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


Living in Light of Two Ages



Life Is Good!

Yankees%20Celebration.jpgGot to take in last night's Angels - Yankees game at Anaheim Stadium.  Not only did the Yankees win the game (its a good thing we didn't go on Tuesday when the Yanks got crushed), but we got to see a couple of our favorite pitchers (Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera--both Christians, by the way).  Joe Torre passed Casey Stengel for second place on the all-time Yankees win list (a huge milestone) and we also got to see the Yankees' rookie phenom Joba Chamberlain strike out the side, including Vlad Guerrero on three pitches, one a very nasty slider.

I say "we" because my son David took me to the game for my birthday present!  This is a real milestone in my life.  David scored the tickets on his own (Yankees tickets are tough to get in Anaheim), and he paid for parking!  He even offered to buy me a hot dog!  Nice to watch your sons grow into honorable men. 

Meanwhile, my youngest son (now 17) has been paying close attention to my hints about what else I want for my birthday (like the Dream Theater official bootleg album in which they play the Deep Purple "Made in Japan" set).  So I'll make out all the way around . . .

Life is good!  Now, if only the Yankees can muster enough starting pitching over the next 30 games to make the playoffs! 


Eschatology Q & A


Eschatology Q & A

A couple of you have asked questions recently about my book on the Antichrist, The Man of Sin.  You can read more about it here, if you are not familiar with it. (Click here: Riddleblog - Man of Sin - Uncovering the Truth About Antichrist). 

In light of my recent review of Hank Hanegraaff's Apocalypse Code (Click here: Riddleblog - The Latest Post - Hanegraaff's "The Apocalypse Code") , I thought this might be a good time to answer them.


Scotty asks (August 20)

Hi Kim,

Having just read your excellent book "The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth About the Antichrist", your position is that a final "Man of Sin" is yet to appear in God's Temple (the Church) at the very end and in concurrence with the "falling away" (if I read correctly).

My question regarding your position is this: How do you see this unfolding in such a divided worldwide Church made up of hundreds if not thousands of denominations, affiliations, and beliefs?

In other words, no one entity currently has such mass influence over all Christians worldwide to bring about such apostasy. The only platform I can see any possibility of this occurring in is the Roman Catholic Church (through the Pope). Is this what you're alluding to or is there another scenario you envision?



My Answer: 

Scotty, I do believe that Scripture teaches that immediately before the end of the age and the return of the Lord, there will be a mass apostasy within the church (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 20:7-10).  When I speak of the church here, I am speaking of the visible church around the world.  This would be all those church bodies which formally confess the content of the Apostle's Creed.

As you note, I believe that in the Thessalonian letter Paul is not speaking of the Jerusalem temple, but of the church. That this is not fulfilled by the events preceding the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 A.D. is very clear in verse 8 of 2 Thessalonians 2, where Paul ties the revelation of this "man of lawlessness" specifically to the time of final judgment (I would recommend that you read G. K. Beale's fine commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians for the exegetical specifics of this).

Since the Roman church at the time of the Reformation fit the bill in many ways, I think the Reformers were largely correct to make the identification between the man of lawlessness and his particular blasphemy with the papacy. But in God's providential timing, the restraining power associated with the recovery of the gospel, prevented the Roman church from succeeding in snuffing out the Reformation and subsequent success of the gospel of free justification sola fide

In other words, the papacy of that age manifested many of the signs mentioned by Paul, but was prevented (restrained) from overcoming the gospel through the use of church authority and state-sponsored military power (Spain, France, and Austria, specifically).

I'm with Geerhardus Vos on this one. There is a certain sense in which the only way we will know what is entailed here, is when it actually happens before our eyes. Therefore, we need to be very cautious about speculation in this regard, lest we become Reformed versions of Jack Van Impe and Hal Lindsey.

That being said, if the "composite photograph" I discuss in my book is a faithful summary of biblical teaching, this final apostasy could involve a resurgent Roman Catholic persecution of Protestants (but this is not likely), or some form of apostasy wherein professing believers bow the knee to a political leader (the false prophet, who directs the world to worship the beast, which is the God-hating civil government), bent on wiping out the church, having been empowered by the dragon (Satan) to do that very thing.  This could be a secular state, trying to wipe out all religion.  It could be an Islamic state trying to wipe out Christianity . . . who knows?  I sure don't.  But if I'm alive when it happens, I am sure that I (as well as all other believers) will know what is going on!

