Elements of a Biblical Eschatology, Part 7

At one time or another, I have been a premillennialist, postmillennialist, or amillennialist.  I believe all three positions have something valuable to contribute to the discussion.  Premillennialism reminds us of the “earthiness” of the Kingdom of Christ.  Postmillennialism summons us to confidence in our mission to reach the world for Christ and to develop human culture in a way that glorifies God.  Amillennialism draws our focus to the return of Christ as the only hope for this world. 

Growing up I was a dispensational premillennialist because that was what I heard from the pulpit at my home church.  I am now convinced that dispensationalism is basically an incorrect approach to Scripture.  The appeal by dispensationalists to a “literal” hermeneutic is inconsistent and unclear.  In any case, what they often mean by “literal” actually means “wooden,” which is not the correct way to read many passages of Scripture.  Traditional dispensationalism errs in its bifurcation of God’s people into two separate groups with two separate destinies, and I cannot make any sense out of a millennial idea that includes a rebuilt temple with a renewed sacrificial system.  I believe that idea tramples the book of Hebrews to the ground.

Toward the end of my college years and at the beginning of my seminary days, I was a postmillennialist.  I was attracted to the idea that one day the world would be redeemed by Christ (not in the sense that every single individual would be saved, but the world as a whole and in general).  But I have since abandoned that position for two major reasons.  First, there are a number of passages in Scripture that lead me to believe that ungodliness and tribulation will increase and intensify as we near the end (Revelation, Matthew 24, etc.).  Although I flirted with postmillennial explanations of these passages for a while, I am now convinced that they are simply inadequate.  Second, postmillennialism removes from theology the idea of the imminent return of Christ.  But I see that idea in the New Testament as the hope of all believers.  Postmillennialism cannot help but put something else (the golden age of Chrstianity) before us as our nearest hope for the future.  I find this inconsistent with the New Testament teaching about the return of Christ, which is our hope.

That leaves amillennialism and historic premillennialism.  Between these two, historic premillennialism must bear the burden of proof.  Amillennialism is the position with the fewest loose ends, and a number of biblical passages bring together the ideas of resurrection, the return of Christ, the final judgment, and the new creation (see, for example, 2 Peter 3:1-13).  Premillennialism carries a lot of baggage with it: two resurrections separated by a thousand years, a millennial kingdom in which some who have been resurrected live on the earth with others who live and die, a temporal separation between the return of Christ and the final consummation of the new creation.

Until recently, taking these things into consideration, I was an amillennialist.  But now I am convinced, after further study, that historic premillennialism actually does meet the burden of proof from Scripture.  I know that, as a premillennialist, I must affirm some strange things.  That made me reluctant, going in, to embrace this position.  But I am convinced that only the premillennial reading of Revelation 20 does justice to the text.  I will deal with that and with some other passages in the next post, but for now let me offer a brief synopsis of my eschatological position:

1. Jesus Christ inaugurated his Kingdom by his first coming, and he now reigns at the right hand of the Father over it.

2. The church is the visible expression of the Kingdom of Christ in this present age, which is actually a period in which the old age of sin and death overlaps with the new age of life and peace.

3. As we near the end of this present period in redemptive history, evil will intensify.  I believe there is no biblical basis to affirm a literal seven-year tribulation period prior to the millennium.  That is based on a misreading of Daniel 9.  I do, however, believe that this present age is “the tribulation” for God’s people, and that it will intensify as we near the end. 

4. Antichrist is a recurring figure in history, and the concept may include not only individuals but also nations, institutions, movements, etc.  I do believe that there will be one final climax to this recurring pattern, a final, personal antichrist who will wield massive power over this world.  I do not, however, believe that we should try to identify the final antichrist.  We may point to certain individuals and movements as antichrists, but I doubt that we will ever be able to say, “So-and-so is the Antichrist” until after the fact.

5. Jesus Christ will return at the end of the tribulation period.  At his return, all who have died in Christ will be raised, and those believers who are alive at the time will be instantaneously clothed with resurrection bodies.  The first resurrection is only for believers, and we will reign with Christ on the earth.

6. At his return, Jesus Christ will destroy the organized opposition to his Kingdom and send the Antichrist and the false prophet to Hell.  This does not mean, however, that the earth will be rid of all unbelievers (I will discuss this further in the next post dealing with Revelation 20).  The nations, as such, will still be here, and with Christ we will rule over them. 

