Biblical Views of the Future
In his article, I’ll describe the most prominent views of the future that have been proposed by Bible scholars. That statement itself may come as a surprise to some. Many people are aware of only one possible view of the future. For the first few years that I was a Christian, I was aware of only one view. I initially adopted this view because it was the basis for the Left Behind books, which led to my conversion to Christianity. As time went on, I continued believing this view to be correct, not because I found it unambiguously stated in the Bible, but because the dozens of pastors I followed told me it was true.
In 2008, I began meeting Christians who held different views of the future. My friends implored me to read books explaining these views, but I resisted. I was content to believe that we were living in the last days before the return of Jesus. I was elated at the fact that, at any moment, the rapture would happen, and the church would be removed from this dark and depraved world. But in 2008, everything changed. At least for me.
In 2008, I had a dream (if one could call it that) where I met God, and He asked me to pray for my patients. I happened to be a cessationist at the time. I didn’t believe in miracles. That soon changed, along with some of my other beliefs. Since then, I’ve had a thousand dreams, many of which have portrayed future events. Very few of these dreams showed a world slipping into darkness and judgment. Most of them offered a hopeful glimpse of the future.
One factor that gives rise to different views of the future among believers is the passages of scripture we choose to emphasize and the ones we choose to ignore. A second factor is our mode of interpretation. There are different ways in which the Bible can be read and understood. One is the literal approach, where most passages are taken to be literally true. Another is the figurative approach, where the text of scripture is interpreted symbolically. Some systems of theology impose a symbolic interpretation on most of scripture, even passages where the subject seems to be spoken of literally.
Another difference comes from the way in which we assign significance to historical events. Some believe that most or all of the passages describing the destruction of the earth and God’s wrath on mankind have already taken place. Others see these events as future. There are also differences in how we interpret the fulfillment of prophetic passages from the Old Testament, how we interpret Christ’s prophecies about the end of the age, the timing and nature of His return to the earth, and the role and timing of Christians in reigning on the earth. Another point of debate concerns God’s future plans for the physical nation of Israel and His purposes for the Gentile church.
There are many seemingly contradictory statements in the Bible about God’s plans for the future. These apparent contradictions can be an obstacle to those who wish to view the scriptures in unambiguous terms. It isn’t necessary to take an “either-or” position. The “both-and” view is a suitable alternative. The Old Testament portrayed the Messiah as both a suffering servant and a conquering King. While Jews were unable to resolve these apparent contradictions, Christians found the divine paradox to be a beautiful illustration of God’s multifaceted nature. We should not be afraid to evaluate the individual merits of apparently contradictory views.
Now let’s look at some of the main views of the future. We’ll begin with descriptions of three general views; futurism, historicism, and idealism, and then look at specific views within each of these categories.
Futurism teaches that most prophetic passages of the Bible have yet to been fulfilled. This view generally teaches that a period of tribulation will mark the end of the age, a literal Antichrist figure will appear, and that God has separate plans for the Gentile church and the nation of Israel.
Historicism teaches that most of the Bible’s prophetic passages have already been fulfilled, including most of the book of Revelation. This view does not hold to a period of tribulation, a specific person as the Antichrist, or the belief that God’s plan for Israel is different from His plan for the church.
Idealism teaches that the events described in prophecy are neither past, present, nor future, but are intended to symbolize spiritual principles. In this view, prophetic passages illustrate the battle between the forces of good and evil. This view is associated with amillennialism—the belief that there is not a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth. Amillennialism teaches that Christians are currently reigning with Christ in a symbolic way.
Covenant theology proposes that there have been two main covenants since the creation of man. The first covenant was the covenant of law. Mankind’s representative, Adam, failed to live up to the covenant’s terms and was condemned. The newer covenant of grace was not between God and man but between members of the Godhead. The Son agreed to live in a way that fulfilled the first covenant. He became man’s representative in the new covenant and those who trust in Him for their righteousness are brought into the covenant of grace.
Dominion (Kingdom) theology
Dominion (or Kingdom) theology teaches that the church has been commissioned to establish God’s kingdom rule in the earth during the present age. Dominionism takes the command God gave to Adam to rule over the earth as a literal mandate that was never revoked. This view sees believers as kings, priests, and ambassadors of God, sent to destroy the kingdom of darkness and advance the kingdom of God in preparation for the return of Jesus, who will ultimately rule with them.
