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Eschatology: A Brief Intro to The Four Views of the End Times

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    Eschatology: A Brief Intro to The Four Views of the End Times

    by Vern S. Poythress

    Historical Premillenalism (HPM)

    At the end of the present age there will be great tribulation, followed by the second coming of Jesus Christ. When He comes, the Antichrist will be judged, the righteous resurrected, Satan bound & then will follow a thousand year reign. At the end of the millennium Satan will be released for a short time in which he leads a rebellion against our Lord before being destroyed. The unrighteous will now be raised for judgment followed then by the New Heavens & Earth.

    This view more or less developed was the dominant position from 100-350AD It was held by Justin Maryt, Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian etc. After 500AD (Augustine destroyed it with his A Mill position which carried the day & the Church till 1800) it fell into disuse until its revival under Dispensationalists in the last century.

    Dispensational Premillenalism (DPM)

    This is by far the most complex of the four views, furthermore it is also radically diff from HPM since it teaches that Israel (always separate from the Church) are the recipients of the blessing of the Millennium, not the Church of Christ. They teach that the eschatological watch stopped for the age of Israel at the end of the 69th week at the death of Christ & therefore the rejection of the Messiah & His Kingdom.

    There is now a eschatological gap between the 69th & the 70th week (Dan 9) . The clock has stopped ticking for Israel & will not continue to tick again until the last week begins which will be ushered in by a political leader making a covenant with Israel.

    Thereafter, the Saints are raptured as Christ's returns in the clouds (not second coming) for His people. In the middle of the seventh week (31/2 years into the 7 year tribulation) the political leader will cease sacrifices in the rebuilt temple & the great tribulation will end with the battle of Armageddon, which will see Christ destroy His enemies.

    Now the nations who supported Israel will be gathered into the Millennium Kingdom, those who did not will be cast into the Hades to await the last the last judgment. Christ will reign from His throne in Jerusalem, the Temple will be re built, sacrifices (memorial) re instituted & Israel shall be exalted amongst the nations.
    At the end of the 1000 years Satan will be released, unbelievers will be marshalled & the rebellion against Christ will begin. It will be quickly destroyed. Then there will be the last judgment & finally the eternal state ushered in.

    Post Millennialism (PM)

    PM like AM believe the Millennium is that time between the first & second coming of Christ. They teach that there will be a golden age when the gospel will draw men to Christ in unprecedented numbers, ethnic Israel will be gathered in to receive her Messiah & the nations will be Christinised. There is an expectation of the whole nations being converted. At the end of such a golden age, there will be a brief rebellion, which will be destroyed. Christ then returns & ushers in the eternal state.

    A Millennialism (AM)

    Like PM, AM believes that the 1000 years are symbolic of the time of the last days (from first to second coming). AM expect a parallel growth of both good & evil, side by side. At the end of the Last days there will be great evil & tribulation followed by the second coming, general resurrection, last judgment & the introduction of the eternal state of the new heavens & earth.

    Even though I strongly agree with the early Church fathers of the 1st and 2nd centuries, I am not a "Historical Premillennialist". The main reason is because Historicists adhere to quite a few doctrines I do not find Biblical at all.

    Nor do I believe anyone can accurately categorize the early Church fathers of the 1st and 2nd centuries into the "Historicist" category or any Bible subject either. After all, the school of Historicism only began in the 19th century.

    I categorize the early Church father's of the 1st and 2nd centuries as having the 'original' interpretation of the last days events of this world and thereafter the millennial events and then new heavens and a new earth. How can anyone put them in a category other than their own?

    It's also recognized that it can be helpful for the believer to become somewhat familiar with the various categorizations dreamed up in the theological seminaries, just to be able to converse with those strict in any one such category. Other than that, use of such categories is a dead end when it comes down to the rubber meeting the road. It's fruit is just endless arguments, never actually coming to The Truth.

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