7. This millennial kingdom may or may not last for a literal thousand-year period.  Given the way Revelation uses numbers as symbols, I am inclined to believe that the thousand years simply means an extended period of time.  But then, why not a thousand years? 

8. During this time the ages will still overlap, but the new age will become much more prominent and dominant over the old, though sin and death will still exist for those who were not part of the first resurrection.  However, due to the fact that Satan is bound for the duration of the millennial kingdom, these powers will be subdued to a great extent.  I think this means that there will be massive evangelistic success.  It may even be that during the millennium the number of the redeemed will finally grow to outnumber those who are unredeemed in the scope of human history. 

9. Nevertheless, as a testimony to the persistent rebellion of the human heart, Satan will still be able to gather a massive rebellion against Christ and his people at the end of this period when he is released.  This rebellion will be put down quickly and will be followed by the final judgment.  At this time the rest of the dead will be raised, including all unbelievers and those believers who, due to the circumstances of time, were not participants in the first resurrection. 

10. After the final judgment all unbelievers will be condemned to Hell forever, and all believers will inherit a new heaven and a new earth.  God will be all in all. 

I have not given the justification for this belief yet.  That would make this post too long.  But I assure you, I have thought this through very carefully and have tried to consider it from every angle.  In part 8 I will make a biblical case for this position. 

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17 Responses to “Elements of a Biblical Eschatology, Part 7”

  1. ali Says:

    Hey, that’s great. I wasn’t aware of the details of this position. What you have summarised fits in with much of what I saw when I was trying to figure out my position solely based on the text – I didn’t know the details of the prominent positions except dispensationalism. There are some big differences also, but this position excites me.

    At the time I thought that God set up history so that humanity would be without excuse – i.e. so they would not be able to say, “If only”. There has been a periods of increasing revelation so humans can’t say, “If you’d left us alone we’d have been able to survive”, or “If you had been ruling over us visibly we would have been okay”. God instead shows that regardless what circumstances humanity is in, they will still rebel and sin against God without His grace.

    Ramble ramble. I’m looking forward to your next post!

  2. Todd Says:

    Appreciate your approach. I have embraced the historic premillennial position. At first I thought it was a recovery room for dispensational premils but feel that it does the best of dealing with Revelation 20. I could not buy Anthony Hoekema’s non-sequential interpretation, though I readily agreed that Peter sure seemed to present a Amillennial position. Look forward to reading the rest of your articles. I have also enjoyed reading Ladd.

  3. Melanie Stephan Says:

    Hi Ali and Todd. This is an important message, please read and pass it along. God has made contact. The message is about Revelation. The message is from God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost respectively. It was sent in the Spring of 2006. It is about the meaning of First is Last and Last is First as written in Revelation. The message is this: In the morning I go to Heaven. In the afternoon I live my life. In the evening I die, death. What does this mean? In other words this means Birth is Last and Last is Birth. To understand this don’t think from point A to point B. Think of this as a continous circle of life. Birth is First, Life, Death, Birth is Last and completing the circle. God also said that Judgment will be before Birth in Heaven. AS birth on Earth is painful so will birth in Heaven. It is possible that this message was delivered by one of God’s Angels in the Spring of 2006. Yes, God has made contact and he sent a messenger. Spread this message along, just like a chain letter. Tell two people. Melanie Stephan

  4. Melanie Stephan Says:

    This is not a joke or a Lie. Jesus returned in Spirit in the Spring of 2006. He talked to only one person. Again this is not a Lie. Jesus is real, God is real and Revelation is true.

  5. Melanie Stephan Says:

    You can read more of what God had to say during the month of Aug. 2007, on this website
    Non-Prophet, Are you going to Hell?

  6. Kiwi and an Emu. Says:

    […] Elements of a Bibilical Eschatology, Part 7.  What Aaron was and what he is now. […]

  7. Melanie Stephan Says:

    In 2007, God had this to say:
    WE each die in succession, then we are born on the same day.

