In this post, I want to provide a quick and concise reference guide to the major “end-times” views. There won’t be any criticisms given of any of these views at this time. This list will consist of brief definitions with some helpful links for further study and research. These views are listed below in alphabetical order. The definitions are taken from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology.
Definitions of End-Times Positions
- Amillennialism – The view that there will be no literal thousand-year bodily reign of Christ on earth prior to the final judgment and eternal state; on this view, scriptural references to the millennium in Revelation 20 actually describe the present church age.
- Dispensational Premillennialism – Another term for “pretribulational premillennialism.” The term “dispensational” (defined below) is used because most proponents of this view wish to maintain a clear distinction between the church and Israel, with whom God deals under different arrangements, or “dispensations.”
- Dispensationalism – A theological system that began in the nineteenth century with the writings of J.N. Darby. Among the general doctrines of this system are the distinction between Israel and the church as two groups in God’s overall plan, the pretribulational rapture of the church, the future literal fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel, and the dividing of biblical history into seven periods, or “dispensations,” of God’s ways of relating to His people.
- Historic Premillennialism – The view that Christ will return to earth after a period of great tribulation and then establish a millennial kingdom. At this time, believers who have died will be raised from the dead, and believers who are alive will receive glorified resurrection bodies, and both will reign with Christ on earth for a thousand years.
- Postmillenialism – The view that Christ will return to earth after the millennium. In this view, the millennium is an age of peace and righteousness on the earth, brought about by the progress of the gospel and the growth of the church.
- Preterism – (As defined by Dictionary of Theological Terms) “A method of interpreting the book of the Revelation as a description of conditions in the 1st century A.D. Preterists see the book as a protest in apocalyptic terms against the tyranny of imperial Rome, not as a prophecy of end-time conditions and events.”
The following links are to articles or books that can give greater insight into each of the above-listed views.
- Three Views on the Millennium
- The Bible and The Future
- A Case for Historic Premillennialism
- Postmillennialism Made Easy
- Riddleblog (A great resource for audio lectures from an amillennial perspective)
- An Evening of Eschatology: With John Piper, Doug Wilson, Jim Hamilton, and Sam Storms – A great video presentation showing how people can hold differing views and still love each other in the gospel.