Tomorrow’s News & Today’s Living
Carol & I were privileged to have attended a Bible prophecy conference over the past few days in Lancaster, PA. The title of the conference was Repairing Our World? with the emphasis on the “?”. The sessions focused on God’s redemptive plan for the world beginning with the fall of man in Genesis and ending with the restoration of the world in Revelation. The overriding theme was that God is doing and will do what He has promised to do even when it may not be readily apparent. Our problem is that we often get in the way of what God is doing by thinking that it is our responsibility to repair this broken world rather than allowing God to do what only He can do. Consequently, what we believe about tomorrow (our prophetic understanding) will influence, if not determine, how we act today.
There are three basic views of bible prophecy. The first is the amillennial view. This view sees the millennial kingdom of God in a non-literal sense. The kingdom is not future, but present. The reign of Christ is not immediate from Jerusalem, but intermediate (through the Church) from heaven. The promises of God, especially relating to the nation of Israel, are not to be understood literally, but spiritualized and appropriated by the Church. This understanding has led to Replacement Theology which basically states that since the nation of Israel rejected its Messiah, God has rejected it and replaced it with the Church. Two major problems are inherent with this theology. First, what happens to any believer should they fail in their walk with God? Will the promises He has made be forfeited and given to another? The second also deals with how we are to understand and then apply the promises of God to our lives. If the promises made to Israel cannot be understood literally, then are the personal promises God has made to be understood literally? Can we really take God at His Word? But God is in the process of restoring the nation of Israel and one day there will be a national repentance and Israel will welcome its Messiah. Then all the promises made to Abraham, Isaac & Jacob will literally be fulfilled.
The second view is the postmillennial view. This view is in many ways similar to the amillennial view in that it also spiritualizes the promises of God rather than interpret them literally. The emphasis of this view is that it sees the Church triumphantly “Christianizing” the world and bringing about a millennial like condition of peace and prosperity. It then becomes the Church’s responsibility to enact the reign of God on earth in all matters of social and political affairs. In that it is very similar to the amillennial view, it suffers the same problems such as how one is to understand the promises of God. But it also suffers a major problem of congruence to reality. Just ask yourself if the world is getting better or more “Christian”. The fact of the matter is that the Bible predicts that as time goes on, things will become progressively worse (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
The third view is that of premillennialism. This view interprets the promises of God literally and applies the promises to the people to whom they were given. The promises that were given to the nation of Israel will be fulfilled in the nation of Israel and the promises given corporately to the Church and individually to the believer will be fulfilled appropriately. When Jesus Christ returns to this world, He will reign and being personally present, He alone will repair this world to its original creation order. The believer’s responsibility then, is to evangelize the world (Matthew 28:19-20) rather than Christianize it. There is a huge difference between the two. Evangelism changes a person’s heart toward God which is what the Lord desires (Matthew 15:8). Christianizing may change a person’s morals or ethics which is a good thing, but one that is not good enough. There will be ethical and moral people who will spend eternity in hell (Matthew 19:16-22).
Evangelism is simply the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ. On Calvary’s cross He alone bore your sins and mine and paid for them with His blood, the only payment that God would accept. It is not by any work of our own, either performed by us or for us that can merit salvation. It is simply one’s faith in His person and work that washes away sin and provides acceptance with God. That message repaired my world when I believed it in August of 1981. It can repair yours too!