Old Doxoblogy

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Second Coming

"Pre-mill or Post-mill or A-mill?"
Buggy,
Did you want me to tell you what to believe or were you just asking my position?:-)

Author's note: Please forgive my simplicity in the descriptions that follow. None of the descriptions are meant to be exhaustive by any means. And it is not my purpose to discredit any view which I do not adhere to and I am trying to state them as objectively as possible. That being said, eschatology is a historically contentious doctrine and my conclusions are conclusions that have been a long time in the making. I didn't wake up last night and think to myself, " Hey...I'm ____." I don't have it all figured out, but I am ready to fight for my position...to a point. So if you want to discuss them further, we can do it in the comments section of this post. But only on the condition that we do not ridicule each other's positions. Let's use dignity and grace in our discussion.

I see glimmers of truth in the first two positions.
In Premillenialism I see the truth of the return of Christ before the end of the age. In Postmillenialism I see the triumph of the Gospel as it accomplishes it's purpose of bringing people from every tribe, language, family, and nation to Christ before the end of the age. I don't necessarily agree with anything else in that position that is not inherent in the other two positions and I am not very well versed in that position, so that's all I'm going to say about it.

Within Premillenialism there are three or four different positions. There is the Pre-tribulational rapture of the Church, the Mid-tribulational rapture, the Pre-wrath rapture, and the Post-tribulational rapture.
It seems that the default position for most Premillenialists is the Pre-tribulational rapture position. Most everyone knows something about that view. The church is raptured at the beginning of the tribulation which lasts for seven years. At the end of the seven years a literal thousand years reign is initiated by Christ where he sits on David's throne and rules from Jerusalem.
The Mid-trib view is basically the view that after three and a half years of the tribulation, at the midway point, the rapture occurs, then after the remaining period of time a literal thousand year reign begins.
The Pre-wrath view says that the rapture occurs before the wrath of God is poured out, whenever that may be during the tribulation. After the tribulation a literal thousand year reign commences.
The Post-trib view (historic Premillenialism) says that after the seven year tribulation period the rapture takes place and a literal thousand year reign is inaugurated.

Amillenialism is the view that the millenial reign of Christ has both a present and a future reality. So Amillenialists are really misnamed in the sense that they do believe in a millenial reign, but that the millenium is to be interpreted allegorically as the period beginning at the first coming of Christ and following the second coming of Christ. In other words, the 'millenial' reign has both a present manifestation in the Church and a future realization at the second coming of Christ. Neither period is a literal thousand years.

In Revelation 20 the binding of Satan is seen as a work that Christ accomplished during His first coming. The little while that the devil must be released is the tribulation.
Revelation 20 is the battleground. But we nust remember also that all sides interpret Revelation 20 in the same way they interpret the rest of the Book of Revelation. So if there is any argument from any side, we have all got to remember how we got to Revelation 20.
This is my view.

For a more detailed exposition of Amillenialism see Anthony Hoekema's online works on 'Amillenialism' here.

There are also some good articles here. Click the sidebar icon titled 'Eschatology' and read Riddlebarger, Vos, and Hendriksen if you are interested.

Kim Riddlebarger provides some helpful links here.

16 comments:

BugBlaster said...

That was a very good summary.

I'm pre, but I won't delink you.

ThirstyDavid said...

I feel compelled to tell you that you are completely wrong and I no longer hold any hope of seeing you in Heaven.

That sad fact aside, thanks for not giving us that "I'm pan-millenial" stuff. I hate that.

Garry Weaver said...

O.K. Jeremy, I just did my introductory post on my "I don't have a clue about how to do this blog" in which I said some very nice things about you. One of the nice things I said about you is that you are doctrinally sound. Then you post this. Oh me ,Oh my! Where did I go wrong in your training? Sorry, but it's pre-trib.,pre-mil. Straiten up! Now!

Jeremy Weaver said...

David,
It will all pan out in the end.

Dad,
I had to post it. Bugblaster made me. He asked. I had only to options, answer him or ignore him. He cannot be ignored. He will annoy a person to death.:-)

Garry Weaver said...

Bugblaster didn't mess up your escatology. BTW why are you onthe computer during business hours? Could it be that while poor old Charlie is in Nashville trying to save the convention that you are taking advantage? Hmm? Is that it?

Sojourner said...

