End-Times Discussion

It is not uncommon for Christians to be confused about the end-times. I have studied the Bible and read a few books on the end-times (not the Left Behind series!) and I have to admit, it is still confusing. The other day someone from church asked me whether or not unbelievers would be able to repent during the rapture. After I informed this person that the Reformed church does not believe in the rapture, because the rapture is not found anywhere in Scripture, confusion was then in our discussion.

When our thinking has been informed by popular (most often unbiblical) media such as the Left Behind series, or any of the numerous apocalyptic television shows and films, we become inundated with what we assume to be true about the return of Christ. There are varying opinions on the Second Coming and the events leading up to it. The disputed text is Revelation 20:1-6. To be fair to each view I would have to do some extra reading to present them accurately, but for now I would like to give a taste of the majority Reformed view known as amillennialism. I say that it is the “majority” Reformed view because even within the Reformed tradition there are those who hold to the postmillennial view. I will discuss the various views in later blog posts.

If you are interested in studying these things for yourself I recommend a few resources,

  • Three Views on the Millennium is a nice counterpoint book. Each author writes his respective view, then the other authors respond. It is a nice, usually cordial, argument. As I discuss each view I will also attach links to books, articles, and audio.
  • For amillennialism I recommend Kim Riddlebarger’s book, A Case for Amillennialism. If you are really interested in end-times discussion I would also encourage you to pre-order Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative
  • For a free booklet on each view you can click here. This is the work of David Murray, and I recommend going to his blog here.

David Murray has also put together a short video that presents the amillennial view.

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5 comments

  1. Sandra Newmyer · · Reply

    I believe that 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17 describes the event we call the Rapture. The Bible never mentions the word Trinity either, but we use that word to describe God.

    1. Thank you for your comment. You are right that the word “Trinity” is nowhere to be found in Scripture, but the doctrine of the Trinity is. On the other hand, Rapture, the word and the doctrine, are nowhere to be found in Scripture. The doctrine of the Rapture is relatively new to the church, around 200 years old.
      The Rapture doctrine teaches that Jesus will “rapture” the saints before a seven-year tribulation (at least before the last three and a half years “The Great Tribulation”) so that his saints will not experience this persecution. Then Christ will judge the earth after the tribulation setting up his millennial kingdom.
      The doctrine that is taught by dispensationialists is rather sensational and it has very little Scriptural warrant. The Bible does not tell us that Christians will be given a safe haven from persecution and tribulation, in fact the Bible promises that we will undergo such experiences, (John 15:20; 2 Timothy 3:12).
      The Bible tells that when Christ comes back the earth will be judged. If his saints are caught up in the air with him as he descends upon the cloud, then that is fine. I would not consider this the Rapture, but true and final resurrection for all believers. However, this is not proof for the doctrine of the Rapture. This is proof that God’s people will be united with the King, in fact not even death can separate us.

  2. […] The discussion in the posts to come will reside in the realm of the Second Coming of Christ. In a previous post I brought up the issues of popular media influencing our understanding of what the Bible actually […]

  3. […] may be beneficial to read my two previous posts (here and here) on certain end-times views. This may help you understand the reference and terminology a […]

  4. […] last post in a brief series looking at millennial views in End-times theology. The other posts are End-Times Discussion, Premillennialism, and […]

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