In this view, history is divided into periods or “dispensations,” where God tests man’s obedience in different ways. The dispensational periods are usually described as those of innocence, conscience, civil government, promise, Mosaic law, grace, tribulation, and millennium.
The pre-millennial view teaches that most prophetic passages of scripture have yet to be fulfilled. In this view, God has separate plans for the church and the nation of Israel. Pre-millennialism teaches that a 7-year period of tribulation is approaching where an Antichrist figure will be revealed, and the earth will fall into greater darkness before the visible return of Christ to the earth. His return will be followed by His literal thousand-year reign with the resurrected saints. Slight differences exist between several pre-millennial views. These differences are related to the timing of the removal of the church from the earth (the rapture) in relation to the 7 years of tribulation. These views are described as pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, and post-tribulation (some theologians include a pre-wrath distinction).
Pre-tribulation adherents believe that the removal of the church from the earth (the rapture) will be followed by seven years of tribulation. During this time, the Antichrist will arise, and a final battle will occur. Jesus will return to earth and reign for a thousand years, followed by last judgment and the creation of a new heaven and earth.
The mid-tribulation view is similar to the pre-tribulation view, except that it divides the tribulation into two three and one-half year periods—the second half being the Great Tribulation. In the middle of the seven years, the church is taken into heaven to escape the Great Tribulation.
The post-tribulation view says that the church will be kept by God’s grace through the entire 7-year period of tribulation. Believers will be given their glorified bodies in order to meet Christ as he comes to earth to defeat the Antichrist at the battle of Armageddon and establish his millennial reign.
The preterist view holds that most of the events of the book of Revelation were fulfilled in the first century A.D. In this view, prophetic passages in both the Old and New Testaments are thought to speak of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Preterism underpins postmillennialism, which proposes that we are currently living in a non-literal thousand-year period of time that began in the first century. The two main schools of preterist thought are called full preterism and partial preterism.
Full preterists believe that the second coming of Christ occurred after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., fulfilling the prediction of Jesus: “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (Matthew 24:34) That promise included His second coming.
Partial preterism holds that most biblical prophecies, such as the destruction of Jerusalem, the rise of the Antichrist, and the Great Tribulation were fulfilled either in 70 A.D. or during the persecution of Christians under the Roman Empire. However, the Second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead have not yet occurred in the partial preterist view.
There are many biblical views of the future, including ones not mentioned here. Some are extensively detailed. Some leave many subjects open for debate. I’m less convinced today that my original view was correct. As I’ve evaluated other theories, it’s apparent that all the major views have gaping holes in them that cannot easily be reconciled. These problems are why eschatology is not a settled issue.
Twenty years ago, I lived in constant anxiety over the teaching that the world was progressively becoming darker. This idea is not objectively apparent. It’s something I was taught, and in fact, it’s not true at present. During the 20th century, a succession of world wars and the rise of dictators who fit the description of the Antichrist caused people to believe that pre-millennialism was the correct view of the future. The rise of the new world order caused more people to adopt this view.
When you analyze deaths from war and other signs of societal decay, you find a surprising fact. Since the end of World War II, been living in a time of relative peace. While it’s true that there have been almost constant smaller wars since World War II, the death toll from these wars is minuscule in comparison. Since he was elected, President Trump appears to be taking an axe to the new world order. If he manages to dismantle this corrupt power structure and if he can end the wars overseas, it ought to cause Christians to go back to their Bibles and rethink their view of the future.
It’s remarkable how passionate we can be about our religious beliefs—even the point of speaking harsh words toward those who hold different views. It’s common these days to accuse someone who doesn’t share our view of “denying the truth of the bible,” but such accusations aren’t necessary, and many times they’re untrue. All the views presented in this article are biblical. The differences between them are not a matter of “right” or “wrong,” “biblical” or “unbiblical.” Perhaps you’ve found a view that you identify with. Maybe you see validity in several views. I’d encourage you to consider the strengths and weaknesses in all of them and weigh each one carefully.
Thank you, that was so interesting. I believe that the Bible is best discerned when interpreted Spiritually, not materially.
