*** This is a rough transcript of today’s show ***
It is the 1st of July 2021. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org, I’m Dan van Voorhis.
The mail and questions have been flowing in. As always- you can email us at CHA or DANV@1517.org.
Today’s question comes from Shayne in Great Bend, Kansas
Thanks for the show, I listen every morning. My question is, “What has been the historic church’s teaching on the end times”? Thanks so much for this show and I love the new mailbag episodes.
Alright! This is one of the most common questions I get. The church’s teaching about the End Times has been fraught with schemas, schisms, charts, predictions,. etc… and while we might be inclined to leave eschatology (the study of the end times) as a non-essential doctrine Jesus didn’t think so.
Consider the following:
“The Kingdom of God is at hand”
“Behold I am coming Soon”
And my favorite “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
The good news is that Jesus is coming back. The bad news is that interpretations of the end, especially regarding the millennium and the book of Revelation have spawned more interpretations than we could possibly ever cover.
Really basic- the idea of a millennium comes from the book of Revelation. The question is, “is it literal?”. And if it is, does Jesus come back before or after this millennium of peace? The Pre-Millennialists say it’s literal and Jesus will come before the Millennium while Post-Millennialists say Jesus will come back after the millennium of peace (which means it our job to usher it in… so, in the words of a once-popular bumper sticker, “Jesus is Coming, Look Busy!”
The A-Millennial position is a little broader in that it doesn’t hold to a literal millennium. This kind of metaphorical reading was under attack by many American evangelicals in the 20th century during the so-called “Battle of the Bible” with the modernists.
But this might make things more clear-cut than it actually is. Where does the Left Behind series belong? Well, that’s Pre-Millennial Dispensationalism… sort of. And while we might say that the A-millennial position is generally the historic position of the Western church (thanks, Augustine!) We find a very literal pre-millennialism with Justin Martyr in the 2nd century. After Constantine’s triumph in the 4th century many-sided with Eusebius who held something like the Post-Mill view.
But perhaps we should listen to Justin Martyr who wrote concerning his own eschatological views that “many who belong to the pure and pious faith and are true Christians, think otherwise”. And that is certainly a good word.
And lastly, I’ve found it most helpful to think about the 2nd Advent as I do the 1st Advent- it’s all about Jesus and it is GOOD news.
The last word for today comes from, where else, the book of Revelation:
And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illuminate them; and they will reign forever and ever.
This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 1st of July brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org.
The show is produced by a man who wishes we had all been ready, he is Christopher Gillespie.
The show is written and read by Dan “Thief in the Night” van Voorhis.
You can catch us here every day- and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.