Our Distinctives

9. Pre-Tribulational & Pre-Millennial Return of Christ

 
 
Distinctive 9 – We hold to a pre-tribulational, pre-millennial return of Christ
 
 
The Bible clearly teaches that there will be a second coming of Christ and the end of the age. God will judge unbelievers at the Great White throne by their works and condemn them in eternal fire for their sin (Rom 12:17; Rev 20:11-13). Those in Christ are evaluated by Jesus himself at the judgment seat of Christ and rewarded for their service on earth (2 Cor 5:9-10; 1 Cor 3:10-15; 15:58).
 
There are many different views on the timing and events surrounding Jesus’ return for his church. GBF holds to a pre-tribulation, pre-millennial return of our Lord. At an unknown time, Jesus will come to rapture all believers, both living and dead (1 Thess 4:15-18). After that event, there will be a period of world-wide tribulation and destruction (Matt 25:21-22; 1 Thess 5:3). Believers prior to that time will be raptured out of this outpouring of divine wrath (Rev 3:10; 6:16-17). Further support for the pre-Tribulation rapture of the church is found in the book of Revelation. After deliberately addressing local churches (Rev 2-3), John says nothing about the church or its presence when subsequently describing the Tribulation in gruesome detail.
 
After the Tribulation (7 years), Jesus will return from heaven with all the raptured and resurrected saints (Rev 19:11-16; Zech 14:4), defeat all those opposed to him, cast Satan into the Abyss for 1000 years, and reign on earth (Rev 19:17-20:5).
 
The Second Coming of Christ
  • Phase 1-Pre-Tribulation rapture of the church
  • Phase 2-Descent to earth after Tribulation to reign for 1,000 years (millennium)
 
GBF follows a dispensational approach to Scripture. Dispensationalism holds to a consistent literal reading of Scripture, including prophecy. Since it understands the Bible teaches different periods of time (dispensations) where new revelation is progressively added, it provides the clearest understanding of the story and teachings of Scripture.
 
By following the Bible progressively, we understand that Israel stands distinct from the New Testament Church. Promises given to Israel in the Old Testament should not be spiritualized for the Church in the New Testament. The kingdom of God is not merely spiritual renewal. It also includes Jesus’ physical reign on earth for one thousand years. The Law, given to organize and govern Israel and reveal human sin (Rom 3:20), is not divided up and reapplied subjectively to believers in the local church. Those in Christ are not under the requirements of the Law (Rom 5:14), but are led by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the Law of Christ (Gal 6:2; 1 Cor 9:21; James 2:8).