It is Revelation 20 that is a major stumbling block for me over the amil position. I'll let you know my concerns, and then you can fix me.

1. The 'binding' of Satan seems to assume that his work is now more limited than it once was. Is it true that Satan cannot assault us now as powerfully as he did pre-Incarnation? If so, is the church now visibly more successful than Israel since Satan is more bound? How exactly is he both sealed and stalking about seeking whom he may devour?

2. The words "shut him up" and "set a seal on him" seem to me to be much stronger language than the amil position will allow. In this text, it seems that Satan is totally captured and not merely hindered. .

3. I see no evidence to indicate that we should understand the number 1,000 allegorically.

Those are a few hitches I see in the amil position from this chapter.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Brad,
Those are good questions. I have time to address the first one now.

This is not necessarily an answer to you question, but an observation.
Whether you are Amillenialist or not, we still must deal with this question. For example, if we say that Satan was defeated at the cross, which most Calvinists will agree to, then why do we still see his activity in the world?
And that Satan has been bound is evident from different statements of Jesus;

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20

“Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house." Matthew 12:25-29

That Satan has been bound is a fact. Paul says that the 'Man of Sin' is being restrained by the Spirit. The 'Man of Sin' is not Satan, but Paul says that he is to be revealed by the power of Satan so that it must be that the Spirit who keeps Satan from raising the 'Man of Sin' up.

Which brings us to another point to be considered. The work of the Spirit in the Church. It is evident from the prophecies concerning the Spirit that He is at work now in a way in which the Old Testament saints could only have imagined.

So...Yes, the Church is more visibly successful than Israel because of the Spirit that restrains Satan and empowers the Church.

Satan is sealed and yet walking about seeking whom he may devour.
I didn't claim to understand it, but both are clearly taught in Scripture.

Dad,
Exactly! Can I blame it on Kim Riddlebarger then?

BugBlaster said...

I just knew this was a good question.

Jeremy Weaver said...

The words "shut him up" and "set a seal on him" seem to me to be much stronger language than the amil position will allow. In this text, it seems that Satan is totally captured and not merely hindered.

These words are no stronger than the words that Jesus used, which I quoted in my previous comment. Just so everyone knows the verses we are talking about I will put them here;

"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while." (Rev 20:1-3)

Notice that the nature of Satan's binding is, 'that he might not deceive the nations any longer'. We must interpret this by what it says and not what it doesn't say. By the fact that it says 'nations' most people feel justified to read into that 'anyone'. But that is not what the text says.
Surely the devil is God's devil, as Martin Luther would say. And that is true. Satan is a pawn in God's hand to accomplish His divine purpose. Satan no longer has this power to decieve nations, not individuals. This is in keeping with the revelation of the truth that people from every tribe, language, ethnic group, and family will make up the redeemed in heaven.


I see no evidence to indicate that we should understand the number 1,000 allegorically.

Vern Poythress has a great look at how we should read these verses. I don't hav ethe time, space, or mental capacity to go into it here. So I'll cheat and provide a link.
Genre and Hermeneutics in Rev 20:1-6

Jeremy Weaver said...

Oops. Here's the link:
Genre and Hermeneutics in Rev 20:1-6

Kim said...

Jeremy, I have Kim Riddelbarger's book A Case For Amillenialism. I have yet to read it. Should I have Buggy read it?

I see you have an official "no meme" rule. You realize that you will be cutting yourself off from loads of character building.

Ken Fields said...

Jeremy,

You are a brave Baptist ... very, very brave!

Jeremy Weaver said...

Kim,
I think you should both use Riddler's book for daily devotions.:-)
Like I always say..."Character is over-rated."

Ken,
Brave or oblivious?

pilgrim said...

For the record, I lean more to a-mil--but I get along well with others.

Kim Riddlebarger's book is excellent--even if you don't agree with amill--at least read it so you understand the position better.

Also check out-More Than Conquerors by William Hendriksen.
I'm not sure about some of his details--but he does an excellent job on the big picture.

BugBlaster said...

Jeremy, I know lots about pre-mill, I now the ins and outs of pretrib posttrib midtrib and prewrath, but I know precious little about amill. It's always been mentioned from the pulpit as a pejorative.

Tell you what, Kim and I will get educated, and then report back to you. In the event that we are swayed, we tell you before we tell your dad, just to give you some time to start running.