I really don't think we can say any more than this. But we certainly don't want to say less, either.


Jeff asks (June 2, 2007)

Dr. Riddlebarger-

Just finished "Man of Sin" and found it very helpful. Thanks for all the work and study.

My question is this...why would the great "Abomination" refer to the desecration of the Jerusalem Temple if (due to Christ's sacrifice) the temple was no longer a place of true religious ceremony? Wouldn't that make the temple's religious significance disappear,and then mean that to "desecrate" it would be no different from mistreating any other place? Maybe it is just semantics.

Thanks, Jeff


My Answer: 

Let me put it this way. When Christ died on the cross, the temple veil is dramatically torn from top to bottom. This dramatic opening of the most holy place to the light of day is filled with important symbolism, not the least of which is that the sacrifices in the temple and the work of the high priest are from that moment on, rendered obsolete in light of Christ's final (once for all) sacrifice for sin. Therefore, whatever sacrifices occur in the temple and whatever role the high priest attempts to play after Christ has died, is no longer an act of worship, but an act of blasphemy.

Once Christ dies for our sins, the temple becomes Ichabod and its activities an "abomination" to the Lord. All of this culminates in the tragic Diaspora of the Jewish people and the eventual destruction of the temple by the armies of Titus in 70 A.D.

To put it another way, Christ's sacrifice does away with the temple's role in redemptive history, making way for that horrible complex of events in which Gaius (Caligula) sets up an image of himself in A.D. 40, and when the temple becomes the place where those zealots resisting the armies of Titus in the inner and outer court are mercilessly slaughtered as described by Josephus. 

The point is not so much when the "Abomination" occurs (the exact moment), but that it does occur, as seen in the culmination all of these events.  The temple of YHWH is rendered desolate and an abomination to God.

Hope that helps!


Who Said That?

question%20mark.jpgWho Said That?

 "Fact is, as we continue to study these matters, our conclusions are confirmed again and again. We find more and more evidence of the likelihood that 2011 could well be the end-time year. Thus, we are greatly stimulated to send forth the Gospel so that as many people as possible can hear the Gospel in the shortest possible time.  If this world is still in existence after the end of 2011, we will know that there is still much more we can learn from the Bible. Before that time, or at that time, we surely will receive correction from the Bible concerning any conclusions which prove to be in error."

Place your guesses in the comments section below.  Please, no google searches or cheating.   


A Reply to John MacArthur's 2007 Shepherd's Conference Lecture on Self-Respecting Calvinists and Premillennialism


“John MacArthur on Calvinism, Dispensationalism, Israel and Hermeneutics: A Few Comments”

In April 2007, I made my way through Dr. MacArthur’s controversial lecture, “Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist Is a Premillennialist” (given at the Shepherd’s Conference at Grace Community Church, on March 7, 2007). The lecture can be ordered here (
Click here: MacArthur: Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Premillennialist « Faith by Hearing).

Regrettably, I am just now getting around to completing my response–my day job kept getting in the way.  Better late than never, perhaps?

As we have come to expect of him, Dr. MacArthur spoke with great passion, covered much ground quickly, and had a great deal to say. No question, Dr. MacArthur commands authority. One can easily see why Dr. MacArthur is so widely-respected. When it comes to the gospel, he’s on the side of the angels. When it comes to eschatology, however, I must beg to differ.

As a Reformed amillennarian (who was raised a dispensationalist) I had a powerful gut-level reaction to Dr. MacArthur’s lecture.  While this lecture was well-received by the friendly and largely dispensational home court audience to whom it was delivered, surely Dr. MacArthur knew that his words would amount to picking a fight with those Reformed amillennarians who may have been present. This was not the playful jab that conference speakers often take at one another at such events. No, this was a warning of sorts–a shot fired across the bow.

