05 December, 2005

The Great Disappointment

In today's popular Christianity there has not been a more lucrative business to be in than in end times prophecy. Americans are obsessed with this a point that is out of control. Little do American Christians know concerning the history behind chiliasm or premillennialism.

Granted, there are a handful of church fathers that believed in this doctrine, but it was in the minority even then. It was not revived in the church again until the Anabaptists of the time of the reformation. (Those who held to the view were lawless in those days and their stories would make a great essay for future blogging.) When this view became popular as a whole, was through the father of dispensationalism, Darby, and popularized in the CI Scofield reference bible.

Premillennialism has a played a very minor role in the Christian church, and most theologians that hold to this view find themselves in the business of predicting the time of the second coming. (Against the words of Christ who said, "no man knoweth the day nor the hour."
AA Hodge, Outlines of Theology:

What are the principal Scriptural arguments against the pre-millennial view?

1st.The theory is evidently Jewish in its origin and Judaizing in its tendency.

2nd. It is not consistent with what the Scriptures teach. (1) As to the nature of Christ's kingdom, e.g., (a) that it is not of this world but spiritual, Matthew 13:44; John 18:36; Romans 14:17; (b) that it was not to be confined to the Jews Matthew 8:11, 12; (c) that regeneration is the condition of admission to it, John 3:3, 5; (d) that the blessings of the kingdom are purely spiritual, as pardon, sanctification, etc., Matthew 3:2, 11; Colossians 1:13, 14. (2) As to the fact that the kingdom of Christ has already come. He has sat upon the throne of his Father David ever since his ascension.Acts 2:29-36; 3:13-15; 4:26-28; 5:29-31; Hebrews 10:12, 13; Revelation 3:7-12. The Old Testament prophecies, therefore, which predict this kingdom, must refer to the present dispensation of grace, and not to a future reign of Christ on earth in person among men in the flesh.

3rd. The second advent is not to occur until the resurrection, when all the dead, both good and bad, are to rise at once. Daniel 12:2; John 5:28, 29; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 20:11, 15. Only one passage (Revelation 20:1-10) is even apparently inconsistent with the fact here asserted. For the true interpretation of that passage, see next question.

4th.The second advent is not to occur until the simultaneous judgment of all men, the good and the bad together. Matthew 7:21, 23; 13:30-43; 16:24, 27; 25:31-46; Romans 2:5, 16; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; Revelation 20:11-15.

5th.The second advent is to be attended with the general conflagration and the generation of the "new heavens and the new earth."2 Peter 3:7-13; Revelation 20:11; 21:1. "Brown on the Second Advent."

Discussion Points:
-What role does eschatology play in the practical life of the believer?
-Explain the saying, All of life is eschatological?
-What should be the punishmentpredictingwrongly prediciting dates for the second coming? (Ecclesiastical and Magisterial)


Penumbra said...

Eschatalogy effects our hope, expectation, confidence, resoluteness, joy, and comfort (Isaiah 40). To separate eschatalogy from scripture is to miss the point of God's word. All nations had comfort and hope because of God's promises regarding the future, particularly, Israel. Regarding punishment for wrong dates, I'm more offended that some think that there is more than one way to salvation than Jesus Christ. Israel, as a nation of God's people, is no more. The law with its sacrifices was never a way to salvation, but a shadow of things to come. True Israel are those who believe that Christ is Lord and saviour.

Anonymous said...

It is not hard to calculate the second coming of Christ. It happens after the seven year tribulation. The rapture of the Church (I Thess. 4:16-17) is what people try and predict and that is, of course, wrong. But just the same, there is not that many people trying to predicate either one.

Ellie said...

Some of us are fasinated with all the possible aspects of Christs return.Like a visit from a great friend or relative, their is joy in anticipation.There are times when my flesh is weary and I long for his coming.I realize all of mankind before me has done the same.I humbly confess my belief that no man knows,...We must be in a state of readiness. I would be honored if he came on my watch!!!!

Anonymous said...

Enjoying your blog. If you would like to read about some new discoveries relative to the pretrib rapture's bizarre origins, enter "Pretrib Rapture Diehards" into Google. The author/researcher found rare documents in Britain that were well-known at one time but forgotten for a century. You should do a blog on these discoveries. I. S.