Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thinking about the Millennium

People know that Christians are gullible so we will continue to see things like You've Been Left Behind and the Post-Rapture Post. According to their own words:
Do you know someone who is in danger of being "left behind" because of a sinful life? Imagine if you could write a letter to a friend or loved one after the Great Day of Reckoning. Maybe a message to your family telling them to trust in God, and that everything will be okay. . . . It could be that your message is the light that opens a sinner's eyes to the Glory of God and allows them entrance to Heaven during the trials before the Second Coming. This is where the Post-Rapture Post comes in.
My response to a Christian's use of that "service" is that if you want to share the gospel with a loved one . . .


Of course, these websites are only applicable with a pretribulational or mid-trib rapture. At this time (and I have to use temporal markers when discussing my understanding of eschatology), I lean more towards a post-tribulational rapture/return of Christ. I do not want to talk about the Rapture right now (I do that elsewhere). I want to discuss the other major topic of the end times - the millennium.

Over the last couple weeks, a few members of the church staff have been discussing this very issue. In our discussions, I noticed that each were reared in a premillennial frame of thought - as was I. That means that we all have been taught that Jesus will physically and gloriously return to earth after a period of great tribulation and prior to a 1000-year period of time in which He will establish His kingdom on earth. After the thousand years are completed, Jesus will then resurrect the wicked and judge them (along with the living wicked) and usher in the New Heavens and the New Earth. This judgment is different from the resurrection of the righteous, which occurs immediately before the tribulation or immediately after. Therefore, in the premill schema, the resurrections and judgments of the believer and non-believer are separated by this one thousand year gap.

As you can imagine in a theological discussion amongs seminary-trained pastors, issues were raised. Since that staff discussion, I've done some reading to try and resolve some issues. I first read Riddlebarger's A Case for Amillennialism because I've never really considered that position and his book comes highly recommended by proponents of the position.

However, I was not persuaded thought I do appreciate the fact that he bases his position on thoughtful exegesis of extended passages. I just could not accept the conclusions he reached. I also have pulled The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views off my shelf and will begin that soon. I just noticed there is a new book out there called Three Views on the Millennium. Why three views instead of four? The first book has separate chapters on the two major strands of premillennialism: classic dispensationalism (pre-trib) and historic premillennialism (post-trib).

While I was not persauded by the amillennial view, one potential problem for premillennialism was raised that got me thinking - Is there any place in the Bible that clearly states that there is a gap of some time between the return of Christ and His judgment of the wicked?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog. Readers might enjoy Googling "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," "Famous Rapture Watchers," and "Pretrib Rapture Desperados." And if they get a chance, they should check out an electrifying book titled THE RAPTURE PLOT which Armageddon Books carries - the most comprehensive and documented book on the long hidden beginnings of the famous pretrib rapture view. Lou