Thank you for your post. I used to be a dispensationalist and futurist, but no longer. I changef my mind when studying the early history of the church. And i found out when, how and who began tbe dispensationalist movement – and why. I believe now we will be raptured immediately before Christ’s return when He will pour out His wrath upon the earth.
Very Wise dissected David! Your conclusion is the conclusion I also hold on dearly. Very uncommon conclusion these days. Thank You Brother, I love you and also your decoding Q drops. James3 wisdom the Wisdom from above is Unbiased and sowed in peace in righteousness.
You are right we do all have different opinions, so the only way I know to check different opinions is to have scripture reference. What scripture do you think describe the future of God’s people and the time we are in now. Thank you
Thanks so much Dave, you always do such a nice job, but truthfully with all of the information out there to take in I need a video! Love your videos! Bless you
I was born and raised in the old fashioned Pentecost system. It was cultist to me and had me very fearful growing up. I rejected it as a teenager, sowed my oats of freedom , and made some bad choices. I don’t like “the Church”, I believe in a personal relationship with Christ. I am born again, but I don’t like saying I’m a Christian. I’m a believer in Christ and I put my trust in him. I live by Faith, and know he’s my provider. Because of my faith and my relationship with him, I fear no evil, I don’t worry about tomorrow, I rest in the knowledge of Christ. So whichever way it goes, I’m ready. ???
yes and AMEN Eunice – that is where I stand as well. I have a relationship with my Triune God, and I am ready for Him…..it is His plan and I will follow Him the best that I can.
Thank you for this.
( I’m still)
❤️God Bless you ,your family and ministry Richly..
I grew up in churches that never discussed it but in hindsight we’re most likely ammellenial. They also believed in replacement theology, which I don’t think is right at all. I too, got my first introduction in the Left Behind Series. While I have changed from pre-trib to mid-trib, after much studying, I still have a difficult time seeing how people believe one of the other views. I’m curious as to what changed your mind.
I for one got caught up in the dooms day end times theology… I am confused still as to to who and what to believe
I recently purchased your book, Calm Before The Storm for my 23year old son. Austin has depression issues and your book is such a blessing. Suicide runs in our family, my brother and father both committed suicide. Thank you Dave, for Blessing us with your words. May God Bless You and your Family!
Kimber, I have been sharing Calm Before the Storm with people for several reasons, but first and foremost because I felt UPLIFTED and encouraged, reminding us that God does not sleep and has not abandoned Mankind, most especially His own children. So good to read that it has helped brighten your son’s outlook; it certainly did mine as the chaos has burgeoned in our country these last months. God bless you and Austin, in Jesus’ Name!
I’m living with cancer, so it would be nice if there was a clear cut view of what I should expect in this world. I love God and Jesus, but I’m not the best person. I’m a sinner. I’m a Catholic who just walked away one day. I talk to God frequently, and I pray that he hears me. I used to be one of those people who would have debated you on my view of the Biblical future. I was dedicated. Right now it seems as if our country is unraveling. It would sure be nice if God would let everyone hear him. I’m trying to stay in the present right now and focus on one day at a time. The best point for reflection you made here was that I really do think that Democrat’s are evil. I think this; because, they abort God’s babies. I don’t know how to get past that. I’m working on it. Peace to you and yours! I enjoy your youtube video’s, and I look forward to them.
The historicists believe there will be an international Sunday worship law in the end times, and that this Sunday worship is the sign in the forehead or hand – the mark of the beast – that true Christians should avoid. This is an important part of the historicist world view, and should not have been omitted in your paragraph about them.
Very interesting! I’m not all together sure I believe any single view is all in! Thank you this is going to take a bit of time to ponder!
Oh Dave, this is awe inspiring! During this time of the Great Awakening I have taken the time to meditate on what I truly believe and asking the Holy Spirit for discernment! I am aware of all the different interpretations of religious doctrines, but having you bring this to the forefront is like an divine acknowledgment of my present journey of faith. By the way, I am a practicing Roman Catholic. I love your work Dave, and you and Denise are always in my prayers. God’s Blessings to you both!!
My simple response is does it make a difference in outcome? There seems no wrong if we try to live on a path of understanding built around goodness and daily openness to love and revelation? We are being led.
Over my fifty four years I have developed my beliefs. When I come to a point where my belief is challenged I tend to objectively process the new data and rebuild my belief base on what makes the most sense to me! I am who I am based on who HE wants me to be. It is a process and it develops over time!
