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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources

Ask A Question About Eschatology

If you would like to ask a question about Reformed amillennialism, ask it here.

If the question is relevant to readers of the Riddleblog, or has not already been answered, I'll get to it when I can.  I try to answer one of these a week, so, obviously, I cannot get to all of them.

Please be sure to read through previously answered questions first.  I may have already tackled it!

Questions and answers are archived in the "Answers to Questions About Eschatology" section.

Dear Dr. Riddlebarger,
My pastor preached a sermon this week on the difference between the Second coming and the Rapture. One of his main points was that Christs foot touches the Mt of Olives in Zechariah 14. He said that it would like Christians stepping into an elevator to go up, but then coming back down. He also referenced Revelation 19, and said that it says nothing about being caught up. Any of your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Dawson
Hi Dr. Riddlebarger

About three weeks ago I started listening to your Amillennialism 101 lectures, and was really enthralled by them. I've really enjoyed them. They're fantastic. Thank you, for them.

This question pertains more to covenant theology than it does to amillennialism itself, but if covenant theology falls, so goes amillenialism. Furthermore, I felt comfortable asking this when I saw you answer a dating question related to Revelation.

Here goes:

Was circumcision in the Old Covenant given to the elect and their children, or to ethnic Israel? If it was to the elect, then why were some children born to non-elect Israel circumcised (I'm assuming this happened, but it seems pretty obvious that it would)? If it was to ethnic Israel, why is it said that baptism replaces it, when baptism is for those in God's covenant?

The deeper issue I'm facing is that I think that circumcision was given to ethnic Israel (because, it seems that all Abraham's male descendents were circumcised). In that case, either the Church replaces ethnic Israel, as baptism replaces circumcision (i.e., replacement theology), or a different covenant is given to believers, as a different sign (baptism) is given to believers (i.e., dispensationalism). Neither of these are really the covenant theology you describe.

I guess the solution is that circumcision really was meant for only the elect and then it spread to all ethnic Israel, even unbelieving Israel, out of the children not understanding that the promise was for the spiritual seed, not the physical seed.

What do you think of all this? Any ideas about a better solution? I hope to hear from you or read it in one of your Q&As.

In Christ
Pete
November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPete
Dear Dr. Riddlebarger,

I read your book "A Case for Amillennialism," and I was so inspired. When I began studying Eschatology, I had numerous questions regarding what aspects of Eschaology have already taken place, which one's are currently taking place, and one's that are still yet to pass, but so much more is clear to me now. You made things so clear in your book about the already/not yet concept, the course of redemptive history, and the two age model, and I'd like to thank you for all your wonderful work, because it has helped me understand so much. I believe Amillennialism makes the most sense regarding Eschatology, and I would like to share the good news I've learned from your book with other classmates, especially with a few of my close Premillennial friends. They don't understand how many theological errors Premillennialism truly presents, and they have a false idea of what Amillennialism truly is as well. I would like your advice on how to go about presenting Amillennialism to them in a reasonable and understanding manner.
September 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrett Hochstetler
Dr. Riddlebarger,
I've enjoyed your sermons on eschatology and actually listen to them as I fold laundry at home with the kids. I have friends who are Messianic Jews, and they contend that Jews are being saved in record numbers. They see this as a definite sign of the end times (also tied to the feast of trumpets?). . .Israel is even granting full recognition to messianic Jews living there, which has garnered "hate" crimes against this group. Would you consider that their assessment of Jews coming to belief in Christ is accurate?
Thanks -- I'm an avid fan of White Horse Inn (and a partner to boot)
Martha Spurlock
Louisville, KY (home of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, but NO Reformed congregations)
August 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermartha
I just got donereading Hendricksen's commentery of The Book of Revelation. My question is does there need to be eschatlogcal anti christ couldnt the antichrist be anti christian politcal power? In short does it nescerlly have to be a future being couldnt it just be a system?
August 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAaron
Hello!

I remain convinced of the Preterist interpretation of Matthew 1-35 of the Olivet Discourse, but not so convinced of the Preterist interpretation of Revelation, and a lot of that is due to the date issue, which you critiqued so well in your "A Problem for Preterists".

Is there any contradiction in holding to your modified idealist approach to revelation but an orthodox preterist approach to the Olivet Discourse? And is there anyone of importance that has held such a position?
June 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMark
I an looking for an answer: John (rev 21) sees a new heaven and new eartn coming down.

Then he sees the New Jerusalem coming down.

These events cannot be future from us because people are already drinking from that river of life which is in the midst of the city. In other words the gates have already been opened!

Since it seems that the river is a metaphor for the Holy Spirit (John 7:38/Is.55:1 notice that the lord exhorts all to drink freely from that river), and since the new jerusalem=the bride=the church (rev 21:9-10/22:17), should we not also view the new heaven and earth as a metaphor (possibly for the new covenant)?