Anonymous said...

The post trib rapture theory just doesnt hold water.
That arguement is totally full of holes. To say that there is a post trib rapture is the same as saying there is purgatory...its basically saying thats Christs sacrifice on the cross was insufficient so we have to suffer too.

Often the Bible will refer to Christian believers as “the elect,” meaning that they are individuals who have chosen of their own free will to accept God’s amazing free gift of salvation through Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12; Titus 1:1; John 15:16; Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 2:10; II Thessalonians 2:13; II John 1:1, 13). Thus, anyone who is a true follower of Christ is part of the “elect.” Therefore, believers who will be Raptured to Heaven just before the Great Tribulation begins will be a part of the “elect.” Then immediately afterwards, during the Great Tribulation, new believers in Christ Jesus (i.e., the “tribulation saints,” including the 144,000 Jews) will also become part of the “elect” group of true believers. The Bible informs us that some of those new tribulation saints will be executed by the Antichrist and then resurrected into Heaven immediately after the Great Tribulation is concluded. However, new believers, including the 144,000 Jews, who are not executed by the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation will be “sealed” by God to protect them during the great and terrible Day of the Lord which will begin immediately after the Great Tribulation is over. Those “elect” individuals will be the “elect” who will be translated or gathered by the angels “from the uttermost part of the earth” just before the Second Coming of Christ occurs.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first. Then we, the living ones who remain on the earth, shall simultaneously be caught up along with the resurrected dead in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord! { there is no mention of angels gathering,the rapture is a trumpet call}
"Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words." [1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Ibid.]
Note that this verse tells us that the Rapture Trumpet is going to be a "Trumpet of God". Therefore, the angelic trumpets of Revelation cannot be the Rapture Trumpets! This one fact renders many false positions on the Rapture's timing irrelevant!
If the church is raptured at his arrival,then who could that army be that is following him.The bible only makes reference to the raptured saints being dressed in white.Just when would there be time for the marriage supper of the lamb when the bible makes reference to this happening during the tribulation and before his arrival,just who is Jesus partying with if were still here.In Luke 12:36 the Word states that when Christ returns He will be returning FROM a wedding. In Rev. 19:7-8 we read about the marriage itself. Before the marriage takes place, there is the marriage supper. According to Jewish custom the marriage contract is drawn up first, often including a dowry. This parallels the act of faith we use when we trust Jesus to be our savior. The dowry is His life, which was used to purchase us. When the time comes for the wedding to take place, the groom goes to the bride's house unannounced, she comes out to meet him, and then the groom takes the bride to his father's house. This is an exact correlation of the events according to the pre-trib scenario. Jesus, the groom, comes down from heaven, calls up the Church, and after meeting in the air, both He and the bride return to the His Father's house - heaven. The marriage supper itself will take place up in heaven, while down here on earth the final events of the tribulation are playing themselves out. After the marriage supper takes place, the bride and groom are presented to the world as man and wife. This corresponds to the time when Jesus returns to earth accompanied by an army "clothed in fine linen, white and clean." (Rev 19:14) In the pre-trib scenario, after we rise to meet the Lord in the air, we will go to heaven and abide there seven years. At the end of the seven years Christ comes down to earth, defeats the Antichrist, and cleanses the temple. In a post-trib rapture we would rise in the air to meet the Lord, then do a 180-degree U-turn and come back down to earth. It states in Rev. 1:7 that Christ will appear out of the clouds and come down to earth. It says in Zech. 14:4 that His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. If He's already headed our way, why would we need to be caught up to meet Him? After the shout to "come up hither", the church is not mentioned in scripture at all. The attention of scripture switches from the Church to the Jews living in Israel. Armies in Fine LinenWhen Jesus returns, Rev. 19:18, there is an army that follows Him riding on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. In Rev. 19:8 we are told that the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. If the saints of God are returning with Christ to wage war on the Antichrist, then it is not possible to have a post-trib rapture without us running into ourselves as we are coming and going. The Time of Jacob's TroubleIn several passages the Bible refers to the tribulation as a time of trouble for the Jews. The phrase "Jacob's trouble" pertains to the descendants of Jacob. In Jeremiah 30:7 it says that this time of trouble will come just before the Lord returns to save His people. The final week of Daniel's 70th week is yet to take place. An angel told Daniel that "70 weeks are determined unto thy people"(Dan 9:24). Scripture never mentions that the tribulation is meant to be a time of testing for Christians, however, some post-tribbers try to claim that they are the ones being tested during the tribulation. To make this so, they need to spiritualize the 144,000 Jewish believers in Rev. 7:2-8 who receive God's protective seal. Placing the Church dispensation into the same time frame as the seven year Jewish dispensation, as the Post-tribbers do, raises one good question. Can two dispensations transpire at the same time? In the past, God has only dealt with one at a time. Having both present during the tribulation would have to be an exception. He That is Taken Out of the Way (2 Thes. 2:7) Before the Antichrist can be revealed, Paul said a certain "He" must be taken out of the way. According to 2 Thess. 