The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”
 

If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!

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Please Note: Nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church. I am not anti-anything or anyone. I am only pro-Torah and pro-Truth. Sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. Why isn’t my theology consistent throughout this website?

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Developing a
Systematic Messianic Theology

“The purpose of careful theological formulations is not to put barriers in the way of people who are seeking salvation, but to define clearly the truths upon which genuine [Biblical] faith rests, so that people will not be misled by false doctrines.” [Robert M. Bowman, Jr. Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah's Witnesses. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989, p. 18.]
 

Three Major Views of the Millennium

For more details on this subject, read the excellent article on BlueLetterBible.org
See also Summary of Christian eschatological differences.

Comparison of Christian millennial interpretations from
Wikipedia.com — click for the original

There are three major views plus three sub-sets of the theories about the chronology of the Millennium. (Because these views are held by the “Church” I have discussed them using the “Church’s” vocabulary.) It is very important to understand that there is no chronology of these events given anywhere in the Bible;[1] nor do all of these events appear anywhere near each other in the Bible. Therefore, all theories about the sequence of End-Times events are mere speculation. Most of these events are either described or alluded to in Scripture; many are extrapolated from events that are described. Some are pure fabrication based on wishful thinking. It is for you, the theologian, to carefully study and evaluate the information that you find in the Scriptures, understand the events that you see in the news media, and come to your own best conclusion.

Premillennialism

Premillennialism speculates that the return of Christ will bring about a literal thousand-year earthly kingdom known as the Millennium, Millennial Kingdom, or Millennial Reign. Christ’s return will coincide with a seven-year period of tribulation: three and one-half years of “Tribulation” followed by three and one-half years of  the “Great Tribulation,” also known as “the Time of Jacob’s Troubles.”

Following the seven-year tribulational period, Jesus Christ will establish His throne in Jerusalem and rule physically on the earth for a thousand years, but before the Kingdom is established, there will be a resurrection of the Christians who have died and a “rapture” of the Christians who are still living. Both the resurrected Christians and the living Christians rise to meet Christ “in the air” at His coming. A thousand years of peace will follow, during which Christ will reign and Satan will be imprisoned in the Abyss. Those who hold to this view usually fall into one of the following three categories, based on the assumed timing of “the Rapture of the Church.”

• Pre-Tribulation Rapture (Pre-Mil/Pre-Trib)

Pretribulationists believe that “the second coming” of Christ will be in two stages separated by a seven-year period of tribulation.

At the beginning of the tribulation, “the dead in Christ“ are resurrected, and with the Church (only the “true Christians”) will rise to meet the Lord in the air (the “Rapture”).

Then follows a seven-year period of suffering in which the Antichrist will conquer the world and persecute those who refuse to worship him.

At the end of this seven-year period, Christ returns to defeat the Antichrist and establish the thousand-year age of peace.

This position is allegedly supported by a scripture which says, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1Thess. 5:9] However, that particular passage is more than likely speaking of personal salvation by which the “saved” Believer is spared the punishment deserved for sin because Yeshua has paid his/her penalty.

Mid-Tribulation Rapture  (Pre-Mil/Mid-Trib)

Midtribulationists believe that the Rapture will take place at the halfway point of the seven-year tribulation, i.e. after 3½ years. It coincides with the “abomination of desolation”(Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11; Matthew 24:15) —a desecration of the temple where the Antichrist puts an end to the Jewish sacrifices, sets up his own image in the temple, and demands that he be worshiped as God. This event begins the second, most intense part of the tribulation.

Some interpreters find support for the “midtrib” position by comparing a passage in Paul's epistles with the book of Revelation. Paul says, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1Cor 15:51-52). Revelation divides the great tribulation into three sets of increasingly catastrophic judgments: the Seven Seals, the Seven Trumpets, and the Seven Bowls, in that order. If the “last trumpet” of Paul is equated with the last trumpet of Revelation, the Rapture would be in the middle of the Tribulation. (Not all interpreters agree with this literal interpretation of the chronology of Revelation, however.)

Post-Tribulation Rapture  (Pre-Mil/Post-Trib)

Posttribulationists hold that Christ will not return until the end of the tribulation. Christians, rather than being raptured at the beginning of the tribulation, or halfway through, will live through it and suffer for their faith during the ascendancy of the Antichrist. Proponents of this position believe that the presence of believers during the tribulation is necessary for a final evangelistic effort during a time when external conditions will combine with the Gospel message to bring great numbers of converts into the Church in time for the beginning of the Millennium.


Postmillennialism[2]

Postmillennialism, or postmillenarism, is an interpretation of chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation which sees Christ’s second coming as occurring after (Latin post-) the "Millennium", a Golden Age in which Christian ethics prosper. The term subsumes several similar views of the end times, and it stands in contrast to premillennialism and, to a lesser extent, amillennialism. For the many Christians this question was solved by the Council of Ephesus.

