Here are some terms to help you work through the complex topics of this week’s show:
Eschatology is the study of the end times. Much of eschatology focuses on Millennialism, the view that Christ will have a thousand-year reign, as mentioned in Revelation 20:1-6. Within millennialism are a number of different interpretations:
- Amillennialists believe that the thousand-year reign is figurative, and represents the “whole period between Jesus’ resurrection and his return.”
- Postmillennialists believe the thousand-year reign is a “golden age” that began when Christ ascended to heaven, and will be “ushered in by the church through the triumph of the gospel.” Christ will return at the end of the age.
- Premillennialists believe that the thousand-year reign will follow Christ’s return, which will be accompanied by a 7-year period of tribulation and the rapture of believers — a “taking up” as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
Timing of the Rapture in Premillennialism
There are four major viewpoints on the timing of the rapture:
- Pre-Tribulation Rapture — The rapture will occur before the tribulation. This is the viewpoint depicted in the “Left Behind” movie.
- Mid-Tribulation Rapture — The rapture will occur at the mid-point of the tribulation.
- Pre-Wrath Rapture — Christians will live through the tribulation, which will occur during the last 3.5 years of the 7-year period. The rapture will occur before God’s final judgment on the world, sometime during that period.
- Post-Tribulation Rapture — Christians will live through the tribulation, and the rapture will occur at the conclusion.