How does Eschatology affect how we live as Christians?

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Carl Copsey

Puritan Board Freshman
Do you believe that a specific view of eschatology will affect how the christian lives his or her life? For example, the difference between Dispensationalism and Postmillennialism.
If so, why do you think this is so?

Considering we all agree on Jesus' return. So eschatology matters, but how does what we believe in eschatology affect our entire lives in the way we live for Christ, or does it?

Thank you! Below is an interesting quote from Joel Mcdurmon :

"Your eschatology matters. What you believe about the future will determine much of how you live your life, and will affect much of your character."
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
My optimistic eschatology comforts me as a missionary. I know that I am on the winning side and that the gospel will have worldwide success.

"All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name."

Psalm 86:9 is a PROMISE. It will happen.

Also, "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee." - Psalm 22:27.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
While I'm no longer historic premil, I do appreciate the fact that when one reads the prophetic texts, one sort of expects that things will happen in the future. And most of the church fathers, whether premil or functional amil, said the same thing.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
One thing being an ahmil is that I am not looking for a particular man to be the antichrist.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I think the events in prophecy are going to happen. They aren't just thinky things that we think about thinkily.

Ironically, I think the guy who invented the term amillennial (Abraham Kuyper) was also a futurist.

I'm roughly amil and hold to a final antichrist.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Junior
Enlighten a poor old guy ..... why should an individual's eschatological view affect how he lives here and now ? Correct me please if I am wrong, but won't all of the elect, with the exception of the pre-mil dispensationalist, who believes he will be raptured out of this world of time before the tribulation, all experience the same thing ? Will we not stand before the judgment seat of Christ in the new heaven and new earth, our works done in the body either precious jewels/metal or hay/stubble ? In this body the Spirit's influence generating our continuing sanctification regardless of the individual echatological position ?
 

Jo_Was

Puritan Board Freshman
Certainly what you believe to be of the world, or the future world, affects how you act today. I grew up in a heavily dispensational premil environment that was so focused on eschatology--more specifically, the literal end of the world--that it often forgot that part of our injunction as images of God is to enact His kingdom--to live "incarnationally" as it were--that God's Kingdom lives on earth as it is in heaven. This either manifested in having to do head counts of as many people we 'saved' until time runs out, or seeing the inevitable wreckage of fallen man and hiding in our solaces of "Well, it's all going to burn anyway."--you know the tropes. That is obviously caricature, but I think some people forget that we aren't just waiting for God to whisk us away--we still have a role even in this place and time in redemptive history. Some views of eschatology, like Dispensational premil, can detract from the role we play right now, in this moment, and how God works through His chosen means and puts a greater import on 'the end' that is "heaven" to many as the main goal. Indeed "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (that is, the Church) -- if we really believe that, we might not be so easily discouraged by conspiracy theories, or caught up in who's who of the end time metaphors, or what's what in the timeline of history and the end of the world. You miss the moments here, on Earth, in which Christ hearkens in a taste of the glory to come through his works of providence, mercy, compassion and such, often by ordinary means of the Church and its faithfulness. Alternative caricature: f you are a hardcore version of postmillenial who believes that part of our duty in this life literally is preparing us for the world after, then of course that's going to make you crazy gung-ho to do all you can to revitalize this world, and get you and your fellow humans as ready as possible to enjoy and come into the new world. That's not to say that Dispensationalists will ignore problems, and postmil will fix them, but that any variation could really change how you at least view the purpose of our time here--because maybe you think we're in one particularly marked era or not; that is part of your worldview, which is the lens through which you interpret information, synthesize, and then respond. Any interpretation you have of the present or future reality--which eschatology encompasses--is going to impact you in some way, it just might not be as obvious as the previous examples.