My take is that this was MacArthur’s attempt to go from being on defense to switching over to offense. Despite the self-assurance with which the lecture was delivered, in many ways, the lecture seemed like a rather desperate attempt to stem the rising tide of interest in Reformed amillennialism in the Reformed-evangelical conference circuit, where many are now openly rejecting MacArthur’s beloved dispensationalism. At least that’s how it seemed to me.

As I worked my way through the specific points raised by Dr. MacArthur, it was very hard not to become exasperated. The lecture seemed out of place at such a conference and would have been a much better fit at a conference devoted to dispensational eschatology. At least the audience would have known what was coming in advance.

More to the point, “Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist Is a Premillennialist” was a rather strident attack upon something that I as a Reformed amillennarian don’t believe. In fact, it was hard to recognize my own position as Dr. MacArthur made his case. Sadly, this was clearly an attack upon something that Dr. MacArthur truly believes that Reformed amillennarians believe. The same circumstance was true, no doubt, for those historic premillennarians, who likewise embrace Calvinism and arrived at the “Shepherd’s Conference” only to be told that in order to be consistent to Scripture and God's sovereignty, they too must embrace MacArthur’s dispensationalism in addition to being premillennial.

That Dr. MacArthur is a premillennial dispensationalist comes as no surprise. He has every right to state and defend his position, especially before his home church. But I am sure that many in the audience gathered for the Shepherd’s Conference were taken aback by the fact that he picked this particular forum--especially when a number of Reformed amillennarians were present and when several well-known amillenarians were invited to speak at the conference–to make the point that unless you adopt the dispensational hermeneutic you are unable to understand much of the Bible (certainly the eschatological portions).

With a rather striking measure of audacity, Dr. MacArthur went on to argue that unless you are a dispensationalist, you cannot be a “consistent Calvinist.” Under such circumstances, it is no wonder that as soon as live-blogger Tim Challies posted his initial report about MacArthur’s lecture, emails began to fly and the blogosphere went nuts! “Did you hear what MacArthur said about Calvinism?” “Did you hear what MacArthur said about amillennialism?” “Did you hear what he said about Calvin?” Thankfully, things have now calmed down a bit and we can look at these matters more objectively.

To read the rest of this response, Click here: Riddleblog - A Reply to John MacArthur 


Let's Just Call the God of the Bible `Allah'

Tiny%20Muskens.jpgBishop Martinus "Tiny" Muskens--a retiring Dutch bishop having either a senior moment or revealing his universalism--is proposing that people of all faiths simply refer to God as "Allah."  While many of Muskens' fellow Catholics are appalled (no surprise), the people at CAIR are thrilled (no surprise either).

According to a recent news article (Click here: - Roman Catholic Bishop Wants Everyone to Call God 'Allah' - International News | News of the World |):


"A proposal by a Roman Catholic bishop in the Netherlands that people of all faiths refer to God as `Allah' is not sitting well with the Catholic community.  Tiny Muskens, an outgoing bishop who is retiring in a few weeks from the southern diocese of Breda, said God doesn't care what he is called.

`Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn't we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? ... What does God care what we call him? It is our problem,' Muskens told Dutch television.

`I'm sure his intentions are good but his theology needs a little fine-tuning,' said Father Jonathan Morris, a Roman Catholic priest based in Rome. Morris, a news analyst for FOX News Channel, also called the idea impractical.  `Words and names mean things,' Morris said. `Referring to God as Allah means something.'"


Foolish me.  I thought that a bishop’s theology was supposedly above the need for such fine tuning.  Meanwhile, CAIR's response (below) is predictable.


"Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington, D.C.-based Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group, backs the idea as a way to help interfaith understanding.

`It reinforces the fact that Muslims, Christians and Jews all worship the same God,' Hooper told `I don't think the name is as important as the belief in God and following God's moral principles. I think that's true for all faiths.'  Christians who are Arabic speakers speak of Allah when they speak of God, Hooper added. `There's not a theological leap to make on the part of Christians,' Hooper said. 

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago supports the idea.  `I think it will open up doors,' said Janaan Hashim, a spokeswoman for the group representing more than 400,000 Muslim Americans in the Chicago area. `Language is a man-made limitation. I think what God cares about is how we fulfill our purpose in life.'

