Understanding Eschatology (End Times)

2 Minute Seminary: Understanding Eschatology (End Times)

Premillennialism

Premillennialism is the position that Christ will physically return before the literal 1,000-year reign on earth. When Christ returns, believers who have “fallen asleep” and those still present on the earth will receive their glorified resurrected bodies. Together all those in Christ will reign with Him on the earth for 1,000 years. At the end of this time, one last rebellion will come against God and His saints by Satan and those who still never repented. Ultimately, Satan will be destroyed and the wicked will face God’s everlasting judgement in the lake of fire. The new heaven and earth will come, and the elect of God will live with Him forever without sin, death, or sorrow.

Some also believe that Christ will rapture His Church prior to the tribulation period. Then He will bring them back to begin His 1,000-year reign. Others believe believers will be present either for part or all the tribulation period.

Amillennialism

Amillennialism argues that there is not, nor will there be a literal 1,000-year reign. Rather Christ is reigning in the hearts of His people. Those who agree with amillennialism do believe, however, that Christ will return one day to destroy Satan, his followers, and death. Until that day, Christ’s Church will experience suffering and persecution as the Gospel is preached. Yet, evil will never prevail over the Church and its mission to reach every nation. And one day the saints of God will live eternally with God in the new heaven and earth.

Postmillennialism

Postmillennialism asserts that Christ will return after the 1,000-year reign. However, unlike premillennialism, Christ’s millennial reign is from heaven, not earth. Adherents believe Christ exercises His reign through His Spirit and His Church’s proclamation of the Gospel. Another distinctive is that conditions of the earth will only improve as time draws closer to Jesus’s second coming. All aspects of life and culture will be redeemed.

At the end of the millennium, God will loosen His restraint on Satan and the wicked. Then Christ will come to defeat them once and for all, ushering in the new heaven and earth as well.


Please understand that each of these views are considered within the realm of orthodoxy. Historically, the Church has affirmed each of these views at different points in time. Most American Christians held to a form of postmillennialism during the Civil War. Go back and read some of the lyrics to the hymns that were written at that time. It wasn’t until the 20th century that premillenialism became the majority held view. Prior to all of this, many early church theologians held a very amillenial view of the end times. In other words, while we may not agree on everything, we are still brothers and sisters in Christ. Like one of my professors always said, “It will all work out in the end.”

What does the Bible say about mankind?

What Do I Believe About: Mankind

I believe that God created humans in His own image. Mankind is the pinnacle of God’s creation. Mankind has no existence or life outside of the existence of the living God. God created both male and female to glorify Himself and gave them dominion over all creation. He created mankind with the intention of having an intimate relationship with us. God made the first man (Adam) from the dust of the earth and the first woman (Eve) from man’s rib. God told them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Before the Fall, man was perfect and blameless before God. When Adam sinned against God, shame and death entered the world (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:4-25; 3:1-7; John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6).

I believe that humans were created as moral beings with the freedom to choose good or evil. We know the difference between right and wrong. However, in mankind’s fallen state, even our best deeds are sinful at their core. There is no one, apart from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is sinless (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 2:14-15; 3:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

I believe that sin is man’s rebellion against Holy God—it separates us from having a relationship with the Father. Every person is deserving of eternal damnation for his or her sin, regardless of its type or severity. Sin’s effect on creation is all encompassing, from our very own minds to the movement of the cosmos. All of creation is groaning to be restored when Christ returns to make a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23; 8:18-22; James 2:10; 2 Peter 3:7-13).

I believe that humans were created as immortal beings; we will live beyond our physical death. Furthermore, every person will stand before Almighty God and give an account for everything they have thought, said, and done. The saints of God will dwell with God for all of eternity, while the unregenerate will perish in Hell for all of eternity. Everything we do in this life matters to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

I believe that God also created humans as whole beings—the division between body, soul, and spirit is indistinguishable. While there is certainly an existence apart from our physical bodies, this splitting or division is not what God intended for humanity. This is another tragic reality of mankind’s sin (Genesis 2:7; Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 10:28; Mark 12:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).

I believe that every human is created equal, for God shows no partiality. Furthermore, men and women, though different anatomically and in their respective roles, are viewed as equals in the eyes of God. Within marriage, the husband’s role is to be the spiritual leader of his household and to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. The wife is to be submissive to the leadership of her husband, as the Church submits to Christ, our Head. Just as Eve was created to be Adam’s helper, so are wives to be their husband’s helper. Marriage is ultimately a picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Genesis 2:18-22; Romans 2:10-11; Ephesians 5:21-33; 1 Peter 3:1-7).

2 Minute Seminary: Dispensational and Covenant Theologies

2 Minute Seminary: Dispensational and Covenant Theologies

Here are several differences between dispensationalism and covenant theology in a 2 minute or so read.

Dispensational Theology

Dispensational theology centers around the idea that God has dealt with mankind differently throughout history based on that time period’s “dispensation” of revelation (i.e. pre-Fall, conscience, promise, Law, grace, etc.). While there are different thoughts on how many dispensations there are, most adherents believe in seven. Dispensationalists also hold to a very literal interpretation of Scripture. This literal approach is the reason most dispensationalists believe in a clear distinction between Israel and the Church—God’s specific promises to Israel in the OT were for the Jews, and some have yet to be fulfilled.

Covenant Theology

Covenant theology believes that God has worked in covenants rather than dispensations. Most covenant theologians believe in two distinct covenants: a covenant of works (pre-Fall) and a covenant of grace (post-Fall). The idea is that in the Garden of Eden, Adam’s eternal life was dependent upon his perfect obedience to God. After the Fall, mankind’s eternal life was only obtainable by grace through faith. It is important to note that many covenant theologians believe that God did not abolish the covenant of works, rather Christ came and fulfilled it to make the covenant of grace possible.