The End Times Part VII: Dispensationalist Premillenialism’s Recent Origins

When I first started having questions about some of the beliefs I was raised with, I delved into the history of these beliefs. I had thought that Christians had always been Young Earth Creationists, had always believed in Dispensationalist Premillennialism and a Pretribulation rapture, and had always spoken of "inviting Jesus into their hearts" through praying the sinners' prayer. Imagine my surprise when I learned that all of these beliefs were less than two hundred years old. I was completely … [Read more...]

The End Times Part VI: Rapture Anxiety

I have written before about suffering from salvation anxiety and demon anxiety. I was surprised how many others chimed in to say they had shared my experiences. There's a third kind of anxiety to be discussed, though, and that is rapture anxiety.Many Premillennialists believe that the rapture is imminent. As in, really imminent. When I was a child I asked my dad when he thought the rapture would take place. His answer? In the next five or ten years. This sort of thinking is not at all … [Read more...]

The End Times Part V: Signs, Prophesies, and Current Events

I wrote yesterday about the Tribulation. According to Premillennial belief, though, the Tribulation won't just randomly start. Instead, it will be preceded by various signs. When Premillennialists watch current events, they look for these signs.Now, the Bible is chock full of passages talking about the signs of the end times. I'm not going to try to survey them all here, but will instead quote one passage and then turn to how this sort of thing turns out in the way Premillennialists view the … [Read more...]

The End Times Part IV: The Tribulation in Detail

As a child, I was taught that the end time were approaching, that all true Christians would one day be raptured, transported straight to heaven, and that this would be followed by a Tribulation in which God would judge the earth. The tribulation would be a time of horror, a time of disaster and death. I learned the outline of the Tribulation, and about the judgments God would pour out on humans during its seven year length. I believed wholeheartedly that God's judgement was coming, and that it … [Read more...]

The End Times Part III: Dispensationalism

I often wondered as a child how Abraham or Moses could go to heaven if they hadn't heard about Jesus. It is this question that Dispensationalism seeks to answer.Dispensationalism divides the history of humankind into seven "dispensations." During each dispensation God dealt with humans differently, requiring different things of them. In each dispensation, humans failed to live up to the requirements, and in each dispensation the result was judgement.Now there are actually several different … [Read more...]

The End Times Part I: The Millennium, Tribulation, and Rapture

I still remember the kitchen table debates, with charts spread out, Bibles open, and concordances on hand. Would the rapture happen before the tribulation, or during it, or after it? What role would the United States play in the end times? What area of the world would the antichrist be from? Could he possibly be already around - who? These answers to these questions seemed pressing, crucial, important, though in retrospect I'm not entirely sure why.Now if there's anything Christians disagree … [Read more...]