  8. Melanie Stephan Says:

    This is one small piece of proof that God talked to me:

    Like I said earlier, the Holy Spirit talked to me, besides his message about First is Last and Last is First, he had something to say about “Who Killed JFK”. Christ tells me that the man who shot JFK is a policeman. He also tells me the name of the shooter, but it is in a jumbled word. The word is “Fritters”. I see the name F. Ritter right off so I think that is the name of the killer. Now God has lots of other messages for me to figure out, so I put “who Killed JFK” on the back burner for over a year. A year or more later , just recently, I have more time to look for F. Ritter. I can’t find a policeman with that name who lived in Dallas, Texas in 1963. So I am searching for information about who killed JFK and there is a picture of a policeman by the name of J D Tippit. Now Tippit kind of looks like Ritter. Now I unjumble the letters of Ritter to get TIRRET. Now TIRRET looks more like TIPPIT. Now I make the R’s stand at attention, I get TIPPET. One problem is that the I and the E are not the same. So I do some research on the family name TIPPIT. Turns out that in the late 1800’s JD Tippit’s grandfather changed their name from Tippett to Tippit. So the next step I change the E to I. So Tippet is now Tippit.
    Now I have FS Tippit and JD Tippit. The first two initials are not the same. Next I go to Wikipedia there I find; “Some thought that J D stood for “Jefferson Davis” however JD does not stand for anything”. That means his name is just J D. So the initials F S , do not stand for anything. I just have two initials that do not stand for anything. Are you following me?

    Next what does “FRITTERS” mean. If your following my thinking here, God is going to tell you what happened to JD Tippit after he was shot. Fritters are a dough that is deep fried. Bread also means body, like in the last super Christ takes the bread and says this is my body. Look in the dictionary, PIT means HELL. TIP means money paid, gratuity. There are other meanings to. These meanings tell a story.

    JD Tippits body (dough) is placed in the deep fryer (lake of fire). Now I think this clue (Fritters) was ingenius. After all God came up with it. I think he does have a sense of humor too. Kids now have a new game to play. They can play God. Pilsbury dough boy fry’s in the lake of fire. You get HELL! fry baby fry!

    If you think this is just crazy. Remember I am just the messenger. Jesus is the one that had to talk about JFK. So he had a reason for doing that. Only God knows who the killer is. This is proof that Christ talked to me and that is the reason he told me “Who killed JFK”. It is proof. I had forgotten about the case years ago. This is a cold case now, it been 45 years since the shooting.

    I also read the part about giving false prophesy. God says false prophets go to Hell or something like that. I only repeat what God told me. Now what I wrote above is from God. He told me who killed JFK in 2006. The above is not a lie or a joke and I am going to HEAVEN without fear.

    Before I forget. Gods messeges usually have more than one meaning. F S could also stand for “Fence Shooter”.

    Who are the co-conspirators? Turns out that there are two policemen named Tippit, and one Tippett working in the Dallas police Department that same year(1963). Back to the clue word Fritters. That is plural, you know about plural. We have two fritters. The co-conspirators name is Gayle M. Tippit.

    Now the Dallas Police Departtment obviously covered up and framed Oswald. He was the Patsy. They did it cause it is very possible that one of the other police officers rushing to the scene saw Tippet fleeing the scene carrying a rifle. They covered it up because of the embarrassment of one of their own was the man that killed JFK? And the Warren commission must have also figured that out so they stuck with the Dallas Dept. story saying that it was Oswald. It could have been a National embarrassment. Now if you look at the evidence like I did. It is easy to see that the DAllas Police Dept tampered with the evidence over and over again. And they did a very bad job of it too.

    Now this is my opinion, not Gods. I think God is behind the creation of the Internet. I could never have been able to figure out a lot of his messages without the use of the Internet. People on the Net have been a big help to me. God talks to other people too, they just don’t know it. God let me know it was him.

    Now I just made solving the case of “Who shot JFK?”, look easy. I also gave you proof here. Did you see it? You ask where’s the proof. The proof is that it is impossible for anyone to repeat what I just did above. I mean try it. And I do that over and over again in all of God’s messages.
    See if you can make up a word that is a fried food (like fritters). Unjumble the letters to reveal the name of the killer (Tippit). Then divide the word Tippit into words that describe what happened. Tip- means that JD Tippit was paid for the job and the presidency was over turned. Pit – means that he went to Hell for what he did. Pit means the worst Hell.

    See if you can prove me wrong. Show me how easy it is to make up a name like “Fritters” that solves the crime. This clue is ingenious. God came up with the name “FRITTERS”. God is a genius, not me. I am only the messenger.

    Then the two remaining letters F. S. stands for Fence Shooter. It’s INGENIUS!

    Then on top of that it just so happens that there are two Tippit’s working in the Dallas Police Department in 1963. Fritters (plural) means we have more than one Fritter going in the deep fryer . The other shooter is Gayle M. Tippit. He goes to Hell too. Now I did some research on Gayle M Tippit. There is very little information on him unlike JD Tippit. In my search I found two Gayle Tippit’s still in Dallas. One died in 1967 and the other is married and still lives in Texas. So the other conspirator could still be alive and has managed to avoid detection.

