What is eschatology
Eschatology at its most basic level is a study of last days or end times. While it is not specific to Christianity, it will be so on this site. There are many schools of thought within the church on this subject, and we will briefly review them here.
The study of prophetic events is a popular one with many Christians, and until recently it has been difficult to pin down the precise meaning for much of the prophetic writings. Now, everything has changed. Between the plain revelations of current events along with a new systematic means of study of the Scriptures as they pertain to the prophetic writings, most specifically the second coming of Christ, for possibly the first time, we can confidently make sense of today’s events and foresee the soon return of Christ. It is truly an exciting time to be a follower of Christ, and at the same time a dreadful one for everyone else.
The interpretation of prophetic Scripture in this site is possibly a new one. Please understand. We are not reading into the passages something novel, but merely uncovering and making sense of what has been in plain view all along, also being assisted by events already past which also shed considerable light.
Because this view is new and contrary to other commonly held interpretations, particularly the popular evangelical “pre-trib” view, it is expected to be extremely offensive to many. To those truly wanting to follow Christ wherever He may go, we pray that this view will not be so offensive. It is in no way contrary to Scripture or the nature of God. Because terms such as tribulation and rapture are so loaded with innuendo, we ask that you set aside your current notions as to what these and other terms mean, and try to see the Scripture afresh. Only then, will you be able to grasp the meaning of what God is trying to tell us.
We will now examine some popular beliefs and briefly cite their shortcomings. More exhaustive coverage of this vast subject will be handled in other articles.
Many evangelicals have only been exposed to one view of the millenium – the pre-millenial one. There are two others. Since these other views are not as common, we will only deal with them briefly.
Post-millennial & Amillennial
These two views are so similar that I will not attempt to make a distinction, and instead address their similarities. Both view the millennium as having begun with Christ’s ascension to His heavenly throne, while His work on earth is carried out by the church. Only when the church has triumphed over the entire world will He return to Earth again.
While these views have some merit in their optimism, their merit is largely in its opposition to the “sit on the hands” view of many pre-millennialists. It is our view, that Christ’s followers should be always actively engaged in warning people of the wrath to come, as well as building God’s kingdom by not only evangelism, but also by child-bearing. We should plan for the future, yet live each day to its fullest. This is the primary virtue of these two schools.
The actual interpretation of events is sadly not supported by Scripture in my opinion, but the optimistic view does have merit.
This is the conventional view of not only evangelicals, but also the early church. It enjoys the full support of Scripture with the exception of a few difficult passages, some of which we will be able to resolve with our comprehensive interpretation. This view is also our own.
The term preterism is no doubt unfamiliar to most pre-millennialists. It is an adjunct view to the millennialism views. It is usually considered by those of the post and amillennial schools. In its most basic understanding, it is the view that some of the prophetic Scriptures describing events after Christ’s Resurrection have already been fulfilled. More specifically, many of these passages are considered to have described the events in and around 70 A.D. when the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed.
Preterism either in part or in whole is fundamental to the post and amillennial views. In contrast, the pre-trib, pre-millenial school so commonly held by evangelicals is frequently violently opposed to any such notion. Unfortunately, their total rejection of the ideas of preterism are what has led the leaders of the school so far astray.
A key idea of the pre-trib/pre-mil school popularized by Hal Lindsey and the like, is that no prophecy has been fulfilled since Christ’s resurrection. It is as if the Bible has been absolutely silent regarding the last 2000 years of history. This idea is frankly ludicrous. As we shall see in other articles, considerable prophecies have been fulfilled during these intervening years, and not just the prophecies regarding Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 A.D.
The correct view on this matter is to take the prophecies at face value and match them up to events as they have clearly occurred – no more, no less. In this way, we will clearly see that partial preterism is true – many prophecies were fulfilled in the events surrounding 70 A.D., but not all. There have been many events in the time since then which have fulfilled other important and specific prophecies. Some of these events will be key to understanding the prophecies being fulfilled today.
Timing of the Rapture
Pre-millennialists are commonly divided into three camps regarding the timing of the rapture – pre-trib, mid-trib and post-trib, where “trib” refers to a seven-year period of tribulation and God’s wrath upon the earth. Here is where we significantly depart not only from not only the pre-trib school, but the others as well.
The idea of a seven-year tribulation is not at all clear from Scripture. It stems from a singular interpretation of the prophet Daniel’s “seventy weeks”. This passage is so obscure that we cannot be at all sure of much of anything at this point. Has it already been fulfilled? Is the last week really refer to the Hal Lindsey interpretation? We greatly hesitate to place full weight on such shaky ground and so should you. We prefer the more solid foundation laid by Christ and His apostles.
So, until more is understood, we must set aside the whole idea of a seven-year tribulation. So you may understand this website’s view, you must do the same – at least for the moment.
Now without a sacred tribulation and all its loaded meanings, we can examine more clearly the rapture itself. In more clearer waters, we will learn that Paul and Christ accurately place the timing of the rapture. We will not go into details now, but let it suffice for the moment these key ideas.
First, that Christ does indeed come for his church in what we call the “rapture”. In this much we agree with the all the pre-millennialists, including the pre-trib faction.
Second, the rapture will not come until several key prophecies are fulfilled, including the manifestation of the beast, the persecution of the church by him, and many other trials. As we will see, the Scriptures are abundant and clear on these points. To deny them is an utter distortion of their teachings.
Third, the rapture will take place before God’s wrath upon the world. With this idea, we indeed agree with the pre-trib folks. Scripture is also very clear, that we are not appointed to God’s wrath. It does not say we will be spared tribulation or trials however. Scripture is also abundantly clear on that point as well. Please understand the distinction – tribulation is from the world; wrath is from God. The church is subject to the former, but not the latter. There is a reason the word “tribulation” is used in Scripture. It is the Trial of the Saints, not the wrath of God!
The entire confusion among these three camps all boils down to this seven-year tribulation which has been erroneously equated with God’s wrath. Scripture in no where teaches this idea. Tribulation and wrath are different concepts, and the seven-year combination of them is even more preposterous. Let us bury this bad idea once and for all. Only then will the clear light of Scripture shine through in men’s hearts and minds.