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SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY ESCHATOLOGY Part 2 of 4

Written by: Hillebrand, Randall    Posted on: 04/21/2005

Category: Theology


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY

ESCHATOLOGY

By: RANDALL J. HILLEBRAND

OUTLINE:

ESCHATOLOGY

I.  Hermeneutics and eschatology
    A.  Literal interpretation
    B.  Historical interpretation
    C.  Grammatical interpretation
    D.  Contextual interpretation
    E.  Dispensational interpretation
        1.  Definition of dispensations
        2.  Dispensations (economies)
        3.  Means of salvation in each economy --  By faith

II.  Millennial views
      A.  Postmillennialism
      B.  Amillennialism
      C.  Premillenialism

III.  Rapture views
      A.  Posttribulational
      B.  Midtribulational
      C.  Partial rapture
      D.  Prewrath
      E.  Pretribulational

IV.  Understanding the "Day of the Lord"
      A.  What is the day of the Lord?
          1.  Definition -- Isaiah 13:6-16,14:1-7; 2 Peter 3:10
          2.  Characteristics of the tribulation portion of the day of the Lord.
      B.  When will the day of the Lord occur? -- Mal. 4:5; 1 Thes. 5:1-3;
          2 Thes. 2:1-12
          1.  After the coming of Elijah the prophet -- Malachi 4:5-6;
              Luke 1:13-17
          2.  After the rapture of the church -- 2 Thes. 2:1-3,7-8
          3.  Like a thief in the night -- 1 Thes. 5:1-3

  V.  Understanding 2 Thessalonians 2
      A.  Issue: The rapture and the day of the Lord -- vss. 1-2
      B.  Chronology of the onset of: The day of the Lord -- vss. 3-12
          1.  The apostasy must come first -- vs. 3a
          2.  The man of lawlessness is then revealed -- vss. 3b-5
          3.  The man of lawlessness will be revealed after the restrainer is
              removed -- vss. 6-12

VI.  Tribulation Period events
      A.  Chronology from Matthew 24-25
          1.  Chronology of tribulation events: Matthew 24:1-31
          2.  Preparation for the tribulation and related events -- Matthew
              24:32-25:46
      B.  Chronology from the book Revelation and other passages

VII.  Tribulation period progresses like labor pains (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

VIII. Trumpet Issues Relating to End Time Events

IX.  Miscellaneous note on Prophecy
      A.  Pretribulational rapture
      B.  Judgment
      C.  Tribulation period
      D.  Millennial kingdom
      E.  Eternity


II.  Millennial views

    A.  Postmillennialism

        Second coming:   Occurs at the end of the millennial kingdom

        Millennial kingdom: Brought into existence by the church -- through
                                its efforts

        Israel and kingdom: Israel will not experience the kingdom
                                promises -- the church will

        Christ and kingdom: Though absent from the kingdom, He rules in
                                people's hearts

        Christ's judgment: Resurrection is to occur after Christ's second
                                coming where a general judgment of all people
                                will take place

    B.  Amillennialism

        Second coming:         Occurs after conditions of earth become
                                increasingly worse

        Millennial kingdom: There will be no kingdom on earth

        Israel and kingdom: Popular view is that the church fulfills the
                                promises of Israel in a nonliteral way.  They
                                spiritualize Scripture

        Christ and kingdom: Christ will reign spiritually over the church
                                from heaven

        Christ's judgment: A general resurrection is to occur after
                                Christ's second coming where a general judgment
                                of all people will take place

    C.  Premillenialism

        1.  RYRIE:

            Second coming: Occurs before the millennial kingdom is
                                inaugurated

            Millennial kingdom: A literal 1,000-year reign of Christ will take
                                place on earth

            Israel and kingdom: Israel will receive and experience the kingdom
                                blessing promised them in both the Old and New
                                Testaments

            Christ and kingdom: Christ will reign on earth from Jerusalem for
                                the entire 1,000 years

            Christ's judgment: Christ will judge the church in heaven during 
                                the tribulation period before His return; He
                                will judge Israel and the Gentile nations after
                                His return and before the inauguration of the
                                kingdom; He will judge the unsaved after the
                                kingdom as well as the fallen angels.

        2.  The transfiguration of Christ is a picture of the millennial
            kingdom.  Israel will be present (cf. Matt. 16:28; 17:1-3)

        3.  ENNS (Based upon The Moody Handbook of Theology, Moody Press, page
            390)

            The millennial kingdom will be a fulfillment of:

            Abrahamic covenant:  Promised Israel a land, posterity, ruler and spiritual
            blessings (Gen. 12:1-3)
            Palestinian covenant: Promised Israel a land (Deut. 30:1-10)
            Davidic covenant:    Promised Israel a ruler for the throne of
                                  David (2 Sam. 7:16)
            New covenant:   Promised Israel forgiveness (Jer. 31:31-34)

            At the second coming these covenants will be fulfilled when Israel
            is regathered (Matt. 24:31), converted (Zech. 12:10-14) and
            restored to the land under their Messiah.