I have found in the foray between Amil/Postmil and even historic premil (non-Dispensational) there isn't as obvious an outward effect...and in some cases not as big a difference because a Reformed framework lends itself to being more holistic and systematic about Christian life and thought so it doesn't get 'stuck' on that as the central issue. Plus, Amil/Postmil--some days there's really not a practical difference in some people. (Am I post mil? Am I optimistic amil? Ask me on any given day and I might be one more than the other. hahaha)

I think, more than not, that actually most people don't *really* know where they fall--both on the 'never thought about it' end and 'super thoughtful about it' end.

"Heaven is important, but it's not the end of the world." NT Wright

Note: Rereading my comment sounds like I'm feeling #datpostmil a little this afternoon. ;) Ask me in an hour.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
There are tremendous implications and impacts of getting one’s eschatology wrong – on one’s life. For instance, if one holds to the Dispensational premil view, we’ll expect to be raptured out before the serious tribulation starts (though there are views within the fold, such as mid-trib, and pre-wrath), and how one prepares one’s mind – and life – would be different than if one were postmil, expecting things to generally get better and the Christians in it for the long haul. For the postmil, one would see the secular culture as a field to be sown with the Word of God and spiritual labors with the expectation of that culture becoming “Christianized” and bearing at least outward observance of God’s Law. One would be devoting one’s life and energy to infusing the Mosaic Law into the political-legal arena, with the expectation of its becoming the law of the land.

The Historic Premil views (there are two varieties) show the saints undergoing brief but severe tribulation under antichrist, until Christ returns and destroys him. Then commences an earthly millennium with Christ reigning from earthly Jerusalem.

For the amil, or one holding that the present age is the millennial period, we see that we are in a worsening world, with the main threats either intense worldly seduction from an increasingly amoral and antichristian culture, and/or persecution from hostile ruling authorities – with no hope of these things getting better, not in the long run, though there could be short-term improvements. We fight for justice for the downtrodden and speak for those with no voice, even though we go against the grain when we do it in Christ’s name. The focus for the amil is that we

“may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...” (Philippians 2:15, 16)​

To the amil the Kingdom of God to be secured and sustained is the church, not the culture or the political arena, though one may speak to the culture, whether by Christian witness, works of art and literature, or works of mercy, calling those who love the truth out of the power of darkness and into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. Ditto with the political-legal arena – one may seek to influence those therein to uphold God’s agenda of righteousness and compassion, and to become disciples of Christ, but the amil does not desire build the Kingdom of God in and of the worldly institutions of culture, law and politics.

To the amil the church is the manifestation of God’s Kingdom and rule in this world, and the House in which He lives. I suppose one’s eschatological view will seriously affect one’s attitude to the culture, politics, and the areas of one’s heartfelt labors. It will also affect one’s expectations of suffering-to-come, and preparing one’s mind and heart in that regard.

Many folks avoid Revelation (and eschatology in general) due to the confusion and conflict engendered in the churches because of faulty exegesis and / or political-religious agendas. Many are put off and discouraged from studying it because of this. And it is a shame, as the Apocalypse was meant to be taken to heart by all the ages of the New Testament church.

Of all the various schemas used to interpret Revelation, only one includes all the churches from John’s day to the end of the age, bypassing none. This means that the book and its vital – urgent – counsel was as much for the church in Smyrna of Asia Minor in 100 A.D. as it was for the churches of the Waldenses in the mountains of Europe in 1,200 A.D., and for the churches in our contemporary world of 2018 A.D. The Amillennial – aka the present “millennial” reign of Jesus Christ from heaven, and His partial binding of Satan, as well his loosing at the very end of the age – is the only view that does not exclude large segments of the age-long church from the blessings of wisdom, courage, and warning promised the readers and keepers of the prophecies of Revelation. Only in the context of the entire NT church age do the details of the visions fit into perfect place.

_______


On a separate note, I’m amil, and I believe there will be a literal antichrist. Kim Riddlebarger’s book, The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth about the Antichrist, is an excellent treatment of the topic, tying in both the Old and New Testament Scriptures on it.

_______


Hello Jo, welcome to PB!