Good work my freind!
Thanks Dave! I heard of an interesting encounter that happened to Pastor/Preacher Bobby Connor. He had spent many hours researching what is written about the book of Revelation. He had a stack of papers on his desk containing the research he had done. Jesus appeared to him in his study and pointed to the stack of papers and asked, “What is this?” Bobby replied, “This is my study of Your book of Revelation . I plan to use this to teach others.” Then Jesus caused all his papers to physically evaporate into dust. His work was gone! Then Jesus said, “You people know nothing about MY second coming.” The message Bobby gleaned from this was that the books he had researched and the papers he compiled were a result of men’s MIND not God’s spirit. And that we need to learn through Jesus Himself and by revelation of His Holy Spirit. Interesting isn’t it?
This may also be helpful in understanding the Bible in context and historically:
Finally someone who shares my optimistic view of the future. We only differ in our confidence in the DOJ’s ability to thoroughly investigate and prosecute the broad and deeply rooted corruption in government, the news media, Hollywood, big pharma, big food, education,, science, psychiatry. That can be done only if Trump remains in office four more years, and a series of similarly determined chief executives succeed him.
At any time a large mob could breach White House barriers and even overwhelm SS personnel armed with machine guns. This was supposed to happen a few weeks ago, as Q revealed. Any SS massacre of “peaceful” BLM protesters on White House grounds would certainly result in impeachment of the president.
I believe God Himself will find it necessary to personally intervene in human history with powerful blows that will shake the entire world. I thought this was going to happen in July and even posted my thoughts on social media. However God is under no obligation to abide by my schedule or anyone else’s, so I’m now eating crow. Nevertheless I remain confident God will soon take such action and electrify believers who currently hate what is happening but don’t know what to do.
I used to be pre-trib but then I read Marv Rosenthal’s book, “The Pre-Wrath Rapture.” According to Rev. 6, God’s wrath will be poured out when the 7th seal is broken. We are guaranteed in Rom. 5:9 and I Thess. 5:9 that as believers, we will never undergo the wrath of God. The seals judgments could be the work of the Antichrist. We could still be here during antichrist’s uproar. I would rather believe that is a possibility than be surprised that the rapture didn’t happen before.
Another interesting thing is that the prophesies about Jesus first coming all happened on Jewish spring feast days. Jesus died on Passover; He was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread; and He resurrected on the First Fruits. The Holy Spirit then came on Pentecost.
So, would it be logical that Jesus second coming could happen on the fall feast days. For instance, Could the Rapture be on the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashana)? Could Jesus return be on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)? And could the 1000 year reign of Christ begin at the Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths)? I guess we will know if it happens. Meanwhile, I’m watching each year for the Feast of Trumpets. This year it will be Sept. 18th and since we don’t know the day or the hour, that makes sense because, that feast potentially lasts a couple days.
Betsy, in my book you are right on.
Thank you, Dave. This is the kind of information you should print off and keep handy. I say follow Jesus. Jesus told us in Matthew 24;14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” So I ask you has every nation heard the Good News? No? Then we have our work cut out for us (stay occupied until I come).. Trump ends wars and opens up countries so we, the body of Christ, can go and preach the “gospel of the kingdom” to ALL the world as a witness to ALL the nations! Don’t worry about the “then what” until we have finished doing what we were told to do. If we do our part, Jesus is faithful to do His and remember only the Father knows when the end will come and He ain’t tellin’. Heaven is as big as our Father’s heart and there is room for ALL.
Bless you Dave and Denise
Bless POTUS and his family
Bless General Flynn and his family as they face another round with the deep state on 8/11
Very interesting article, I twas brought up Catholic and couldn’t accept some of what was drilled into me and broke away looking for answers . Tryed new age religions that just didn’t work but never wavered from my true belief that Jesus Christ was our savior and now I have come back to reading the Bible and going to church because receiveing the Holy Eucharist means so much to me now more than ever . All I can do now is pray and except Gods plan . God bless you and all our Qanons ???
I appreciate all you do for us. Thank you so much!
I came to Christ through the Left Behind series myself. I held to the doctrine of eschatology they taught for a while. Many avenues of exploration and countless hours of study have lead me to this: much like His first advent, His second advent will be just as surprising and play out in unexpected ways…count on it. Maranatha!