III.  Rapture views

      NOTE: The second coming of Christ and the rapture are two different
            events that will take place seven years apart.  At the rapture
            Christ will meet the resurrected/raptured church in the air
            (1 Thes. 4:16-17).  At His second coming He will come back to
            earthy to the Mount of Olives (cf. Zech. 14:3-4,9; Acts 1:8-11;
            Rev. 19:11-19; 20:4)

      A.  Posttribulational

          1.  Rapture and second coming happen at the same time (1 Thes. 4:15;
              Matt. 24:24)
          2.  Saints are mentioned during tribulation period, so the
              church is present (Matt. 24:22)
          3.  It is assumed that a resurrection will take place at the
              beginning of the millennial kingdom, thus they equate this with
              the resurrection which takes place with the rapture (Rev. 20:4)
          4.  That the church will not be preserved from the wrath of God
              during the tribulation period
          5.  The Scriptures do not teach imminency, therefore the rapture can
              be after the tribulation
          6.  Posttribulationalism was the position of the early church

      B.  Midtribulational

          1.  The last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52 is the same as the
              seventh trumpet of Revelation 11:15
          2.  The church is promised deliverance from the great tribulation
              which takes place during the last half of the tribulation period
          3.  The resurrection of the two witnesses pictures the rapture of
              the church, and their resurrection occurs at the middle of the
              tribulation period (Rev. 11:2; 12:6).

      C.  Partial rapture

          This view teaches that only believers who are worthy will be taken
          out of the world before the tribulation period begins.  This will be
          a time of purging (cf. Heb. 9:28) and those raptured will be taken
          because of their abundance of good works. [One problem with this
          view is that Hebrews 9:28 is referring to the second coming and not
          the rapture.]

      D.  Prewrath

          1.  The rapture of the church will occur immediately prior to the
              beginning of the day of the Lord
          2.  The Day of the Lord commences sometime within the second half of
              the seventieth week
          3.  The cosmic disturbances associated with the sixth seal will
              signal the approach of the Day of the Lord
          4.  The Day of the Lord will begin with the opening of the seventh
              seal (Rev.  6:17; 8:1)
          5.  The seventh seal will begin the trumpet judgments which will
              begin the day of the Lord -- His wrath. The rapture will take
              place on that day (Luke 17:22-36)
          6.  Matthew 24-25 answers the questions asked by the
              disciples, "What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end
              of the age?"  In Jesus' answer He tells them of the coming
              tribulation [Mat. 24:1-35], the rapture [Mat. 24:36-41] and
              second coming [Mat. 25] in chronological order
 
        Point D is based upon and/or taken from The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the
        Church by Marvin Rosenthal, Thomas Nelson Publishers, pp. 60, 111, 117.


    E.  Pretribulational

        1.  Ryrie

            a.  The tribulation is the great day of God's wrath and believers
                will be spared from this (1 Thes. 1:10; 5:9; Rev. 6:16-17)
            b.  Jesus promised the church of Philadelphia that they would be
                kept from this hour of temptation which will come upon the
                whole world (Rev. 3:10)
            c.  Second Thessalonians 2:1-12 lays out the sequence of end-time
                events.  The church will be removed when the Holy Spirit
                (restrainer) is removed

        2.  Hillebrand

            a.  The church is not mentioned in Revelation 6-18 because it has
                been removed from the earth.  It is mentioned in Revelation 2,
                3 and 5, and not again until Revelation 19 where it talks about
                the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and Christ's second coming
            b.  The tribulation period is the 70th week of Daniel which is
                focused on Israel and not the church.  With the Holy Spirit
                (the restrainer) gone from the earth, the tribulation period
                will revert to the Old Testament economy

        3.  Enns (Moody Handbook of Theology, Moody Press, page 391)

            Nature of trib:        Outpouring of God's wrath, judgment,
                                    punishment
            Scope of trib:     The whole earth is involved
            Purpose of trib:     To judge the living on the earth
            Unity of the trib:     It is the 70th week of Daniel
            Exemption of the trib:  Church is the bride of Christ, the object
                                    of His love, not His wrath
            Sequel of trib:        Signs of Matthew 24 were given to Israel
                                    for second coming, but no sign given to
                                    the church for the rapture since it will
                                    happen suddenly

          Material above -- except where noted -- based upon and/or taken from
          A Survey of Bible Doctrine by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Press, pages
          162-171.

        4.  Pretribulational: Other arguments

            a.  His imminent return
                1.  He is coming quickly -- Rev. 3:11; 22:7,12,20
                2.  Watch for the Lord -- Titus 2:13; Rev. 3:3,10,13; Acts 1:6-7
                3.  We eagerly wait for rapture and heaven -- Php. 3:20
                    (cf. 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:50-52)
                4.  Waiting for Christ's return -- 1 Thes. 1:3,10
                5.  Live godly until the (undefined) coming of Christ --
                    1 Tim. 6:14
                6.  Strengthen your hearts, Christ's coming is near -- Jam. 5:8
            b.  Thessalonians thought they had missed the rapture --
                2 Thes. 2:1-2,5 (cf. 1 Thes. 4:13 - 5:1ff)
            c.  Rapture presented first before day of the Lord -- 1 Thes. 4:13 -
                5:1ff
            d.  Church is not mentioned in Revelations 6-18 but seen at
                Christ's second coming -- Rev. 6-18; 19:7-9
            e.  The focus of the tribulation is not the church, but on Israel
                and the Gentile nations -- Dan. 9:24; Rev. 12; Matt.
                24:22,24,31; 25:32; Rev. 6:15-17; 11:18;16:19; 18:3,23; 19:15
            f.  Believers will not see the wrath of God -- Rom. 1:18; 2:1-11;
                5:9; 9:22; Eph. 2:3-7; 5:6; Col. 3:6; 1 Thes. 1:10; 2:16; 5:9;
                Rev. 6:15-17; 11:18; 14:10, 19; 15:7; 16:1, 19; 19:15; (cf.
                Gen. 18:23-33)

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