Postmillennialism holds that Jesus Christ establishes His kingdom on earth through His preaching and redemptive work in the first century and that He equips his church with the gospel, empowers her by the Spirit, and charges her with the Great Commission (Matt 28:19) to disciple all nations. Postmillennialism expects that eventually the vast majority of people living will be saved. Increasing gospel success will gradually produce a time in history prior to Christ’s return in which faith, righteousness, peace, and prosperity will prevail in the affairs of men and of nations.[3] After an extensive era of such conditions Jesus Christ will return visibly, bodily, and gloriously, to end history with the general resurrection and the final judgment after which the eternal order follows.

Postmillenialism was a dominant theological belief among American Protestants who promoted reform movements in the 19th and 20th century such as abolitionism and the Social Gospel. Postmillennialism has become one of the key tenets of a movement known as Christian Reconstructionism. It has been criticized by 20th century religious conservatives as an attempt to immanentize the eschaton.

Key Ideas

Although some postmillennialists hold to a literal millennium of 1,000 years, other postmillennialists see the thousand years more as a figurative term for a long period of time (similar in that respect to amillennialism). Among those holding to a non-literal “millennium” it is usually understood to have already begun, which implies a less obvious and less dramatic kind of millennium than that typically envisioned by premillennialists, as well as a more unexpected return of Christ.

Postmillennialism also teaches that the forces of Satan will gradually be defeated by the expansion of the Kingdom of God throughout history up until the second coming of Christ. This belief that good will gradually triumph over evil has led proponents of postmillennialism to label themselves “optimillennialists“ in contrast to “pessimillennial” premillennialists and amillennialists.

Many postmillennialists also adopt some form of preterism, which holds that many of the end times prophecies in the Bible have already been fulfilled. Several key postmillennialists, however, did not adopt preterism with respect to the Book of Revelation, among them B. B. Warfield and Francis Nigel Lee.

Other postmillennialists hold to the “idealist” position of Revelation. The book titled An A-to-Z Guide to Biblical Prophecy and the End Times defines Idealism as “A symbolic description of the on going battle between God and evil.” Those who hold to this view include R. J. Rushdooney, P. Andrew Sandlin, and Martin Selbrede.


Amillennialism[4]

Amillennialism (Greek: a- “no, without” + millennialism), or amillenarism involves the rejection of the belief that Jesus will have a literal, thousand-year-long, physical reign on the earth. This rejection contrasts with premillennial and some postmillennial interpretations of chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation.

The amillennial view regards the “thousand years” mentioned in Revelation 20 as a symbolic number, not as a literal description; amillennialists hold that the millennium has already begun and is identical with the current church age. Amillennialism holds that while Christ’s reign during the millennium is spiritual in nature, at the end of the church age, Christ will return in final judgment and establish a permanent reign in the new heaven and new earth.

Many proponents dislike the name “amillennialism” because it emphasizes their differences with premillennialism rather than their beliefs about the millennium. “Amillennial” was actually coined in a pejorative way by those who hold premillennial views. Some proponents also prefer alternate terms such as nunc-millennialism (that is, now-millennialism) or realized millennialism, although these other names have achieved only limited acceptance and usage.

Teachings

Amillennialism rejects the idea of a future millennium in which Christ will reign on earth prior to the eternal state beginning, but holds:

Amillennialists also cite scripture references to the kingdom not being a physical realm:

Amillennialists regard the thousand year period as a figurative duration for Christ's reign, as in Psalm 50:10, where the "thousand hills" on which God owns the cattle are all hills, or in 1 Chronicles 16:15, where the "thousand generations" to whom God will be faithful are all generations. Some postmillennialists and most premillennialists assert that it should be taken as a literal thousand-year period.

Amillennialism also teaches that the binding of Satan, described in Revelation, has already occurred; he has been prevented from “deceiving the nations” by the spread of the gospel. Nonetheless, good and evil will remain mixed in strength throughout history and even in the church, according to the amillennial understanding of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares. (Matthew 13:24-30)

Amillennialism is sometimes associated with Idealism, as both schools teach a symbolic interpretation of many of the prophecies of the Bible and especially of the Book of Revelation. However, many amillennialists do believe in the literal fulfillment of Biblical prophecies; they simply disagree with Millennialists about how or when these prophecies will be fulfilled.

 

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  1. The Book of Revelation contains some elements that are somewhat chronological, but most of the Revelation is simply a vision that jumps back and forth through time. Daniel 2:31-45 presents a chronology of four earthly kingdoms and introduces the Messiah’s Divine Kingdom but provides no information about End Times. Daniel 12 provides a small glimpse into some of the events of the End Times, but Daniel was instructed to “conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time.” Matthew 24 provides some End Time highlights in somewhat chronological order. But nowhere in Scripture is there given a clear chronology of End Times events. Any chronology that is presented, including mine, is mere speculation. [RETURN]

 2. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmillennialism accessed 1 October 2019. [RETURN]

 3. The fact that most of the great cathedrals in Europe (and America) are woefully empty, and that the Church is gradually but steadily slipping further and further into apostasy and paganism should easily prove this belief to be false. [RETURN]

 4. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amillennialism accessed 1 October 2019. [RETURN]

Page last updated on Tuesday, 09 February 2021 01:19 PM
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