Amillennialists View of the Millennium

Second is the Amillennialists view, and believes that Jesus is reigning now since His resurrection, that there is no literal thousand-year millennium before or after Christ returns to earth (Rev. 20:1-6).

People with this view usually subscribe to the Historicist view. They see an allegorical or symbolic approach to prophecy. The major proponents are Covenant and Reformed theologians, and most mainline denominations. Since there is no literal thousand-year reign, Millennium refers to the preeminent reign of Christ in this age, covenant, or dispensation (Rev. 6:9-10; 20:5).

The resurrection of the Christians refers to the new life in Christ and/or their life in eternity of Heaven (Rom. 6:8-11; Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1-4). They believe that Satan is bound already and is limited in his activities here on earth (John 12:31; Col. 2:15). They believe that the rapture and the Second Coming are simultaneous events and realities to come as Christ returns to earth before the millennium.

There is a splinter group, Dispensational Premillennialism, which believes that the Second Coming occurs in two stages; the first is the rapture of the church, then after seven years, Christ returns with his church to rule on earth. This view has a literal interpretation of prophecy.

My Journey in Eschatology

I firmly believed in the classic dispensational view, a rapture, a seven year tribulation and Millennial reign of Christ. It was fact to me without question and a hill I would die upon—until someone challenged my on it. My very own high school youth group to whom I was teaching Revelation, kept asking me where is that? I do not see it! This does not make sense. And I could not answer their questions. I knew how to study the Bible but I was not using my own tools for Revelation or Matthew chapter twenty-four. Instead, I was relying on my prized possession a 1940’s edition of The Scofield Study Bible I received from one of my mentors, my favorite commentaries, one by Dr. John Walvoord and the other by Frank Gaebelein, not to mention I had also mostly memorized Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth. But I could not defend my positions biblically; I could only quote those who held that view. I just assumed I just did not get it and they did. So I decided to just read the Book of Revelation without reading my views into it, as many of us naturally do. I kept doing this for over ten years. During the same time, I had a run-in with one of my seminary professors about the Rapture who said none of this was biblical. I thought he was crazy; how could it not be biblical? What about all the great people who teach this, such as Ironside, Wiersbe, and Walter Martin to name a few, plus my mentor Ray Steadman who introduced me to Scofield and Darby.

So, I engaged this subject wholeheartedly; I wanted to see for myself. I read all the passages and the books, yet I could not find anything in the Bible where we could get a Rapture view or any declension of that view, or any of the classic dispensational views I thought were fact. In fact, I could not find the popular ideas of others, taught by so many people as dogmatic and even essential doctrine. The passages that are used to support a rapture and a seven year tribulation said nothing to this.

People who I would consider great exegetes and godly men were teaching this; I asked why. Why were they producing so much of these particulars of nonsense?

Perhaps they were just like all of us; maybe they made mistakes at logic or interpretation, or did not do their homework well. Or, maybe they did what I did, just relied on others and my favorite teachers and take it as that. I couldn’t get what many poplar sensationalists were saying either. What most Christians now believe and what I believed at one time was not there in the Bible’s evidence bag. I could not find a seven-year tribulation, an antichrist as a particular person, or a rapture or the Millennial reign that most pastors preach on and the plot lines of many popular Christian Books. I found that you have to read these things into the Bible because it just is not there; all the passages that were claimed were taken out of their context and twisted, and meanings subscribed to them that were not there originally or in reality.

I was upset, mad, and confused that I had missed the point. So I decided to make this a Schaeffer Institute project and then spent over ten years of careful exegetical and inductive analysis of Revelation, Matthew chapter 24 and many other Eschatological passages before I would write on this publicly as I am now. I sought what they clearly said, not what I was taught they said, or what I wanted them to say or what was popular in my theological tradition. Then I took the four main theories and laid them out side by side next to an exegetical and inductive work into the Book of Revelation. I was careful not to read into it any presumptions, leaving it up to you, the reader, to make your own conclusion—the reason it took ten years.

Yes, this was tough and cost me a lot of sleepless nights and struggles and over fifteen years to look at what I thought I already knew so well. This brought me to what real Biblical Eschatology is, to end times from what the Bible clearly speaks on.

What is “Popular” Eschatology?

What is the hot view of Eschatology today?

We have the Dispensational views, the Reformed view, the other variations of Protestant views, and then there is the Catholic and so many subsets of each of these theologies. It should be clear, because God’s Word is clear when we take the time to see eschatological passages in their context, language, and genre structure. We need to see what is actually there, not what we want to be there. Like any other reading pursuit, you do not use a textbook for poetry or poetry for a lecture in biology or give a lecture at a wedding or a lullaby at a deposition in a court of law. That transpires in how you read a text: a novel versus a technical paper or directions.

A textbook is read and examined and notes taken whereas a novel is enjoyed and even skimmed. Language is predicted by its usage, meaning of context, and situation to name a few. This is true for any work of literature, including the Bible as it is a collection of literature, but also God’s Word. If we get this point we can get Eschatology, as the Church has for the most part. But in the last one hundred and fifty years and mainly in the last few decades, many new views of Eschatology have come about. Mainly from the absence of knowing and being willing to learn about the Bible, many factions and infighting and fringe groups have developed.

All because people claiming to know Christ as Lord no longer are effectively reading His Word the Bible; rather, they read into the Bible instead of reading from the Bible. They place into the Bible what they want it to say instead of taking out of the Bible what God actually says.

So people come to His most precious Word and seek what they want instead of what He has for us. These are most of the popular views; they can be fun and make for invigorating discussions. By the way, what is actually there is much more effectual and wondrous than any of our wild popular theories. Thus, when most Christians today get into the subjects of Biblical prophecy, eschatology, end times, and the Second Coming of Jesus, they get it wrong and in so doing make up theories and claim them as dogmatic fact, saying there will be a Rapture, what Israel’s role must be, the rise of an specific Antichrist and what he must do, a Seven year Tribulation, all that “must happen” for or before a Millennial reign and/or Christ Second Coming, and other various sub topics. And their only debate is not their biblical right for these things to exist, but what order, sequence, and what I heard Francis Schaeffer say to me on this, the particulars of nonsense.

Thus, what we have is a multitude of diverse opinions about what Biblical Eschatology is and how it relates to end times and how it affects the Church and Christ’s Second Coming.