Some eschatological thoughts

April 6, 2008 at 6:48 pm | Posted in Eschatology, Theology | 1 Comment

In our recent Sunday class on end times, I told of my journey from a Dispensational Pre-Millennium, Pre-Tribulation understanding to an Historic Pre-Millennium, Post-Tribulation understanding.  I wasn’t able to give all the references and reasons.  Here are some notes from devotion times in recent years that have influenced that migration.

 

Mark 13 The more I read the more I become a Post-Trib.  I see no other way around passages like this.  Jesus is not just talking about the destruction of Jerusalem that was to come in 70AD, because of words like (v26) “At that time, men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds.”  Yet he says of the troubles (v19) “Those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning … and never to be equaled again.”  If this is not the “Great Tribulation,” as Pre-Mills like to call it, then it is something far worse, because it will never be equaled again!  Isn’t it the Pre-Mills who pride themselves on “literal interpretation” of the Bible?  The only literal interpretation I can imagine is that this description is the Great Tribulation.  Yet two different times in this same context, Jesus implies that the elect will be in that Tribulation (vv20, 22).  Then he says “following that distress, the sun will be darkened … At that time, men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds … and he will gather his elect.”  This is a Post-Trib passage to the max!

 

Revelation 7:9.  The older I get the more I wander away from the Pre-Tribulation rapture position that was so popular when I was a youth and interested in prophecy and end times.  I took a Pre-Trib position for my seminary paper, but came away from the study more convinced of the Post-Trib position than I’d ever been.  I’ve come to believe that passages like Mark 13 and Matthew 24 (a reference in my journal to the above note) teach a Post-Tribulation position.  Now I believe this passage in Revelation does the same.  John saw “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, language and people.”  Later they are described as the ones “who came out of the great tribulation.”  If this is not all the saints, then one has to believe that a great many will come to know Jesus during the Great Tribulation, yet the descriptions of that period are descriptions of people in complete rebellion against God.  In spite of all the miracles they will see, they will not praise God, they will curse him.  (16:9, 11, etc.)  These in the white robes in chapter 7 must be all the saints not just those who might believe during a Tribulation period when no one is there to tell them the truth.

 

Revelation 15:2.  In a follow up to yesterday’s entry, here is another reference which denies the Pre-Tribulation idea:  There are, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image.  Who are these if they didn’t come through the Great Tribulation?  Maybe God is preparing me with a new understanding because he is about to do something amazing.  Then again, maybe I’m just seeing things anew as I get older.

 

Revelation – some general thoughts.  I am also becoming leery of the method I was taught to interpret Revelation – that is as a blow-by-blow, linear account of the end-times events.  The above passage is after the seven trumpets but before the seven plagues.  If those plagues are after the Tribulation, they don’t fit on anybody’s charts.  Jesus is supposed to return at the end of the Tribulation period, but here those who have overcome the beast are already in heaven and the wrath of the Tribulation hasn’t yet begun.  To take this as a blow-by-blow account, one would have to say that the Tribulation is described only in the earlier chapters of Revelation, and that all these plagues and trumpet woes are a period after that but before Jesus returns.  No charts of the literal/linear interpretations have such a period of time on them.  The literal/linear method leads to many contradictions at worst or many confusing issues at best.  I guess I should look more to the A-Mills who have often taught Revelation as repetition-on-a-theme book instead of blow-by-blow account.  That seems to fit the pattern better.

In addition, I also see some overlap in the plagues presented as seals, trumpets and bowls that would point to a repetition-on-a-theme understanding of Revelation.  For instance, the fourth seal tells of 1/4 of the earth dying, then the sixth trumpet tells of 1/3 of men dying.  The sixth seal says the stars fell from heaven (sounds like all of them), but in the third trumpet (later if we take a blow-by-blow understanding) another star falls and in the fourth trumpet 1/3 of the stars are made dark.  In both of these dark or black is mentioned, yet in the fifth bowl darkness comes over the earth.  I could go on to mention the thunder and lightning and blood which is repeated, but this suffices to give one the idea.

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  1. Pastor Glenn,
    I see the words of a seeker in your post. I wonder if you would consider making a comment or two on “My Read On Bible Prophecy”

    I ‘ve been led to share these articles, not thinking that they are perfect, but hopefully they are worthy to stimulate discussion, and…

    http://thebigpicmin.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/my-read-on-bible-prophecy/


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