What is your view on end times Bible prophecy?
Before I delve into a little eschatological agnosticism, let me be clear, I am premillennial, dispensational, and pretribulational in my understanding of the end times. With that said, I am spiritually prepared in case I am wrong. Should the end-times tribulation begin, and I am still here along with other followers of Jesus Christ, I will be surprised, but not shocked or dismayed.
Ultimately, the only aspects of end-times Bible prophecy that are absolutely essential are the return of Jesus Christ and the final judgment, resulting in eternal heaven for those who believe and eternal condemnation for those who reject Christ. People on all sides of the arguments should remember this. A person can disagree with you on virtually every aspect of end-times Bible prophecy and still be your brother/sister in Christ.
If there is anything we can learn from the Pharisees in Jesus' day, perhaps it is that we should not be arrogant regarding our understanding of prophecy. The Pharisees were convinced that they knew exactly who the Messiah would be and what He would do. They had plenty of proof-texts to support their interpretations. But, they were completely wrong. While there were some ancient Jewish rabbis who understood that aspects of the Messiah's ministry would be suffering and atoning, for the most part, they missed it entirely. Is it possible that we (premillennialists, amillennialists, postmillennialists, partial preterists, etc.) are doing the same thing? Yes, it is!
What if parts of the Book of Revelation were fulfilled in AD 70 and will be fulfilled in the end times? Could partial preterists and premillenialists both be right? What if pretribulationalists, midtribulationalists, and posttribulationalists are all wrong, and the rapture actually occurs at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, making it equivalent to the final resurrection? That's foolishness you say? The Pharisees thought it foolishness for the glorious and conquering Messiah to also be a crucified and suffering Savior.
At the end of the rapture passage in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul closes with "Therefore comfort one another with these words." Sadly, end-times beliefs are far more often used as sledgehammers. Instead of focusing so intently on the debatable aspects of the Bible's end times teachings, why don't we focus on what we can know for sure? Jesus, our glorious Messiah and Savior, is coming back. This sin-infected world is coming to an end. We have the opportunity to spend eternity in the most spectacular place imaginable (see Revelation chapters 21-22). Now that is comforting!
S. Michael Houdmann
What is your view on end-times Bible prophecy?