The nation’s largest Catholic civil rights group says Catholics won't get behind the proposal.  `Bishop Martinus `Tiny' Muskens can pray to `Allah' all he wants, but only addlepated Catholics will follow his lead,' Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said in a statement. `It is not a good sign when members of the Catholic hierarchy indulge in a fawning exchange with Muslims, or those of any other religion.'

Muskens spent eight years in Indonesia, where he said priests used the word `Allah' during Mass.  Muskens also has drawn attention for other ideas such as encouraging the hungry to steal bread and offering condoms to combat HIV and AIDS."



As for the reason why the God of the Bible cannot be addressed by the name "Allah," check out my sermon on article eight of the Belgic Confession  (Click here: 

Even through the Arabic word for God is "Allah," Christians worship the Triune God who is supremely revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.  We do not worship the generic "god" of the world's religions, nor the false God of Islam, known as "Allah."

You'd think a bishop would know better . . .


Hanegraaff's "The Apocalypse Code"

apocalypse%20code.jpgSeveral of you have asked me about my take on Hank Hanegraaff's recent book, The Apocalypse Code (Click here: The Apocalypse Code: Find Out What the Bible REALLY Says About the End Times . . . and Why It Matters).  So, here goes.

On the one hand, Hanegraaff does a very good job debunking the popular dispensational end-times scenarios set out by the likes of John Hagee and Tim LaHaye.  Hanegraaff exposes the embarrassing problem faced by dispensationalists who claim to interpret the Bible literally, and who cannot make good on that promise.  While John (Revelation 1:3; 22:10) tells us that the things recorded in his apocalyptic vision are soon to come to pass, dispensationalists are forced to tell us that "near" and "soon" don't really mean "near" and "soon."  Instead, dispensationalists tell us, these things don't come to pass until the end of the age--a rather embarrassing problem given their insistence that they take the Bible (especially prophecy) "literally."

Hanegraaff also does a very good job debunking the Israel-centered hermeneutic of popular dispensational writers.  Hanegraaff capably demonstrates that Jesus Christ is the true hermeneutical center of all of Scripture and that many of the things dispensationalists assign to the future and the end of the age (i.e., in the millennium), are already fulfilled in Christ!  This includes the land promise of the Abrahamic covenant, the fact that Christ is the true temple, and so on. Hanegraaff also effectively replies to the common dispensational rant that non-dispensationalists are intrinsically anti-Semitic. 

In all of these regards, Hanegraaff's book offers an effective rebuttal to dispensational claims.  Would that all those who read Lindsey, LaHaye, and Hagee, and think their stuff is gospel, would also read Hanegraaff and consider well the biblical evidence he adduces which undoes the dispensational system.

On the other hand, Hanegraaff's The Apocalypse Code, has several serious weaknesses.  I hate to criticize Hank personally, since he was so gracious to me when I was a guest on the Bible Answer Man several years ago.  Hank was still working through his position on these matters and gave me two full hours on national radio to make my case.  He had read my first book (A Case for Amillennialism) from cover to cover, was thoroughly conversant with all of the key issues and was very nice to my teenage son who went to the studio with me.  Dads remember such things and I am grateful.

That being said, here are what I see as the main problems with The Apocalypse Code, and which detract from its overall impact and import. 

First, the use of neo-logisms ("I coined the phrase Exegetical Eschatology -- e2", implying that dispensationalists don't do exegesis), the use of mnemonic devices (LIGHTS), and guilt by association arguments (LaHaye is juxtaposed with Bill Maher and Bill Clinton, among others) seriously undercuts the very point that Hanegraaff is trying to make--which is that LaHaye, Hagee, et al., can't be taken seriously.  Inventing your own self-designation ("Exegetical Eschatology") requires that you do serious exegesis, not stoop to the sensationalist genre of those whom you are endeavoring to refute. 

Refuting sensationalist eschatology with sensationalism might sell books, but this approach seriously detracts from Hanegraaff's overall case.  The result is, in my opinion, Hanegraaff's book has a "snotty," condescending and sensationalist tone to it.  This would make me reluctant to give The Apocalypse Code to a dispensational friend who was not yet at the point of re-thinking their entire eschatology.

