Who’s Right About The End Times? 10 Reasons Why They Are Convinced

EndtimesA common debate among Christians is how the end times will work themselves out before Jesus returns. There are compelling reasons why some Christians cling to their particular end-time world view. I’ve highlighted some of the key points that resonate with them. I suppose it is predictable that believers can look at the same Scriptures and come away with different interpretations. Witnesses often can’t describe the same car accident to authorities. Some say Bible prophecy isn’t important. Yet with almost a quarter of the Bible dealing with prophecies this is something God definitely wanted us to study. There are many points of view on this subject, and how you and I interpret these Scriptures affects how we will view many other scriptures. There are two groups that seem to disagree the most. I have generalized (even over-simplified) these two points of view for those who are new to the discussion. I give some suggested reading at the end of the article as well.*

So let’s look at two belief systems that often clash with each other. The Premillennial/Futurist view refers to the millennial reign of Christ that takes place in the future after a great tribulation (Christ’s kingdom comes in the future). The Postmillennial/Preterist view states the reign of Christ has begun and the apocalyptic events of the last days of the Old Covenant were experienced in Jerusalem in 70 A.D (Christ’s kingdom is here now).

Here are some reasons why their followers can look at the same Scriptures but come away with a different End Time point of view…

  1.  THEY BOTH BELIEVE BIBLICAL PATTERNS AND CONTEXT IS VITAL

Premillennial / Futurist View They follow the Biblical pattern of fulfilled prophecy which had a partial immediate fulfillment yet will have a secondary ultimate fulfillment centuries later.

Postmillennial / Preterist View They follow the Biblical pattern of fulfilled prophecy. Jesus was speaking only to His generation. Historical records back it up.

  1.  THEY BOTH BELIEVE THEIR VIEW IS A SIMPLE NARRATIVE TO FOLLOW

Premillennial / Futurist View They believe the world gets worse, the Church gets persecuted more, and then Jesus comes back.

Postmillennial / Preterist View They believe the Church advances the Gospel to all nations more, and then Jesus comes back.

  1.  THEY BOTH ARE COMFORTED SEEING THE SCRIPTURES CONFIRMED TODAY

Premillennial / Futurist View They are comforted knowing the Bible is validated by so many prophetic current events happening right in front of them in the News.

Postmillennial / Preterist View They are comforted knowing the Bible is validated despite the sensationalism of the News; the actual data shows the Church is advancing.

  1.  THEY BOTH BELIEVE THE OTHER GUYS ONLY LISTEN TO ONE SIDE OF THE STORY

Premillennial / Futurist View They see the other guys as pie-in-the-sky idealists refusing to acknowledge the bad news.

Postmillennial / Preterist View They see the other guys as insecure, fear-based humans only acknowledging the bad news.

  1.  THEY BOTH BELIEVE THE OTHER GUYS CAN LOOK BAD

Premillennial / Futurist View The other guys sound like Israel refusing to listen to their prophets’ warning about impending doom by discounting the signs as silly or impossible.

Postmillennial / Preterist View The other guys have predicted the end of the world in every generation for the last two thousand years without ever acknowledging their errors.

  1.  THEY BOTH BELIEVE THEIR VIEW IS A MOTIVATION FOR MINISTRY

Premillennial / Futurist View The sense of the time being short and imminent judgment motivates believers to repent and spread the Gospel with missionary zeal.

Postmillennial / Preterist View The sense of destiny to take the nations with the Gospel motivates believers to take dominion in every sphere of life with missionary zeal.

  1.  THEY BOTH BELIEVE THEIR VIEW TAKES FAITH FOR WHAT’S COMING

Premillennial / Futurist View They believe we need to prepare the Church for the terrible times about to take place on planet earth to test every believer.

Postmillennial / Preterist View They believe it doesn’t take faith to watch things get worse; things do that all by themselves. Advancing the Kingdom of God takes faith.

  1.  THEY BOTH USE THE NEWSPAPER TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE

Premillennial / Futurist View They use today’s New York Times to confirm their interpretation of the Bible.

Postmillennial and Preterist View They use the Jerusalem Times of 70 A.D. to confirm their interpretation of the Bible.

  1.  THEY BOTH BELIEVE THERE IS AN ANTICHRIST

Premillennial / Futurist View They believe an antichrist will appear in the last days, during a one world government to declare himself as God before Jesus comes to set up His kingdom for thousand years.

Postmillennial / Preterist View They believe John identified Nero Caesar as the antichrist who appeared in the last days of the Old Covenant and declared himself as God as Jesus set up His kingdom forever.

  1.  THEY BOTH BELIEVE IN A VICTORIOUS ESCHATOLOGY

Premillennial / Futurist View They believe that despite the Antichrist, the persecution and the Tribulation, Jesus returns and defeats all His enemies and wins in the end.

Postmillennial / Preterist View They believe that despite the antichrist spirit, the persecutions and the tribulations, Christ’s enemies are made His footstool and He wins in the end.

As you can see there are real reasons why different Christians believe what they believe. Is there be a place to meet in the middle or can there be a synthesis of the two points of view? I think there are strengths and weakness in both points of view. Let us loving work together to find common ground without demonizing the other guys. That way we will fulfill Ephesians 4 and “grow up into all things into Him who is the Head – Christ”.

*For those who were brought up listening to Hal Lindsey, Jack Van Impe, Tim Lahaye, Ed Hinson, Irwin Baxter, John Hagee, Grant Jeffery, or Perry Stone you may want to read some books from guys on the other side. Here are a few suggestions. You can start with a free online version of Raptureless by Jonathan Welton. Also The Last Days According to Jesus by R.C. Sproul, Victorious Eschatology by Harold Eberle and Martin Trench, Before Jerusalem Fell by Kenneth Gentry, Days of Vengeance by David Chilton, Unraveling the End by John Noe and Revelation for Everyone by N.T. Wright.

 

5 comments

  1. It seems to me that both views share the same problem in common even though they take two very different paths to get there. The premillennial futurist view (or dispensational premillennialism) teaches that believers in Christ won’t experience the end time persecution because they’ll be raptured before it happens. This is the pretribulational rapture view. The postmillennial preterist asserts that the great tribulation occurred during the events surrounding the Roman Empire’s siege of Jerusalem between 67-70 AD. For them, the end time persecution is a past event.

    Both dispensational premillennialism and postmillennial preterism assert that believers in Christ won’t experience any end time persecution either because they’ll be raptured before it occurs, or because it was an event fulfilled in our past. That doesn’t seem to be the teaching in 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy, 1-2 Peter, and Jude. I have good friends who hold to both positions; however, I’m concerned that pretribulational premillennialism and postmillennial preterism pave the way for offense toward the Lord should the days grow rougher for Christians. Jesus does warn about those who fall away due to persecution because of the word in Matthew 13:3-8 & 18-23.

    1. Yes. God’s Word (and the “facts” in our faces) tell us we are continuing into the times,”as it was in the days of Noah,” that the Lord Jesus will return visibly, personally and suddenly, to take fiery vengeance “on them that know not God.” Neither system, Pre- or Post-, has prepared its adherents to face the plain truth about His Coming in 2 Peter 3:9-13.

      1. I agree most with the last article, by B.A.Gridd. The Apostle Peter referred to “the Day of the Lord” as literally the final day for life on Earth as we know it. God will use a massive fire then and afterwards God”s true people, born again by the Spirit and saved by divine grace in Christ, they will enter a new place where sin will be no more.

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