The Revival Of Futurist Interpretation Following The Reformation -- By: Ron J. Bigalke Jr.
JODT 13:38 (April 2009) p. 43
The Revival Of Futurist Interpretation Following The Reformation
Author, Lecturer, Pastor, Eternal Ministries, Inc.;
Professor of Bible and Theology, Tyndale Theological Seminary
Biblical eschatology can be divided into two categories: personal eschatology and general eschatology. Personal eschatology addresses the subjects of death, hell, and resurrection. General eschatology addresses the timing of events such as the tribulation and millennium. Whereas there is slight disagreement among evangelicals in regards to personal eschatology, there is significant disagreement among evangelicals in regards to general eschatology. The primary reason for such disagreements is the interpreter’s usage or disregard of a consistent and literal interpretation of biblical prophecies. Of course, this is certainly true in regards to the timing of prophetic fulfillment and the meaning of the millennium.1 Knowledge of the various theological systems of prophetic timing fulfillment provides understanding of the logic and tenets of the various views regarding the meaning of the millennium. If the basic characteristics of preterism, historicism, idealism, and futurism are understood, then it is not difficult to understand a particular position regarding the millennium. Furthermore, the views of prophetic timing are more foundational as to what one believes Scripture to teach concerning the millennium.
The Timing Of Prophetic Fulfillment
There are four possible views concerning the timing of prophetic events: preterism (past), historicism (present), idealism (timeless), and futurism (future). Preterism is the view that the majority of prophetic events have already been fulfilled. Historicism equates the current church age with the time of the tribulation; therefore, prophetic events are being fulfilled throughout the church age. Recognizing that approximately 300 prophecies were fulfilled literally in regards to the first coming of Christ, futurism believes that the remaining prophecies of the second coming
JODT 13:38 (April 2009) p. 44
will also be fulfilled literally in an eschatological period. Idealism is the view that the Bible does not specify a time (chronology) for the fulfillment of prophetic events.
It is unfortunate that such significant disagreement exists among evangelicals in regards to general eschatology. However, the disagreements are not due to lack of clarity in Scripture, but they exist mainly because of either usage or disregard of a consistent and literal interpretation of Bible prophecy. The most natural interpretation of unfilled biblical prophecies lead...
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