to me to focus on the people around us rather than the signs in the heavens, as I’m in quicksand there for me.

I have read the Cahn books and enjoyed them greatly, but it appears to me that we can look in the mirror or next door and see many signs from God close by; and since He gave His life for people I’ve helped my people with areas they might be deceived and how to extract themselves from that area of deception.

The television, internet, peers, and society has done a remarkable job of luring saints away from watching and praying, looking for that blessed hope.

In closing, because I’m challenged about the heavenly signs, I believe I can still open my people’s eyes through the signs given in 1 Timothy 4. Then they can make judgments on their own lives and set their sights on being more like Him in holiness and consecration.