On what basis is it to be understood as literal in Rev 21?

If it is future why are people drinking from that river?

Why does the Spirit (river) and the Bride (new Jerusalem) exhort people to come and drink freely? Is this not the call of the gospel?
March 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDion
Hello Dr. Riddlebarger,
My question is regarding the amillenial interpretation of Jesus' self defense against the Pharisees recorded in Luke 11:14-23 and Matthew 12:22-32.
Amillenialists seem to jump on Matthew 12:29 and claim that it teaches that Jesus has bound satan (sometimes tying it into Revelation 20).
My first question is, given the hermeneutic rules of interpreting parables, isn't that a complete misuse of the passage? Given that the the issue is about Jesus' source of power and the amazing statement that it is the power of God that is casting out demons, not being in league with satan... The punch of the parable seems to be that Jesus is more powerful than satan (so the parallel passage in Luke doesn't mention binding but instead uses the word 'overpowering'), and to use the parable to make a theological point about satan being literally 'bound' is to abuse the passage. Could you please tell me how amillenialists defend this unusual and unique usage of metaphorical language?
Thank you in advance.
February 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdaninkorea
Dr. Riddlebarger,

I have been a dispensationalist for years. However, I have become increasingly convinced, from my study of Scripture, as a pastor, that the N.T. church is, at least in some sense, the true people of God and the goal to which O.T. redemptive history pointed. I now see much more continuity in God's program and present fulfillment of O.T. prophecies regarding Israel. However, I have not been convinced, at this point, by the arguments for amillennialism (I do plan to purchase and read your book soon). At the same time, I do see some significant problems with premil., so I am still open. I understand that one of the arguments for an amil. understanding of Rev. 20:1-10 is the fact that the thrones seem to be thrones set in heaven. The saints are seen reigning with Christ in the present, in a spiritual sense. My question is this, what do you make of verses like Matt. 19:28 and Rev. 2:26-27? The first indicates the apostles reigning over the tribes of Israel. The second certainly seems to indicate a political rule of believers over nations of the earth. This is, by any millennial interpretation, a quotation from Psa. 2 relating to Messiah's future (then) reign over the nations of the world, which seems to be a prominent theme of the whole book of Psalms and a significant part of O.T. theology as a whole. So, do you assign these passages to this age or to the new earth or both? In either case, in what way could the saints be said to be reigning or judging over nations, including the tribes of Israel?

December 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Shingler
Dear Dr. Riddlebarger,
I have been reading " A case for amillenialism", and I find it refreshing and challenging.
I have studied briefly Romans 9-11 prior to reading your chapter entitled "Romans 11--Is there a future for Isreal?".
I agree with most of your points, but I am curious about your analysis of Romans 11.26.
Why is the interpretation of 11.26 not simply this, that "all Israel" consists of all true believers of all ages and all ethnicities, and is not limited to national or ethnic Isreal?
Paul stated in Romans 9.6-8 that "they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham: but,"In Isaac your seed shall be called". That is , those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted as the seed".
During the time of the old covenant, righteousness was imputed to those who believed in the promise of God- that He would send a Messiah who would deliver people from the power and consequence of sin. The new covenant is the same, only with the Messiah having been revealed, and those who believe, being made righteous by imputation. True Israel ("all Israel" of Ro. 11.26) is comprised of all who believe in the same promise. Not so?
November 5, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjohn tindor
Hello:

I have seen that there is a great deal of emphasis amongst premillennialists on the seven feasts of Israel and how they are prophetic. They see that Passover is prophetic of the crucifixion, Unleavened Bread of Christ's burial, First Fruits of His resurrection, and Pentecost of the pouring out of the Spirit. I think the reasoning is pretty solid on the prophetic nature of these first four feasts. However it is the three fall feasts where I am uncertain. Premillennialists see the Feast of Trumpets as a prophecy of the Rapture, the Day of Atonement as a prophecy of the Second Coming and Tabernacles as a prophecy of the Millennial Reign of Christ. How would the Amillennialist view these feasts? I could see Trumpets being a prophecy for the Rapture/Day of Resurrection, Day of Atonement a prophecy for Judgment Day, and Tabernacles the inauguration of the Eternal State. Would you agree or is all this Feast stuff nonsense?
October 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJesse
I do not understand Matthew 27:52-53. Who are these "holy" people, where were they and why are they out of the tomb now? I thought they were already in heaven?
October 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRyan
Hello Dr. Riddlebarger,

I have a Literature professor (Bible as Lit.) who says, along with many other scholars, that the apostle Paul believed that the end of the world was at hand and it would occur in his lifetime. How should we respond to this idea and the texts they refer to demonstrate it? This idea in my opinion contributes to unbelief.
May 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto
Another question ...
If the 1000 years (as a symbol of a long period of time) occurs before the second coming then are we to assume that John considers the second coming to be a long way off?