Wow! I have a lot of studying to do! I appreciate your work Dave!
Really amazed to see this, Dave. You must be a mind reader! Thank you!!
Thank you Dave. I appreciate all you do, and the time you take to research and share. I’ve been taught 4 end time schools of thought, and honestly, the more I study, the more I realize just how little I know. Walking in faith to the best of our ability, sharing the Good News, giving thanks in all things and repenting are things we can do and must do with our time on earth. I do try not to focus too much on the “when & how” and just walk in faith. It’s often a struggle, but I try.
All in God’s time, and however He wants to move!
We are currently living in Biblical Times. It is the time of Our Lady. In fact Revelation is currently unfolding for the good of man. It is definitely the end times, but for Our Lady of Medjugorje. Revelation 22 . 2 . says “In the midst of its main street, and on both sides of the river, was the Tree of Life, bearing twelve fruits, offering one fruit for each month, and the leaves of the tree are for the health of the nations.” Our Lady has been providing messages unlike any provided before in the history of the world on the 25th of the month for the last 39 years finishing most likely after 40 years (biblical). Messages monthly (one fruit each month) twelve months per year (twelve fruits). These messages are awesome and easy to understand. This is the latest one from 25th July “Dear children! In this peaceless time in which the devil is harvesting souls to draw them to himself, I am calling you to persevering prayer, so that in prayer you discover the God of love and hope. Little children, take the Cross in your hands. May it be your encouragement for love to always win, in a special way now when the Cross and faith are rejected. You be a reflection and an example with your lives that faith and hope are still alive and a new world of peace is possible. I am with you and intercede for you before my Son, Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
How to understand the messages? Look at the opposite meaning for each word. You will be blown away of how powerful Our Ladys messages are because by looking at the opposite meaning you will understand how this message is talking to you directly, and each message will have a different meaning for each person. These are a direct messages from Heaven.
Scripture makes many things crystal clear but end times events and timing are not at all clear.
As Praying Medic has said above, “As I’ve evaluated other theories, it’s apparent that all the major views have gaping holes in them that cannot easily be reconciled. These problems are why eschatology is not a settled issue.”
I’ve come to the same conclusion and think that God does not intend us to know his plans for the future, but does intend us to live in faith each day, dependent on Him. If He wanted us to know He’d have made it clear, I believe.
Yes I was brought up to believe the rapture was about to happen and only exceptional saints made it. As a result I was constantly fearful as a child. As I am now 73 and have walked with the Lord most of those years I believe God is working it all out differently from what we thought as Trump on the world stage has changed it all. The important thing is God is in control.
…observe the falun gong – – honorable, sincere, considerate to a fault of their neighbor. Consider also WWG1WGA – – generally the epitome of concern for the helpless, the victimized, the ‘the trafficked, the enslaved, & the aborted’ . are they not ‘about doing their Father’s business’ ? membership is perhaps, after-all, that dreaded caveat of “doing something” in the face of evil. shall we notice the doers, humbly join them and leave ‘angels dancing upon the head of a pin’ to the busily pre-occupied ? ……. …. shalom,a.j.
Thank-you for sharing this. I’m at the point where I have questioned if the opening of the first seal is actually the beginning of the infamous 7 year period. Lately I’ve been wondering if the DS might be the Mystery Babylon spoken of in Revelation. But just like the prophecies concerning Messiah’s first coming, no one understood their proper interpretation, save a few who were given glimpses of revelation (i.e. the magi, Simeon, Anna) – and the disciples didn’t even get it even though Jesus told them point blank what was going to happen – I suspect none of us have the prophecies concerning His second coming right, either. Proper understanding came to those who needed to know when they needed it before and during the events; everyone else had to figure it out after it all occurred. I believe God would rather us continue to ‘go into all the world preaching the Gospel” and proclaim the Kingdom of God is at hand (same as He did back then) than to wait for the rapture to bail us all out of the world’s evils.