Second, Hanegraaff adopts the partial preterist interpretation of the eschatological language of the New Testament.  That's fine by me, since I too believe that the Olivet Discourse is primarily aimed to the disciples and that the events predicted there (with the exception of the Second Advent), are largely fulfilled by the events of A.D. 70.  But Hanegraaff's "partial" preterism leads to the usual (and in my estimation, flawed) interpretation of a number of key points.

Preterists of all stripes are forced to argue for a pre-70 A.D. date for the Book of Revelation.  I think the internal evidence points strongly for a date much closer to 95 A.D--although the dating of Revelation ultimately does not effect my overall eschatological position, which is Reformed amillennialism.  I get the sense from writers like Hanegraaff (and Ken Gentry), that once you make the leap to some form of preterism, you've got to make the case for an early date for Revelation.  You now have to "prove" this early date, not objectively examine evidence as to when John might have been given his vision.

Because of this preterist presupposition demanding an early date for the apocalypse, you get all kinds of far-fetched interpretations from Hanegraaff:  Babylon (Revelation 17-18) is apostate Israel, not Rome; Nero and the current Roman Caesars fulfill in its entirety the beast motif (Revelation 13); and that the Jerusalem Temple was still standing when John was given his vision (based upon a misinterpretation of Revelation 11:1-3). 

It is also highly problematic to argue that Christ returned (in a some form of parousia) with the events of 70 A. D.  No doubt, the destruction of the temple marks the end of the Jewish era (not the end of "this age,") and it clearly led to the diaspora and the curse upon apostate Israel being tragically realized as foretold by Jesus in Matthew 23:37-39.  But such does not constitute a "coming of Jesus."  How many second comings are there?  One or two?  And isn't one of the criticisms of dispensationalists that they teach a "real coming" at the Rapture which no one sees?

Hanegraaff's The Apocalypse Code has enough weaknesses that I would be hesitant to give it to a dispensationalist who was not at the point of jettisoning their dispensationalism.  I would give it (and therefore recommend it) to someone who was widely-read in this field, had thought about these issues for some time, and who understood most of the nuances and differences associated with these issues.  The Apocalypse Code might just give that person the final shove they need.

Man%20of%20sin%20small.jpgSince this is my blog and I'm therefore entitled to make shameless appeals to those who read it, let me just say that I too have written a book which covers much of the same ground, and which I think is more exegetically based.  Reformed amillennialism (i.e., Horton, Vos, Kline, Hoekema, Venema, Johnson, Beale) is not only able to deal with the "time is near" language of the Book of Revelation, it also does not strip the New Testament of those eschatological events which are yet to be fulfilled in the future.

You can find more information about my book, The Man of Sin, here:  Click here: Riddleblog - Man of Sin - Uncovering the Truth About Antichrist


In Adam's Fall, Sinned We All

Rizzuto%20young.jpgRizzuto%20old.jpgBaseball fans know who Phil Rizzuto was and how he spent his last 60 + years in baseball.  He won seven world series titles and then was the Yankees' broadcaster for over 40 years.  He died yesterday after a long and illustrious career.

When I saw these two pictures juxtaposed, it struck me how the vigor of youth inevitably gives way to the craggy face of old age and declining health, and then finally to death.  As one wag put it, "nobody gets out of here alive."

Just as Phil Rizzuto was once a seemingly indestructible young shortstop and then a tired old man in a rest home, so too (barring an early death, or Christ's second advent) each one of us will go through the same sad transformation from the vigor of youth to the reality of old-age.   Rizutto's fate is our fate . . .  But it happens so slowly that we don't often observe it--especially in ourselves.  Yet, when we look at what happens over 60 years, wow . . .

The reason for this remarkable transformation?  As the Puritans put it, "in Adam's fall, sinned we all."  Yes, ours is a fallen race.  In the aging face of Phil Rizutto we see what is common to all of Adam's fallen children--the common curse, which is death.  Paul tells us plainly in Romans 5:19, "For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners."  The reason that indestructible young shortstops become sick old men is because of Adam's fall.