Adam Olive
February 2, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Olve
I've moved from dispensationalism a couple of years ago to historic premillenialism. But I am increasingly open toward amillenialism (This seems a common movement for people leaving disp.) My question is:

The idea of an abomination that desolates and the cessation of sacrifices in Daniel appears 5 times. In 4 out of 5 cases the references seems to be to Antiochus or the Antichrist.

(Daniel 7:25) "He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times [of sacrifices] and the laws [of temple observances]. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time."

(Daniel 8:11-14) "It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. … "How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled--the vision concerning the [removal of the] daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?"

(Daniel 11:31-32) ""His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him."

(Daniel 12:11) ""From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.

In these 4 passages above the reference is always to sacrifices ceasing due to the sinful action of Antiochus/Antichrist.

Within the context of Daniel doesn't it make more sense to interpret Daniel 9:27 as also describing the cessation of sacrifice to the same cause i.e. an Antiochus/Antichrist figure rather than to the positive action of Jesus?

Context within Daniel seems to be this is due to negative Antiochus/Antichrist figures (as I noted in the 4 other cases).

your sincerely,

Adam Olive

(Daniel 9:27) He shall make a strong covenant with many for 1 week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.

February 2, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Olve
As amillenarians, we agree that there's substantial biblical evidence in favor of the amil view, as well as substantial problems with the premil view.

Nevertheless, the premil view wouldn't exist among those who hold a high view of the Bible if there weren't some passages and arguments that seemed to favor the premil view and/or pose difficulties for the amil view.

What, in your opinion, are the biggest challenges to the amil view? (Follow up questions: Are there any challenges that fit in this category which haven't been asked here? And how would you respond to such challenges?)
January 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWayne Rohde
Dr. Riddlebarger,

Blessings this Christmas season to you and your family. My question is pretty quick and simple. Have you read Louis Brightons, Concordia Commentary, on Revelation. If so do you have any thoughts on it.

I've read some chapters, its large, and found it wonderfully helpful in strenghtening the faith of the believer, especially under suffering and trial, as I have all amillinial works which point strictly to the Cross.

Blessings in Christ alone,

Larry Hughes
KY
December 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLarry Hughes
From where do many of you from the Amillennialists persuasion get the faulty understanding that believing in the 'secret' rapture requires Jesus touching down on planet Earth; ie. coming in 2 parts...? I see no one from the Dispensational camp saying that at all.

We Pre-mills believe Jesus will call The Church up to Him from the heavens...and at the end of the 7 year Tribulation...we return with Him. It seems many from the amillenial camp would like to use this Straw Man argument...its non-sense!
December 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Leonardo

Point 1: The Great Harlot ruled over the world (Global Hegemony). 18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth." Rev 17:18

Point 2: The Beast ruled over the world (Global Hegemony). It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. Rev 13:6-8

Point 3: The Beast (along with the10 kings) hates the Great Harlot and destroys her with fire 16 And the ten horns which you saw on the Beast, these hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the Beast Rev 17:16-17

Therefore, the Great Harlot which ruled over the world is destroyed by the Beast and only then does the Beast rules over the world. Correct me if I am wrong but that is the only logical conclusion.

Now my question. In your opinion is Rev 13:7 The Beast made war against the Saints, Rev 17:16 the Beast made war against the Harlot, and finally Rev 20: 7-9 Satan and the deceived nations represented by Gog and Magog unit in battle against the beloved city (the Church) all describing the same global conflict?

Thanks Rick
September 20, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRick Storace
Re: the pre-wrath rapture theory ... one more point:

In addition to the fact that Scripture nowhere pinpoints the rapture as occurring halfway between the middle and the end of the tribulation, but rather pinpoints the rapture as occurring at the very time of Christ's return, the pre-wrath view experiences yet another problem. Advocates of the pre-wrath rapture view rightly rake the pre-trib and mid-trib views over the coals for separating the coming of Christ into two future comings (once for the rapture, and a second for the second advent); yet they themselves insert a gap between the rapture and the second advent (cf. the five month torment during the fifth trumpet judgment in Rev. 9:5,10 - demanding at least five months between their rapture and their second coming!) ... meaning that despite their protestations, they themselves effectively believe in two separable future comings of Christ!

What is it that pre-tribbers, mid-tribbers and pre-wrathers just don't get about the biblical teaching that Jesus will come again (once) ... and that when He does, the dead will be raised, the living will be raptured, all will be judged, the cosmos will be renovated, etc.???

It seems to me that pre-wrathers are like a man with one eye open and one eye closed. With their open eye they can see the many errors of pre-tribulationism, but with their one eye closed they cannot see the grave problems with the system they substitute for the pre-trib view! Any thoughts?
September 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWayne Rohde

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