Partial Preterist here….been studying it for years…it’s the only historical/contextual hermeneutic that is optimistic and victorious. No getting ushered off this earth while others remain in some form of tribulation…instead, a steadily advancing Kingdom until a final LAST DAY. Revelation was the unveiling of Jesus and a vision of events that were “soon” to take place (as stated in the first sentence and the last chapter). It was a warning of THEIR tribulation (AD70) not ours. It was comforting to those who were being severely persecuted at that time that judgement was coming against those who were persecuting them. The whole of Matthew 24 is a sign of their times….not ours, when the Temple and the system and the Old Covenant was made obsolete as described in Hebrews 11. Jesus prophesied it would happen in a generation, and it did. Paradise will be restored, on earth as it is in heaven. We, are looking for the Habakkuk prayer : “For the EARTH will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, As the waters cover the sea.”
Very interesting layout you gave there. There certainly are a lot of differing understandings of the future, but still the same Lord of us all, right? I grew up in the pre-trib rapture, Late Great Planet Earth style teaching, but moved away from that after doing a lot of personal study, and in so doing received a much greater hope for the future. Some books along the way: Paradise Restored, by David Chilton; Victorious Eschatology, by Harold Eberle; Last Days Madness, by (can’t remember!); The Fall of Jerusalem, by Robert Wise; and one I just finished…very interesting!…The Beast of Revelation, by Kenneth Gentry. Lots to think and pray about. But after all is said and done, God is good, Jesus Reigns, Jesus will build his Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; the Sons of God will be revealed to bless all of creation, and Jesus will receive the nations as his inheritance, as the Father has said. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Hello, been listening to you for along time especially your videos on you-tube. I used to enjoy studying revelation but not so much any more. I see truths in many of those theologies. Here is my opinion, only opinion. Jesus preached the Kingdom of God. That was his ministry! That was his subject. That was why he was here and came to fulfill. Jesus taught in the spiritual realm. It takes spiritual discerning to have a clue. Main clues: My Kingdom is not of this world. The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Many other clues such as they try to take the Kingdom by force. Being born again enters you into the Kingdom of God. Only way! The Holy city of Revelation, the city on the hill is The Kingdom of God! Jesus is our light 24/7!
Everyone who’s lived for a while can see ever repeating pattern – both in the Bible, human history, and present situation in society. So, I’ve come to believe that every generation (of about 70 years) goes through their own Tribulation. Every generation has to make their own decisions how they want to stand with God. And while I’m not sure yet what to think about THE Rapture, I see that even the first Christians were encouraged to believe that they would experience it. So, I think each of us should expect to see Jesus come back for us INDIVIDUALLY any day. And if there is a collective rapture at one point, you won’t be unprepared.
Great information Dave. I used to love to sit under the teaching of Fuchsia Pickett. She was a wonderful woman of God. She used to say, “I’m packed up, prayed up, and ready to go up.” I think that is a great attitude no matter of your end time outlook. Even though we are living in perilous times I have total peace because I know who is in charge. I have heard many prophecies about our President that also give me hope. This one blew my socks off. It says that Donald Trump will bring America back to God. It was given in 1983. If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing you can start at the 13 minute mark. Fascinating and hopeful! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBsiXN9mLS4
Dave – thanks for a good synoptic summary of what I’d describe as ‘the future in the present.’ I just want to make a tangential but relevant assertion.
There is a difference between fate and destiny. The first is determined, and as such can only be seen in retrospect.
The second is not – it honours choice and free-will. We can choose to either embrace our destiny, or reject it.
And our choices, as we become aware of its nature as an unfolding revelation (rather than a fixed prediction, whether hidden or apparent), are both real and effective. They work to create the future, rather than simply traversing time towards an end-point that always was, and always will be, unalterable and inevitable.
God’s will is undivided, and indistinguishable from His power – this is implicit in our partial, but truthful understanding of Eternity. Our own wills are both divided in nature, and distinct from our power – Creation and liberty, or freedom of choice, are deeply entangled. The mystery and joy of salvation are nothing without repentance, which is itself a real choice.
And prophecy – real prophecy – is always provisional. There is always an ‘unless’, explicit or implicit, somewhere in it. I believe this is just as true of the book of Revelation, although you have to look outside the text to find that provisionality, and that is a step too far for many. It seems like Fate to them, rather than destiny.
I believe you can only find that provisionality, that ‘unless’, by choosing to listen to the working of the Holy Spirit in your own heart and your own life – I believe we have been given that authority, though we can choose to reject it if we want, and delegate that responsibility to others, now, in the past, and in a future mapped out for us.