    This is where it gets intesting. Does Gayle M. Tippit come forward and ask God to forgive him? I think he also has to ask the American people to forgive him for his part in the murder of the president or he gets the worst Hell just like JD did. God told me that waiting until the 11th hour is too late. God is forgiving, but you can’t wait until your on your death bed to ask to be forgiven.

    Now if Gayle M. Tippit wants to save himself from the deep fryer. (This could be a long fry, not a quick dip.) He has to come forward and ask to be forgiven. He still gets death or Hell but it won’t be the worst Hell. Just like the worst death is being crucified.

    Gods messenger, Melanie Stephan

  9. Melanie Stephan Says:

    Correction: to the meaning of First is Last and Last is First. It means that Birth is Last and Birth is First. Sorry for the error. It takes time to figure out what God is saying cause he talks in symbols.

  10. fenderpooh Says:

    Melanie, is this a joke?

  11. Melanie Stephan Says:

    fenderpooh,

    This is not a joke or a lie. Hand on Bible, “So help me God”.
    I have lots more proof like above. I have a big story to tell. As told to me from the Holy Spirit.

    I would love to see the face of Gayle Marshall Tippit and the DAllas Police Department when they find out that God saw everything. God saw everything. OH, and what they get in the next life for their part in the murder and coverup of John Kennedy. They deserve what they get. The is real Justice System at Work. God all might’y Justice.

  12. fenderpooh Says:

    Melanie,

    If you are being serious about this, then I strongly urge you to stop relying on subjective impressions and build your faith on Scripture.

  13. Melanie Stephan Says:

    God disagrees with the New Testament. The NT is written in Greek because it was written by the Romans and not the disciples. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew because it was written by the Jews.

    Je-sus is a greek word. It is not a jewish name. Yeshua is the name of the messiah in the OT. Go look up the meaning of Je-sus. It is two greek words that have been combined together to create a name. That will tell you exactly what the Romans thought of the Jews.

    You know how to Google don’t you. Google “Meaning of the Greek word Sus”.

    I am as serious about this. I can debate this untill Kingdom come.

  14. Melanie Stephan Says:

    The Romans thought they were superior to everyone. The Jews were considered to be swine by the Romans. The Romans thought they were smarter and better than other races. When the Romans starting writing the New Testament they were making fun of the Jews and their religion. The name Jesus is not tranlated. The letter J does not exist in Hebrew or the Jewish language. Je-sus is a made up name from two words in the greek language. Other people know the meaning besides me. I just found out within the last year. The name Je-sus means Pigman. That’s right is means Pigman. That is exactly what the Romans thought of the Jews and their religion. They are making fun of you. You have no idea how bad I felt that I had been decieved.

    Now you don’t have to believe me. Now that we have the Internet it is easy to find information. Google the “meaning of the Greek word Sus”. You will find exactly what I did.

    Before 1600 the name Jesus was spelled Iesus. . . . Go look it up. That is a good example of tinkering in the bible. Only the Church had a copy of the bible back then. The common man was not allowed to have a bible. That is so the Church could continue tinkering with the bible. Tinker Tinker making changes.

    Gods Messenger, Melanie

  15. Melanie Stephen Says:

    fenderpooh,
    The romans made up scripture in the New Testament. It is not the word of God. God disagrees with the New testament. First off God says that Jesus lived his life in Jeresalem. Then he says that Jesus is taken to Rome with other prisoners to be crucified. Jesus dies in Rome not Jerusalem. That is the word of God. So the romans are liars, Amoung other things.

  16. Melanie Stephan Says:

    From what I am being told by God is that Jesus is not the Messiah. The Romans made up a story.

    So, Who is the Messaih? God has told all of us who the Messiah is in a word puzzle. If we go to the Old Testament the name of the Messiah is “Yeshua”. God created the languages. It says so in the story about the Tower of Babel. Yeshua is a scrambled word. If you rearange the letters you get the name of the Messiah. The Messiah is “Hey USA”. For all of you that think this does not prove anything, try taking a word, rearrange the letters and come up with a word that descrbes a person to a Tee. I can also get another word out of Yeshua for all of the non-believers. The scrambled word is “Yeah Us”. For all of us living the The United States of America, all of us together are the Messiah. The Messiah is a Nation. America has been the Savior for Israel.

  17. Melanie Stephan Says:

    The Messiah has finally arrived.

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