Theology Thursday: Thy Kingdom Come (Part Three)


This is part three of a brief series on orthodox eschatology, with brief comments on common “mongrel” forms that are considered unorthodox, heterodox, and/or downright heretical.

Today’s post is a summary chart which describes each position, it’s common hermeneutic, and highlights. There are degrees and shades of these, so it can hardly be called an authoritative or even necessarily accurate summary, but a generalization. I’m painting with a very broad brush here, so don’t come down too hard on what you perceive to be an error, but comments, as always, are welcome.

HERMENEUTICS:

Post-mil: Historical, grammatical method; context and genre are
interpretive considerations; Scripture interprets Scripture.
Apocalyptic literature mostly figurative, mostly fulfilled.
Context determines whether literal or figurative. Old
Testament interpreted by the New.

A-mil: As Postmil above. Revelation should be interpreted by it’s
intended audience, the 1st century Church, reassuring them
of Christ’s ultimate victory.

Historic Pre-mil: Historical grammatical method; context and genre
are considered, Scripture interprets Scripture. A “natural
reading” of apocalyptic literature determines whether a
portion is literal or figurative.

Dispensational Pre-mil: Strong inclination toward literalism.
Scripture divided into seven dispensations (periods of
time) in which God acted or acts in different ways towards
humankind.

SECOND COMING OF CHRIST:

Post-mil: Occurs after the millennium (which is not a literal 1000 year
period of time), when a triumphant church has conquered the
culture, planet-wide. A “golden age” of righteousness on Earth
to conclude this present age. The Second Coming initiates a
general resurrection, judgment of all men, and eternal state.

A-mil: The Second Coming occurs after the millennium, which is
this present age. “The millennium” encompasses all of human
history between the two advents of Christ. The Church triumphs
through the purity resulting from persecution. The Second Advent
initiates a general resurrection, judgment, and eternal state.

Historic Pre-mil: The millennium is a “golden age” that begins after the
second coming. After a time of great tribulation, Christ returns
and initiates the thousand-year golden age of peace.

Dispensational Pre-mil: Second Coming before the millennium but
preceded by a secret “rapture,” the catching away of the Church
(living and dead) before, during, or following a great period of
tribulation. He returns and sets up an Earthly, geopolitical
kingdom.

NATURE AND TIMING OF THE KINGDOM:

Post-mil: Began at the first advent of Christ, present reality. Spiritual in
nature, encompassing both heaven and Earth. It grows and gains
throughout the present millennial age until it fills the earth.

A-mil: Began at the first advent of Christ, present reality, encompassing
heaven and earth. It grows to reach a remnant from every tongue
and tribe on earth, but relatively few are saved – over time,
however, cumulatively, it’s citizens are a vast unnumbered multitude.

Historic Pre-mil: While the kingdom has come spiritually, but will not
transform the earth until the millennium the Second Advent.

Dispensational Pre-mil: In no sense present today, it is an earthly kingdom
initiated by the return of Christ, established suddenly and cataclysmically,
primarily as a Jewish kingdom.

In future posts in this series I’ll describe what each group teaches about Antichrist(s), the rapture, the resurrection, judgment, Christ’s reign, Israel, the binding of Satan and his current status, and tribulation, and re-creation. Buckle up!

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