2:7, the "He" that must be removed is widely thought to be the Holy Spirit. It has been promised that the Holy Spirit would never leave the Church, and without the working of the Holy Spirit remaining on earth . The removal of the Church, which is indwelt by the Holy Ghost, would seem the best explanation for this dilemma. The working of the Holy Spirit could go on during the tribulation, but His influence would be diminished because of the missing Church. War or Rapture(Rev 19:19-21) When Jesus returns at the end of the tribulation, He will be coming for battle. For those who believe in a post-trib rapture, it would be a strange thing to meet your Lord and Savior just as He's rushing into battle. The idea that war and rapture could occur together is a difficult thing to imagine, especially since they transpire at the same moment. The Five Foolish VirginsThe wedding story that Jesus gave in Mat. 25:2-13, I believe, is a parable of the rapture of the Church. It explains how some will not be ready. Jesus clearly states that a group of people will miss out on some event, and will cry out to God to let them into the place where He resides - heaven. Although some try to put this parable in a post-trib context, it doesn't fit very well. The ones left behind in a post-trib rapture will not need to seek the Lord because they'll immediately be confronted by him and his army of angels. God Hath Not Appointed Us to WrathIn 1 Thessalonians 5:9 Paul assures us that God has not appointed His people to wrath. This wrath is plainly God's anger that will be poured out during the tribulation. Pre-trib believers interpret this as meaning that Christians will be removed from the earth. Post-trib believers tell a different story. They describe this as meaning that God will protect Christians during the tribulation and pour this wrath out on the unbelievers only. This idea runs against the statement made in Rev. 13:7, where the Antichrist is given power to make war with the saints and to overcome them. A post-trib view would make God's promise of protection from wrath into a lie. In years past, it was possible to think of being protected from the guns and swords of that day. Today, when any major war would involve nuclear and chemical weapons, it's impossible to expect that same kind of protection. When Nagasaki, Japan was bombed during W.W.II, the bomb exploded over a Catholic church. Everyone that was in the center of the explosion died, both Christians and non-Christians. The only way to validly interpret God's promise of protection from wrath, is by viewing I Thess. 5:9 as the bodily removal of the Church from this world. The Salt of the EarthJesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth"(Mat. 5:13). When the believers are suddenly removed, the earth will be plunged into spiritual darkness. When this happens, the Antichrist will then be free to control the world. God Takes an InventoryIn Rev. 7:3 an angel descends to earth and seals the servants of God. Two bits of information are given about this sealing that highly disclaim a post-trib viewpoint. The first item is the number of people sealed: 144,000. The second one is that all those who are sealed are from the twelve tribes of Israel. For the events in Rev 7:3-8 to be true in a post-trib interpretation, either the Church has turned against God or God has turned against the Church. A post-tribber could write a thousand word commentary on why the Church doesn't need to be sealed. Instead of trying to argue about why the Church is not mentioned or sealed, a pre-trib proponent could just say, "We're already in heaven." Noah and Lot as Examples The tribulation period is compared to the times of Noah and Lot by Jesus in Luke 17:28. Most people argue over what time frame Jesus was talking about here, pre-trib or post-trib, and miss an important point. The two things that the Noah and Lot situations have in common are the removal of the righteous and the judgment of the unbelievers. From these two accounts, we see that God prefers to remove His own when danger is involved. Common Sense Reasons for Believing in the Pretribulation RaptureThe World TestOne way to check the soundness of a doctrine is to see how the world reacts to it. One time a company put out a questionnaire that was used to screen prospective employees. One of the questions was "do you believe in the rapture?" If you answered yes, your chances of getting hired would not be good. Some Internet sites do not allow for the topics of Rapture or Second Coming. They do allow topics like sex, gay, and drugs. The only time the news media mentions the rapture is when someone sets a date and is proven to be wrong. If the Antichrist came to power with the Church still here, I do not see how he could operate. When Hitler was fighting to take over England, a number of Christians where praying for victory. Hitler made mistake after mistake, and England out performed its enemy at every stage of the conflict. It is difficult to measure the actual impact of intercessory prayer in physical warfare. Little is known of how great a role praying saints played in the defeat of Nazi Germany. If the Church were to reside on earth during the tribulation, I am sure she would give the Antichrist fits. In Rev 11:3, the two witnesses give the Antichrist enough headaches alone. Millions of Christians, who know their Bible well, would recognize the man of sin and pray fire down on his head. The post-trib view would have to plan on the Church just rolling over and playing dead, the whole seven years.