It’s down to our own courage in discernment, I believe.
Thank you for giving this overview of the various ways that Christians view the future. It occurred to me that those who believe in a hope-filled future (where the kingdom of God is like the yeast Jesus spoke of that works its way into every area of our society) are undermined by the popular eschatological views of our day (like those of the “Left Behind” books). Many fine Christian leaders, who speak on advancing the kingdom of God and influencing the seven mountains of our culture, embrace an eschatology that is at odds with their message.
Jesus taught us to pray that His kingdom come and will be done on this earth as it is in heaven. He spoke of the kingdom as increasing, not decreasing. These teachings are in direct contradiction to the belief that Jesus will remove us from this earth in the near future. Why? Because this prayer is a long way from being answered! Christians who speak of the current natural disasters as signs of His soon return show ignorance of history in general, but also of the fact that we are living in one of the best times in the history of the planet!
I began my Christian walk in the early 1970’s steeped in Hal Lindsey’s teachings, however in the mid 1980’s I put my eschatological views on the shelf as I listened to fellow staff at a Christian relief and development agency talk excitedly about the latest disaster and how that meant that Jesus was coming back soon. Something seemed a bit schizophrenic about rejoicing in disasters when we were trying to help the people to whom they had happened. It occurred to me that something about my end time theology was terribly wrong.
Fast forward to the late 1990’s when I discovered a book called PARADISE RESTORED, by David Chilton. This book not only set me free from a heavy, black cloud of a bleak and foreboding future, but it also taught me how to understand the New Testament writings concerning “end times” by understanding Old Testament symbols and metaphors. This is something most Christians, and those who speak on eschatology in particular, have not been taught to do. The Bible should interpret the Bible. What a concept! After reading this book (and Chilton’s other books, THE GREAT TRIBULATION and DAYS OF VENGENCE – An Exposition of the Book of Revelation), it was if all the puzzle pieces that never seemed to fit together in my previous eschatological views fell into place without effort. For anyone interested, these books are available online, or you can read Chilton’s pre-published free online book of PARADISE RESTORED here: http://www.freebooks.com/christian/paradise-restored.
I have to take issue with your statement that the the world being progressively darker “is not objectively apparent”. In just America alone, isn’t it objectively apparent that since WW2 millions of Americans have been killed in the womb, subject to SRA/MKULtra torture by their own government, more families are breaking down, children being trafficked and abused, sexual immorality has increased, Satanism/New Age beliefs have increased, just to mention a few obvious darker trends?
“If he [Trump] manages to dismantle this corrupt power structure and if he can end the wars overseas, it ought to cause Christians to go back to their Bibles and rethink their view of the future.” That’s a really big “If”! Certainly, if Trump can accomplish something that no one else has managed to do since Adam I would rethink my view of the future, but the Bible teaches that only one person will accomplish this, and that’s Jesus at his coming. It also teaches that before his coming the world will say “Peace”, but sudden destruction will come upon them. So don’t give in to false hope, Trump is not the savior, Jesus is.
I have a jumble of thoughts.
First, I would suggest reading the Geneva Bible. Its commentaries provoked King James to commission his translation of the Bible, as he feared the Geneva Bible undercut the authority of human monarchy. Supposedly, the Geneva Bible was the most prevalent among our Founding Fathers. It also treats the events of Revelation as being mostly fait accompli—with the most copious and matter-of-fact footnotes! Very intriguing to read, if only from the standpoint of the calm acceptance of such a state of affairs. (I do not subscribe to the Geneva Bible’s interpretation, but the emotional acceptance is advisable.)
Second, I am troubled and puzzled by the tendency of pastors to avoid any discussion or citation of the Book of Revelation. One of my pastors dismissed it as “apocryphal,” even though the Apostle John went to great lengths in the preface to establish This Is The Real Deal. Why would a servant of Christ avert his eyes from Holy Writ? There is a profound lapse of faith in this response.
