Sunday, July 10, 2011

Changing My Thinking

Every month I try to post at least once, thinking that I would not again post much about eschatology since I tentatively decided on Amillennialism in March of last year, the easiest viewpoint that I could come to at that time.

Then came my pastor's preaching. I had thought this issue would just go away, almost like those who say they believe in "panmillennialism"--it will all PAN out. But with my pastor's preaching on this issue didn't go away.

When this blog started in January of 2009, I looked for answers from Revelation; from two other bloggers here that January; and later from selected authors. I didn't consider passages such as Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13. I easily rejected Dispensationalism, but did not look at the rest of Scripture for a view on the end times. I did not consider the KINGDOM of CHRIST as equal to a viewpoint of the end times.

Different views on the end times use different Scripture either literally or figuratively. Dispensationalists use a literal 1000 to be in the future and then they use Matthew 24 figuratively. Postmillennialists use Matthew 24 literally. Yet Christ said events he predicted would come in the lifetime of His hearers. Revelation is not a message to the church about the end of history, but is a figurative message to seven churches to not give up the faith.

My Postmillennialist pastor, Dr. Kenneth Talbor, President of Whitefield Seminary where I am working on a counseling degree,  has been preaching on Christ's kingdom as explained throughout Scripture. He points out that the verb, parousia, which is used 24 times in the New Testament,  must be used in context. Parousia, meaning, the kingdom of Christ, is a time period that has already begun. The second coming, he says, is an ongoing event. The kingdom is underway now. 

Consider Luke 17:21--the kingdom is within you. In Mark 13 Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom of God is near and that the generation at the time of Christ would see "these things take place". My pastor says that 70 AD, Christ's generation,  when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, is the inaugual event of His parousia, the first judgment, of which there are many judgments. Christ told His followers to flee to the mountains when they saw these signs and they did flee when they saw these signs. That was the first judgment--the end of Israel.

Dr. Talbot says we have more to do. Don't study the newspapers as the dispensationalists do, but study our duties in His kingdom. We are in the event! The hyperpreterists say that Christ came in 70 AD and we are in the state of perfection. Not so! Just look around. Instead we have kingdom duties of spreading the gospel.

Christ is going to come again for the final judgment. When history as we know it is over Christ will return to establish His kingdom on earth. Matthew 24:31 is not about the rapture, but about Christ's reign over all things.

Christianity Today, June 2011

Coming on the heels of my pastor's preaching over the past year, I read this article by Matthew Dickerson who writes:
As much or more than any theological concern, biblical teaching on end times should be approached with humility. When Jesus taught about end times, he spoke in parables and metaphors. p. 39
In Matthew 24 Jesus uses the metaphor of the days of Noah. Unbelievers in Noah's day perish with the flood, but Noah and family are left behind on earth.

Dickerson continues, 
This world is our home. It is the home God made for us, blessed us with, and instructed us to take care of. Viewing it as our home is critical to our mission as caretakers. I, for one, look forward to being left behind, like Noah and his family--only with my new and resurrected body. (p.41)  
So I am a

          Postmillenialist ! !                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

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