Unless all you watch is TBN and believe The Left Behind series is a must-read for any Christian, then you won’t be surprised to know there are many widely varying ideas and interpretations of “last days” prophecy. Subsequently, you shouldn’t be surprised that I take issue with many of them. Lately I’ve been thinking about the pessimism or optimism of different views, and being a postmillennialist of sorts I am led to different conclusions than many other types of guys. (When I say I’m a postmillenialist “of sorts” that means don’t blame Post Mill guys like B.B Warfield and Lorraine Boettner for my theologically imprecise ideas)Anyway, let me illustrate this without trying to alienate anybody:

 

There are different varieties of Dispensationalists to be sure, and I am not taking to time to try and distinguish between the radical Hal Lindsey type guys or the more sober John Macarthur type guys, so I’ll just try not to throw the more conservative guys under the bus in my criticism. But the indisputable fact is that Dispensationalists believe we are inevitably heading for a holocaust, the likes of which we have never seen in Earth’s history because it will be a fulfillment of the “Great Tribulation” of Matthew 24. (I hold to a preterist or “already fulfilled” view of Matthew 24, being fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem circa A.D. 70.) But to these guys, it’s unavoidable, inescapable, and every day we march closer and closer to it. Famines, floods, pestilences, increase in false teachers, peoples hearts growing cold, etc, you get the idea. The more zealous bunch interpret every contemporary sign as bringing us even closer to this- the Iraq war or even the slightest rumbling in middle-eastern relations, high gas prices, a tornado in the Midwest, earthquakes. But I just don’t believe the doomsday hype, from a scriptural point of view or even from the arguments we hear from the secular world. That means I don’t see population growth, hunger, or nuclear destruction as imminent earth-ending threats. I don’t even believe in global warming as a permanent threat that we have to fight to ensure the future of humanity, so sorry to Al Gore; your Nobel Peace prize will have to comfort you to sleep tonight, and sorry as well to Pat Robertson and Al Sharpton of ww.WeCanDoIt.com. I don’t believe earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tornados, or hurricanes are increasing in volume or intensity. If that statement angers you, then I challenge you to look it up yourself

 

 

Amillenialists have a view that is unavoidably just as pessimistic even if it lacks the sensationalism. In their speculation of the future, souls might become regenerate, the Holy Spirit might work in mighty ways, and the Gospel might increase in its influence from time to time in certain eras (which we would probably label ‘revival’). There is, however; NO assumption or even hope of the Gospel’s influence steadily increasing through time. In other words, we are in decline spiritually as a church, and our physical world is growing worse. And according to many I have spoken with, there is no reason to expect this to change.

 

Yet the theme I come away from the Bible with is that the Kingdom of God will increase through time. Jesus described it as yeast that will leaven the whole loaf and a mustard seed that will grow to a mighty tree. This implies growth; gradually, progressively, taking place over a great period of time. One minute he describes the growth of the Kingdom of God to his disciples with these images, and the next minute tells them the Kingdom is like a “net thrown into the sea” and that they are to be “fishers of men”. The kingdom grows by people entering it. Redeemed people. Regenerate people. People’s lives who are supposed to be changed by grace, which would in turn….. change the world one person at a time for the better. You know, greater outpouring of generosity and charity, a higher view of life and greater concern for those who are suffering in this world, grievous sin decreasing, and in general a higher enlightenment.

 

I know what some might be thinking, “But isn’t that what Heaven is for? I mean, isn’t it ok for this world to suck because we have the assurance that we will one day be before the throne of Christ in Heaven?” To which I would reply that we have to distinguish between the nature of fallen creation, and the direction we expect it to take. The two are quite separate. The issue here is, “Is it going to get better or is it going to get worse?” Is it ok to see all the sin, disease, and suffering of this world and our souls be troubled? Yes, I would hope that we would be troubled by it. But is it ok to assume that it is only going to get worse because its as bad as it is? I’m not convinced that we should base such a prediction on the nature of creation, fallen that it is. God works a mighty miracle within our hearts in regeneration. He renews in us a part of what we were before Adam’s sin, why should we not apply this same idea to creation itself?

 

I cannot break this idea/concept down into a timeline or a nice illustrated chart like dispensationalists love to have of their view, so I apologize to those who need such a clear cut explanation, and a compartmentalized way to look at it. There are times scriptures leaves us with some loose ends that theologically we lack the understanding to “tie up”, but that doesn’t mean God has not worked it out from the “foundation of the world” and it’s merely part of his “secret counsel”, and frankly none of our business.

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