HOW THE CHURCH CAN BE RAPTURED,END UP ON HORSES,FOLLOWING JESUS WITHOUT US RECIEVING OUR CROWNS AND WITHOUT THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB OCCURING,WHICH IS CLEARLY SPOKEN OF HAPPENING DURING THE TRIB .THE POST TRIB ARGUEMENT IS WEAK AT BEST. THERE IS NO REFERENCE ANYWHERE TO US GOING UP AND FINDING OURSELVES MYSTERIOUSLY ON HORSES."Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. Revelation 19:7-9 (KJV) This parallels the pre trib rapture view exactly! The groom does not pour out His wrath on His bride prior to their marriageAnd there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Luk 21:28 And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. IT DOESNT SAY AFTER THESE THINGS HAPPEN,IT SAYS BEGIN.
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:36 (KJV) "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;" Romans 1:18 (KJV) "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." Ephesians 5:6 (KJV) "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" Romans 5:9 (KJV) In the above verses we see a very clear distinction between;who will taste of God's wrath and who will not. "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come." 1 Thessalonians 1:10 (KJV) "For God hath NOT appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.." 1 Thessalonians 5:9 (KJV) This wrath being; God's anger that will be poured out during the Tribulation. Don't get this confused with the John 16:33 that reads: "...In the world ye shall have tribulation.." This is in reference to the trials and tribulations that this world brings. We certainly have our sufferings here - some more than others. But this is not the same as the Great Tribulation where God pours out His wrath ... That time will be unparalleled by any! "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." Matthew 24:21 (KJV) Claiming Supernatural protection during this time period ... Some try to make themselves the group from Revelation 7:3. This is when an angel descends to earth and 'seals the servants of God.' The number of people sealed are 144,000. These are all from the 12 tribes of Israel. That is what is says - That is what it means ... This group is not the church! t h e R a p t u r e ... -Seen Only by Believers ... 1 Corinthians 15:52 -It's a Mystery - revealed by Paul in the New Testament ... 1Corinthians 15:51-53 -In a Twinkling of an Eye ... 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 -We are Going "UP" - Meeting Jesus in the Air ... 1 Thes 4:15-18 -A Thief in the Night.... 1Thessalonians 5:2 -Christ Comes for His Own ... 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 -Believers taken to Father's House ... John 14:3 -No reference to Satan ...-Earth not judged ...
t h e S e c o n d C o m i n g ... -Every Eye Will See Him ... Revelation 1:7 19:11-16 and Matthew 24:30 -Not a Mystery - Foretold in Old Testament ... Daniel 12:1-3 and Zech. 12:10; 14:4-He will be Coming "DOWN" to the Mount of Olives ... Zechariah 14-He Comes With His Own ... Revelation 19:14 * -Satan bound ... Revelation 20:1-3-Earth judged ... Revelation 20:4-5 *Revelation 19:14 speaking of the Second Coming reads; "And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean." At the Second Coming, He is not coming alone. Rather those who had been raptured earlier are coming back WITH HIM! In Jude 1:14 ... Enoch also, prophesied about this saying; "...Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints." Interesting that Enoch was also Raptured! (Genesis 5:24) In a post-trib rapture scenario, we would rise in the air meet the Lord, then turn do a 180 back down to earth ... Zech. 14:4 tells us His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. If He is already headed our way ... why would we need to be caught up to meet Him? Are we Going Up or Coming Down?