There’s a vast distinction between the so-called “optimistic” amil and the postmil, and to try to align the two is not valid. First, because the label “optimistic” implies a “pessimistic” side, and classic contemporary amillennialism is far from being pessimistic – that being just a pejorative and misleading label tacked on by postmils. While the amil sees the world getting worse as it draws near the climax of history – to which all the NT Scripture bears witness! – it also sees the true church of Jesus Christ becoming increasingly purified through its suffering, a glorious Bride mirroring the image of her Husband. We are an invincible church, for death doesn’t faze us – neither deter us from bearing witness to our Lord – and “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Rom 8:37).

Besides, the postmil posits a separate third age – its golden age of socio-political-spiritual triumph – in contradiction to the two ages of Scripture.

This third “golden age” is one the basic premises of Postmillennialism: the church age, the “golden” millennium, and the eternal state. Whereas the New Testament posits but 2 ages, “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4) and the age to come, that is, the eternal state.

In Matt 12:32 Jesus says the same thing: “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world [or age], neither in the world [or age] to come.”

Here are more Scriptures on the two ages:

Luke 18:29, 30 There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

Luke 20:34, 35 The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage

Eph 1:20-21 [God set Christ] at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come​

These three Scriptures speak to the nature of the age / world until the eternal state being ushered in after the great white throne judgment:

In 1 John 5:19 John tells us that “…the whole world lieth in wickedness”. In 2 Tim 3:12-13 it is written, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

In John 16:33 Jesus tells us, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

The two-age teaching of the New Testament precludes any third age added as per the postmil and premil views, neither does it teach any long-term bettering of the world.
 
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Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
In this body the Spirit's influence generating our continuing sanctification regardless of the individual echatological position ?
Edwards's resolution of time management immediately came to my mind:

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
Src: http://edwards.yale.edu/archive?pat...waGlsby9nZXRvYmplY3QucGw/Yy4xNTo3NDoxLndqZW8=

See an attempt to categorize them all here:
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-resolutions-of-jonathan-edwards
 

Carl Copsey

Puritan Board Freshman
There are tremendous implications.......

Great response and I totally agree. I'm trying to figure out how to articulate this, which is why I asked in the first place. I'd like to ask you this:

A friend of mine thinks that the amil and Dispensational premil position are nearly identical in present day application. Basically, what's the difference in application? What would you say to that?

Thank you!!
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I'm probably amil. It's been a very long time since I studied it so I can't recite what its belief system is, but I do remember holding to its doctrine. With that said.....I have always wondered why each generation of people feels Christ must be ready to return to earth because of the rampant evil or how bad Christians are being persecuted in their time, yet Christ has not returned. The Bible doesn't give us clues about what type events (including some Antichrist) will prelude Christ's coming. In fact, it says just the opposite. No one knows when he will return. Therefore, although I find eschatology is very interesting, it doesn't impact my Christian life.
 

Von

Puritan Board Sophomore
A friend of mine thinks that the amil and Dispensational premil position are nearly identical in present day application.
One of the reasons why I do not espouse the premil position anymore is because of the difference in application.
When you are premil (and especially pre-trib), the next event you are actively looking for is the rapture. So the world and all of it's woes is of no concern to you because just before things get really bad, you'll be raptured out of the mess.
Furthermore - except for looking towards the rapture, the nation of Israel is a close second - what's happening in Palestine, what is this or that world leader doing, how does it fit into Revelation?
As I said (and I want to emphasize this), this is one of the reasons why I consider myself amil, but not all premils believe or act in this manner. I'm very happy in a premil pretrib dispensational church and I have loving brothers and sisters there.

But the doctrine have a tendency to lead to this kind of thinking.