That is why our only hope must be in Jesus Christ, "who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification" (Romans 4:25).  If Christ is not raised, we are still in our sins.  But if Christ be raised, then the effects of sin will be forever undone and we will be raised imperishable, truly indestructible!


Ministerial Qualifications

New%20Life%20Church%20Colorado%20Springs.jpgSaw this recent news article about Ted Haggard's replacement at New Life Church in Colorado Springs--Rev. Brady Boyd (Click here: Colorado church recommends replacement for Haggard ( 

Here is his bio as given in the news story:

"Boyd, a graduate of Louisiana Tech University, served as senior pastor of Trinity Fellowship Church in Hereford, Texas, before joining Gateway in 2001. He has experience in sales management and in TV and radio broadcasting, according to his Web site. He is married with two children."

I think that just about says it all . . .  

Sadly, this is what far too many evangelicals are looking for--a pastor with sales experience and a face for TV.


Yet Another Reason (or Two) to Dislike Barry B*nds

barry%20bonds%20before%20the%20roids.jpgAs if you needed one, here's another reason why Barry B*nds is so universally disliked by baseball fans.  Yes, he is the greatest hitter of the modern era.  Yes, he belongs in the hall of fame (unless we find out he committed the unpardonable baseball sin--betting on games in which he managed, like Pete Rose).  But his home run record should have one big, giant asterisk!  The man is a cheater.

Aside from the steroid abuse (read Game of Shadows if you still think this is unfounded), the very public mistress (while B*nds parades his wife and kids around like nothing was going on), the impending perjury charges and tax fraud matter with the IRS, B*nds is simply one cold-hearted dude:  Click here: Beaver County Times Allegheny Times - Steigerwald column: Bonds isn't a good guy.

Another writer thinks that B*nd's armor plated elbow brace has helped him hit more home runs.  I'm ambivalent about this one, but found it interesting nonetheless (Click here: Barry Bonds' HR Record Tainted by Elbow 'Armor'?)

As Peter Abraham so aptly puts it (Click here: If Yankees pony up the money, A-Rod isn't going anywhere), "The less space and energy wasted on fraudulent home-run king Barry Bonds, the better. But here's our question: How can Curt Schilling be the only honest man in uniform? Throughout baseball, dozens of players, managers and coaches offered Bonds hearty congratulations, as if Tuesday were a day to be cherished.

`He's the greatest player to walk between the lines,' Arizona second baseman Orlando Hudson said. `It's good for baseball,' St. Louis outfielder Jim Edmonds said.

Good for baseball? In what way, shape or form can having a surly cheater holding the game's most cherished record be good for baseball?  Only Schilling - often a boor himself - has called out Bonds in public. Why haven't any others?

It seems obvious that a much larger percentage of players than believed have used performance-enhancing drugs to some degree and are afraid to have their own skeletons exposed. Or they fear the wrath of teammates who have used.

Even some writers, in an apparent case of Stockholm syndrome, now view Bonds in a sympathetic light. He's a product of his times, a flawed hero. Hopefully, Bonds will fade away after this season and join Mark McGwire in shameful seclusion. Perhaps then baseball will move past its steroids era.

In the meantime, here's to Roger Maris and Hank Aaron, two sluggers whose accomplishments should be remembered with a smile, not a grimace."

IMHO, Peter Abraham's Yankees blog is the best sports blog, period (Click here: The LoHud Yankees Blog.


Who Said That?

question%20mark.jpgWho said that?

"From this we should learn that everything which is not united with our God and Christ cannot be other than an abomination which we should shun and flee from. By this is meant all popish and antipopish works and church services, meetings and church attendance, drinking houses, civic affairs, the commitments [made in] unbelief and other things of that kind, which are highly regarded by the world and yet are carried on in flat contradiction to the command of God, in accordance with all the unrighteouness which is in the world. From all these things we shall be separated and have no part with them for they are nothing but an abomination, and they are the cause of our being hated before our Christ Jesus, Who has set us free from the slavery of the flesh and fitted us for the service of God through the Spirit Whom He has given us."

You know the drill . . .  Leave your guesses in the comments section below.  Please don't cheat and spoil it for everyone else.