If it appears so logical, why so many views?



John Hoole – January 29, 2012





In our last lesson, we spent the entire time comparing the ancient Jewish wedding customs with the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church.  We examined the eight parts of the Jewish wedding customs, and compared it with what Jesus has done and yet to do between Himself and his bride.  We, the Church, are the bride of Christ.  And we can see a close parallel that the Jewish customs have with the future rapture of the Church.


The question that was asked of me after the lesson on the Jewish Wedding Customs, is a great question that needs answering.  To answer it, I must review some things I have said earlier in this series of lessons.


The various views diverge first on one’s view, not of the Rapture, but the Millennium.  Their differences generally center on the nature of such a period of time.  Although some will disagree, I believe the fact of a future millennium is very clearly taught in Revelation 20:1-6But what kind of millennium it will be has been, and continues to be, strongly debated.


There are 3 major views concerning the Millennium.


                   •  A- millennial

                   •  Post- millennial

                   •  Pre- millennial




         There are actually two distinctions.


                   1.      Whether there will be an actual, literal, 1000 years, called the Millennium.

                   2.      The timing of Christ returns with regard to this period of time.


The difference between each of these views has to do with how each views the relationship between Christ’s Second Coming and the Millennium.  Each also differs as to what happens during that period of time.


It is very obvious that the early Christians expected the speedy return of Christ to establish an actual kingdom on this earth, over which He would reign for 1000 years.  When Christ did not return quickly – that is within 300 years following the apostles, the church’s concept of the millennium changed to a predominantly non-literal one.


Hence:  A-millennialismA-millennial means “no millennium.”  This branch of prophetic theology does not believe in a literal tribulation or a literal 1000-year reign of Christ – or a literal antichrist.  They believe the biblical phrase, “one-thousand-years” is just suggesting a long time.  For the A-millennialist, it represents all the time from the first century until Christ returns.  This was the predominant view of the church for over 1,000 years during the dark ages.  Those holding this view do not adhere to a literal interpretation of Scripture.  They also do not believe in a literal future Tribulation.


The only way one can arrive at this view is by using an allegorical or symbolic way of interpreting the Bible.  That means that one assigns to the words of Scripture a meaning other than that which is normally understood and accepted at the time of the writing.  They admit that all Scripture has a literal meaning, but only to the immediate people to whom the letter or prophecy was written, and to that generation only.


They hold that all Scripture has at least a dual meaning.  One, more literal, is for those to whom the letter was written but to all others, there was a somewhat hidden meaning, which always represented a spiritual truth.  It is only this second meaning – the underlying truth – that is relevant for the church today.  In other words, all Scripture is spiritualized.


Many a-millennialists concede that if prophecy is interpreted literally (normally), grammatically and historically, it will produce a pre-millennial view




The Post-Millennial adherents partially subscribe to an allegorical method for interpreting of prophecy.  In a way, they sort of “pick and choose” which parts are allegorical or symbolic, and which are to be taken literally.


They believe in a literal 1,000 years and a literal 2nd Coming of Christ, but believe Christ will be reigning from heaven.  The kingdom, therefore, is mostly a spiritual thing.  They hold the position that Christ will come following the 1000 years.  Hence, Post-millennial.


This view hold that the millennium would be established, not by Christ, but by the Church, through successful Christianizing of the world by believers.  Like the A-millennialist, they also do not believe in a literal Tribulation of 7-years.


The Postmillennial view teaches that the Church will gradually expand throughout the globe until the population of the earth will someday worship Christ.  After the church completes its mission, then Christ will return.


This view flourished during the 18th and 19th centuries.  Because of the hundreds of missionary groups which were established during this time, this was a period of optimism about the Church’s ability to Christianize the world.


But World War I seriously shook this view and World War II all but wiped it out.  The world is not getting better.  But, just as the Scriptures foretold, “evil is waxing worse and worse.”




The third millennial view is Pre-millennialism.  This was the predominant view during the first 2½ centuries of the Church, and again, for the last nearly 300 years, has been a major view, and is held by most all of fundamental Christianity today.


Those who hold this view, like the Post-Millennialist, believe in a literal 1000 years.  But the Pre-Millennialist believes Christ will come back prior to the Millennium.  And unlike the post-millennialist, the pre-millennialist holds the position that Christ, not the Church, will be the one who established the kingdom on earth.


The adherents of Pre-millennialism take a much more literal approach to interpretation of Bible prophecy than do any other group.  They hold that Jesus will come physically (bodily) from heaven to earth, where He will set up his kingdom for 1000-years and reign on the throne of David.  They also take the Tribulation, Armageddon, and the Antichrist as literal events or people.


The literal method does allow for parables, allegories and figures of speech in the Bible, but recognizes that the context will clearly indicate when this is the case.  For instance, Rev 12:3 (NIV) says,


3       Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.


John sees this weird-looking dragon.  But six verses later, in Rev 12:9 NIV, we learn who that dragon is.

9       The great dragon was hurled down-that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.


                   There is no doubt as to who the dragon depicts.


I believe the Bible is the best interpreter of the Bible.  If you don’t understand the symbols or the imagery used in a particular passage.  look through the rest of the Bible to help in the interpretation.  As I mentioned during an earlier lesson, titled, "Prophecy 101," there is not a single symbol used in the Book of Revelation that is not found elsewhere in the Bible.


As you can see, the different views of eschatology depends on the foundational premise of one’s interpretation (hermeneutics).  Of the three millennial views, the Pre-millennial is the most literal in its hermeneutics.  And of the different views within Premillennialism, the Pre-Tribulation view is the most literal of them.