If you want to read a great book on how eschatology changes your Christian outlook, read THE PURITAN HOPE by IAIN MURRAY.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
We should be living daily for Christ no matter what our eschatological views are. In that sense, it makes no difference which view one holds, since that's our basic responsibility as Christians anyway.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
I'm probably amil. It's been a very long time since I studied it so I can't recite what its belief system is, but I do remember holding to its doctrine. With that said.....I have always wondered why each generation of people feels Christ must be ready to return to earth because of the rampant evil or how bad Christians are being persecuted in their time, yet Christ has not returned. The Bible doesn't give us clues about what type events (including some Antichrist) will prelude Christ's coming. In fact, it says just the opposite. No one knows when he will return. Therefore, although I find eschatology is very interesting, it doesn't impact my Christian life.
Well stated. It is as if one looks around with the news paper in one hand and the bible in the other. What also concerns me is that many really believe this antichrist will do miraculous works like Jesus and The Apostles did.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Junior
We should be living daily for Christ no matter what our eschatological views are. In that sense, it makes no difference which view one holds, since that's our basic responsibility as Christians anyway.
That is exactly what I was trying to say in my previous post. Regardless of our echatological view we are to be a peculiar people zealous of good works. Who will live in such a manner so as to not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Carl, you said,

A friend of mine thinks that the amil and Dispensational premil position are nearly identical in present day application. Basically, what's the difference in application? What would you say to that?​

I think it was mentioned above – a primary difference is that the premil pretrib will expect to be raptured out before any serious suffering. I recall hearing how that Watchman Nee teaching this to the churches in China, and their then undergoing severe persecution and suffering under the Chinese communists, caused them to cry out to him, “You deceived and betrayed us – we were supposed to be raptured before this great tribulation!” Nee himself spent many years in prison, and I believe died while incarcerated.

Plus it skews doctrine horribly when it comes to understanding the identity of Israel and its relation to the church. Dispensational Premil also says that much of what Jesus taught in the gospels does not apply to the Gentiles, but only to the Jews.

I attach a paper on similarities between the two schools (from my book, A Great and Terrible Love: A Visionary Journey from Woodstock’s Sorceries to God’s Paradise).
 

Attachments

Carl Copsey

Puritan Board Freshman
Carl, you said,

A friend of mine thinks that the amil and Dispensational premil position are nearly identical in present day application. Basically, what's the difference in application? What would you say to that?​

I think it was mentioned above – a primary difference is that the premil pretrib will expect to be raptured out before any serious suffering. I recall hearing how that Watchman Nee teaching this to the churches in China, and their then undergoing severe persecution and suffering under the Chinese communists, caused them to cry out to him, “You deceived and betrayed us – we were supposed to be raptured before this great tribulation!” Nee himself spent many years in prison, and I believe died while incarcerated.

Plus it skews doctrine horribly when it comes to understanding the identity of Israel and its relation to the church. Dispensational Premil also says that much of what Jesus taught in the gospels does not apply to the Gentiles, but only to the Jews.

I attach a paper on similarities between the two schools (from my book, A Great and Terrible Love: A Visionary Journey from Woodstock’s Sorceries to God’s Paradise).
Thank you! With my same question in mind. ...what about Progressive Dispensationalism? How would we differ in application? Any thoughts on that?

I really appreciate your input. You have been very helpful!

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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I think some amils over reacted to Left Behind and thought, "Well, we can't have that. So antichrist is like a symbol of something."
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Like the Artist Formerly Known As Prince?
Yes. Antichrist is like a symbol of the worsening of culture where we don't have bible studies.

One of the reasons why I stayed historic premil for so long is that premil rightly understood the eschatological energy of the Bible and didn't relegate it to gnostic empty symbols
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
My optimistic eschatology comforts me as a missionary. I know that I am on the winning side and that the gospel will have worldwide success.

"All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name."

Psalm 86:9 is a PROMISE. It will happen.

Also, "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee." - Psalm 22:27.
Think that regardless of which particular eschatology is adopted, all who have the hope of the Second Coming have that same truth that Jesus is Lord, and that He wins in the end.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Carl, you said,

...what about Progressive Dispensationalism? How would we differ in application? Any thoughts on that?​

I don't think there would be a difference in application. There would be a difference in how one viewed the various dispensations, but practically I think the scenario would be the same: they look forward to a millennium in the future; and hope to be raptured before a great 7-year tribulation prior to the 1000 years.

