I missed K week because I was playing in Florida with the kids and grand loves. So this week is pulling double duty with both M and K…or K and M for you OCD people.
There is a whole bunch of hoopla about the end times these days. And for good reason. The world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket on many fronts. As we race towards the end of the year, I expect this talk will increase with the Mayan calendar theories. And many people, regardless of who wins the election this year, will think the end of the world has come on November 7th.
But for most Christians, we fall into two main camps about end times theories; the Amillennialists and the Premillennialists. Here’s the Reader’s Digest abridged version of each position. These views are mainly based on New Testament Scripture and the very scary book called Revelation. They by no means cover all the nuances of the views, but you’ll get the general idea.
Premillennialists say at some point there will be a time called the Great Tribulation when God gets tired of the mess we’ve made of things down here. After that period, Christ will come and establish a kingdom on earth and reign for 1,000 years…aka a millennial kingdom. At that time, Satan and his forces will not be able to meddle in anyone’s affairs, and there will be peace on earth and goodwill towards men…just like we read in the Christmas cards. At the end of 1,000 years, Satan will be unleashed to wreak havoc again…only to be defeated by Christ once and for all. At that time, the final judgement of mankind will take place and a new heaven and earth will be created.
But, now it gets a bit trickier because in this camp, there are many different schools of thought on just exactly at what point will Christ return.
Pre-Tribulation Rapture: believers will be taken away before the start of the Great Tribulation
Mid-Tribulation Rapture: believers will be taken away at the mid-point of the Great Tribulation
Post-Tribulation Rapture: believers will be taken away at the conclusion of the Great Tribulation
Pre-Wrath Rapture: believers will go through some tribulation, but will be raptured up to heaven immediately before all hell breaks loose.
Partial Rapture: only those who are faithful in the church will be raptured, and the rest will either be raptured sometime during the tribulation or at its end if they come to faith in Christ during that time.
Amillennialists say there really isn’t a literal 1,000 year reign. The thousand year reference is figurative and represents a period of time or completeness (as do the numbers 7, 10, 40 and 100). Instead of a literal millennial kingdom, this camp believes we’re living in the “millennium” now. That this period is actually the time between Christ’s first coming and his second; Christ is presently reigning over a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of men, in heaven and in his Church. Upon Christ’s rather loud and obvious final return (1 Thess. 4:16–5:2), his sovereign reign will be consummated for all eternity. At that time there will be the final judgement of mankind, Satan will be permanently out of business, and the earth will be destroyed and recreated to be everything is was suppose to be. But until then, we’re all going through whatever the future holds…together.
With this theory, there is still a rapture of the believers, but it’s not a secret and happens right before the end of the world.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
~1 Thess. 4:16–5:2
Either way, it’s going to be quite a sight to see.
Linking up with ABC Wednesday