Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: Premillennialism, Dispensationalism and the Rapture

Friday, May 19, 2006

Premillennialism, Dispensationalism and the Rapture

You would not believe how many times I get asked about how the world will end. Of all my study of the Bible and religion, eschatology (the study of last things) is the branch of religion that I have studied the least, and I have done that purposefully. It is quite ironic that the issue most lay people and non-Christians want to talk to me about is the one issue I had rather avoid. Not because I think it is boring or unimportant, but because there is so much more to the Bible and to our Christian lives than trying to figure out how it will all end. There is one thing that I am certain of, and it is really all I personally need to know. . .Christ will one day return for His church and every knee will bow. That is my hope and security. Exactly how that happens is something we will never know until it happens, so I have always had a difficult time getting pumped up about studying it.

Having said that, let me write out some basic beliefs and principles here as clearly as I can. I think I will direct future questions from my friends and church members to this blog so they can just read it.

Premillennialism - This is the view, held by most Protestants, that the second coming of Christ will occur before the establishment of the millennium, which is the 1.000 year reign of Christ on earth. Premillennialists believe a tribulation period of 7 years will take place where an Antichrist will emerge and horror will be poured out upon the earth. At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus will visibly return to defeat Satan and the Antichrist and set up a millennial kingdom on earth. At the end of the 1000 years, Satan will be released and will attempt one more rebellion against God. He will be defeated once and for all and sent to the Lake of Fire for eternity.

Where things start getting confusing, and heated debates will erupt, is that there are two main forms or variations of Premillennialism. Those are Dispensational and Historic.

Dispensational Premillennialism - The two main differences between Dispensational and Historical Premillennialism is the understanding of the rapture and the emphasis given to the nation Israel. Dispensational Premillennialists believe that Christ will "rapture" his church before the beginning of the Tribulation, thus saving the believers from the wrath and torment. They also believe Israel will be saved and restored to a place of preeminence and will have a special function of service during the millennium.

Historic Premillennialism - This group denies the "pre-tribulation" rapture of the church and believes that the second coming of Christ and the rapture are all one event that will take place after the tribulation and before the millennial kingdom begins. Historic Premillennialists also believe that the nation Israel will not have a special role or function during the millennial kingdom that is different from the church.

There are also some Dispensationalists who hold to a "mid-tribulation" rapture idea, that the church will be caught up by Christ in the middle of the tribulation, after 3 1/2 years before the heavy-duty stuff begins.

Revelation 20:1-6 is where you can read about the millennial kingdom and begin studying for yourself if you so choose. Obviously, proponents of either view can quote scripture and defend their particular position. One thing, however, they will all agree on. The church will be victorious in Christ and will one day reign with Him!


Blogger Barry said...

What I can't quite figure out is why people care so much about the details.

All of it sounds so, I don't know....Lord of the Rings-esque that I find it hard to believe God would care about 1,000 year intervals 7 years of tribulation (as opposed to 8 or 10) and preeminance of one nation over the others, etc. It just seems to me that the popular interpretations of Revelation is more literal than necessary, and obsessing on the details is, in the end, pointless.

What's important is the lessons Christ taught us, and continues to teach us, on how to live our lives and love God today.

May 19, 2006 10:52 AM  
Blogger Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Hi. I'm like you in that eschatology is the field of theology that least appeals to me. But I too get lots of inquiries about the end times. And I often react as you do saying, "the one thing I am sure about is that Jesus Christ will return to judge the living and the dead."

If I may just add to your descriptions of end times positions. Traditional Lutherans and Calvinists are amillenialists. As is the Church of Rome. We do not believe the 1000 year reign of Christ is a physical, temporal reign on the earth but a reference to his spiritual reign which began when he ascended to the right hand of the Father. Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." I guess that technically we are not a-millenialists but a version of post-millenialism. We are in the millenium now and Christ is ruling his kingdom of grace in the Church. And at the end of this period, he will return to judge all people, separate the sheep from the goats, take his saints to be with him, condemn the unbelieving and destroy the world.

I am not saying this to start a debate. I'm not equipped to carry that out. Only wanted to add the Amillenial position to your descriptions.

Good blog, as always.

May 19, 2006 11:00 AM  
Blogger Secret Rapture said...

My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions!

Read My Inaugural Address Online
My Site = http://www.angelfire.com/crazy/spaceman
Your jaw will drop!

May 19, 2006 2:10 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

Um, ok. Thanks for playing and here's a copy of the home game...

May 19, 2006 2:22 PM  
Blogger The Beast said...

I have got to do something to stop the spam.

May 19, 2006 2:53 PM  
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March 03, 2007 4:07 AM  

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