Thursday, October 8, 2009

deductive eschatology

Jesus said the kingdom was here. Peter says in his Acts 2 Pentecost sermon that we are now living in the last days. There is not a lot of ambiguity here. We have been in the end times since Jesus.

I think most modern approaches to eschatology start on the wrong foot, namely, Revelation 20. I'm not seeking to be a trendy deconstructionist here, but seriously, who defines a theological position out of six verses in the Bible. The only place in the Bible that clearly talks about a "millennium" is Rev 20.1-6. Yet, from this text you can have postmillennialists, several kinds of premillennialists, and a couple kinds of amillennialists. How absurd. Of course Rev 20.1-6 matters. But state with clarity the eschatological kingdom realities replete in the gospels and in St Paul and then maybe you'll have a healthier frame of reference for interpreting John's Apocalypse.

So, because St Peter says that Jesus left us an example of suffering [1 Pe 2] and because persecution was an assumed part of most first century Christianity, I can deduce that any eschatological position that wants to avoid tough times might not be the most faithful to the flavor of biblical Christianity.

So, goodbye pretribulational premillennialism.

Furthermore, to say that the gospel will spread and spread to the point of near-global takeover is to fall off the other side of the horse. We are ambassadors who wage war [Eph 6]. We will continue to wield the sword of the Spirit until Jesus' return.

So, goodbye postmillennialism.


Brandon said...

I recently wrote a paper on Revelation 20:1-6. I had actually never really studied that passage much before.

It was really amazing to see the extent of the hermeneutical gymnastics people are willing to use to interpret that passage. Especially the premillennialists.

I noticed that you did not say "Goodbye amillennialism." Is there a reason for that?

jim thompson said...

amillennialism is like "limited atonement"... both are kind of bad terms. i think most amillennialism deals with kingdom and gospel eschatology better than the others, although the term is still kinda shaky to me.

email me your paper. i'd love to read it.

Anonymous said...


Good point about the terminology of 'Amillennialism.' They/we still believe that there is a period of time recognized as God's reign on the earth (c.f. luke10:18); what they/we doubt is the idea of that reign lasting EXACTLY 60 seconds * 60 minutes * 24 hrs * 365 and 1/4 days * 1000 years (you get the idea).

Take a good look at the Book of Revelation -- it's chock full of wild, symbolic, fanciful, extreme imagery and concepts. I'm not exactly expecting to see a huge woman in the sky take the sun and wrap it around herself and then stand on the moon, why then would we take the references to passages of time (twelve hundred and sixty days, three and a half years, one thousand years, etc) literally?

I love the Book of Revelation. It has been one of the most blessed books in the bible, encouraging me to persevere and fight as I walk through this life on the way to my heavenly dwelling..

Jim, you are the man, love you brother, looking forward to crossing paths soon...