Third, and similarly, I am puzzled by the dwelling on tribulations and the setting aside of Christ’s Reign of a thousand years. Surely, something wonderful and transformative will occur during that Reign (we are simply not told). Along with this, I am puzzled by the general view that we are all destined to be gathered into Heaven…when the reading of the text makes it plain that the Earth will be reformed for our life here in resurrection. Isn’t it obvious? Earth will be restored to Eden, and we are to take up our original assignment from God, namely to be stewards of his Creation. I will be frank to say that given a choice between eternity in Heaven and eternity in Eden…I would take the latter. This world is already so abundantly beautiful, I cannot imagine how Heaven would surpass it…or offer more and better than we have in the creatures around us. The surest argument I have ever heard was this: that there will be animals in Heaven (or in the afterlife). Why? Because, without them, it would not be heavenly. I know that God is love. He loves us. He bids us to love, each other and all Creation, all Creatures. He created a material universe, and material beings to inhabit that universe and perform His work there—for purposes yet to be revealed. We have a spiritual inner being, but we are of the material creation. We may have access to Heaven, but we are made and destined to live on His Earth (so I believe).
Never hurry what is inevitable. Never think it will not happen immediately.
I was raised to believe in pre-trib until one day I was reading scripture and it didn’t fit. Then I found a teaching talking about Christians going through the trib. Now I listen to people arguing that we are about to be taken up. But to me…that doesn’t sound right simply because the “body” is so divided and well…where’s the love. I mean…doesn’t Jesus want a bride who is spotless, loving and courageous? I see a bunch of lazy wimps. Well, then I had to look at myself. When I asked God to clean me up I really saw how distracted believers are. Many are fearful. But…there is a remnant arising who are fearless. Now, with the chip being out and some people getting it and new world order and so much junk going on, hasn’t the world thought many times over we were about to be raptured? So I considered that and said, “Hmmm, I need to make sure I stay occupied” I don’t know which theory is accurate. But I still think there are things that are yet to be done. Isn’t it possible that the way the Bible is written that the end time conclusion is meant to be a mystery and we are simply to keep our eyes on Christ and stay occupied. Then when it all plays out…we will be doing what we were already doing…obeying him.
There was a 5.1 measured earthquake in eastern North Carolina today. This area is on the border of Tennessee Virginia and Kentucky moonshine and NASCAR country just over the border in Virginia there is a United States munitions factory. This only concern me because of the explosion that occurred in Beirut.I’m always skeptical of events that people come running with their cover stories right after.
I know in the 50s do US government did a lot of serving of Caverns created in sandstone. I know that entire area of the Appalachian mountains consist of the Same structure or type of rock.
When I was first introduced to eschatology in 1978 I, like you, held tightly to a pre-tribulation view. I was one of those that felt that if you didn’t see it that way, you obviously didn’t have the Holy Spirit. At some point in the late 1980s I started reading books that suggested other possibilities. I began to see scriptures in a totally different light. Eventually, this led to my current point of view which is the “pre-wrath” position.
I have been conflicted in the past couple years as I have been made aware of the “Great Awakening”. I still believe in a literal tribulation period, a rapture of the church, and the physical return of Christ. All signs in today’s headlines would seem to indicate that the day is quickly approaching. But I felt that same way in 1978. So even though I believe the events in Revelation will eventually occur, it doesn’t mean they are ABOUT to occur. I pray the Great Awakening is God’s way of “giving us a last chance” to get it right. I believe eventually the world will give into the enemy but that doesn’t have to be this year. At least I pray it isn’t.
I think Kat Kerr is quite right in her eschatology.
The next decades will be The Kingdom Age and Heaven Invasion. Heaven Will invade The earth! It Will Be The most awesome time since The beginning of The earth. Millions of people Will give their hearts to christ and people Will do miracles greater Then christ did on earth.
But after this period, there Will eventually be a tribulation and mark of the beast and second coming. But not now!
I am Amillennial myself. I do not believe in arguing, (let nothing be done in strife or vain-glory) but I tell my Pre-Millennial friends that when I read scripture I try my best to let scripture interpret scripture and leave men’s belief out of it.
So what view does the enemy hold? Does Satan even know? Personally, I’m more inclined to believe Game Theory plays a huge part in it all.
As long as Satan refuses to go down the road of Tribulations, the party continues. The Cold War, Jihad, the New World Order…. Many have viewed all these event in history as Biblical…. The enemy probably has also to a degree.
This is Game Theory at the highest level. The trick is that one time when God is thinking 4 moves ahead and the enemy doesn’t realize he’s 3.5 years down the Road of Tribulations.