The amils see tribulation, divine warnings, and subsequent judgments recapitulating throughout the present "millennial" age, with these greatly intensifying as the end draws near, climaxing in Armageddon where the world seeks to destroy the church, in the midst of which the Lord returns to call His people up to Himself (what is called the rapture), His lethal wrath against the persecutors, the resurrection of all the dead and the assembly of all peoples before the great throne of His majesty, to be consigned either to God's paradise New Earth or the lake of fire, eternally.
 

Carl Copsey

Puritan Board Freshman
Carl, you said,

...what about Progressive Dispensationalism? How would we differ in application? Any thoughts on that?​

I don't think there would be a difference in application. There would be a difference in how one viewed the various dispensations, but practically I think the scenario would be the same: they look forward to a millennium in the future; and hope to be raptured before a great 7-year tribulation prior to the 1000 years.

The amils see tribulation, divine warnings, and subsequent judgments recapitulating throughout the present "millennial" age, with these greatly intensifying as the end draws near, climaxing in Armageddon where the world seeks to destroy the church, in the midst of which the Lord returns to call His people up to Himself (what is called the rapture), His lethal wrath against the persecutors, the resurrection of all the dead and the assembly of all peoples before the great throne of His majesty, to be consigned either to God's paradise New Earth or the lake of fire, eternally.
Thank you.

Btw, I purchased your book from the link you provided. The Kindle version.

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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Here is an odd example. Remember a few years ago when the lesbian mayor of Houston issued a decree that all pastors had to fwd their sermons to her to make sure there wasn't any hate-think in them?

American Vision, a postmillennial outfit, wrote an article to the effect that it wasn't that big a deal. Methinks that reflected their belief that it couldn't have been that big a deal because things are going to get better.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Carl, the book you purchased, please note, it is not a "Christian book", but literature written by a Christian. From a publishing blurb:

A visionary adventure (nonfiction) from the Woodstock era to the present. Patterned in some respects after the Commedia (but mostly in prose), traversing different spiritual terrains—some of profound horror—by a real spiritual character, albeit, initially, an antihero wandering the howling archetypal heartlands of the Abyss.

After his rescue, and graduating his training in spiritual warfare and discernment, embarking on an experience in the Apocalypse of John, and the sight afforded therein, with the result of opening the vision—relevant not only to the first century, but to the twenty-first, even to these violent and tumultuous days of 2018.

Also included in this work, the booklet, "A Poet Arises In Israel".​
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
I expect tremendous progress of the Gospel on earth and in time just as there has been growth through time from the original 120 disciples (Acts 1:15) through now. If I am not mistaken, he Puritan Board alone has over 5,000 members. I expect the growth to continue for perhaps thousands of years before Christ's return. Does that make me Amil with a positive view? Or a Postmil who thinks all power in heaven and earth is (now) given to Christ.

This view has radically altered my prayers and worshipping in ever increasing ways.

Here's the 2's I often share with others:
Psalm 2 - "ask of me, and I will give you the Gentiles for thy possession;
Isaiah 2 - "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it."
Danial 2 - Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image... and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth."
Habakkuk 2 - "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

Plus many many other places through the Old Testament.

So, am I Postmill, or Amill?
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
I consider Riddlebarger to be my "go to" guy for amil theology, and he is very open to the concept of one man as the final embodiment of the antichrist.

As far as the OP goes, if you believe that at the end of the mil we are in right now there is an unloosing of Satan, and you look around and read the news and think that this is very probably happening now, it drives you to your knees. Especially with the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world. Amil is a real prayer motivator.

Ed Walsh- good post. My hub is post mil but was amil for years. I think you can be both in a way, ie, truly expecting a huge revival and harvest, but also seeing major setbacks in the formerly Christianized west.
 
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