Thy Kingdom Come
A mark of evangelicalism has always
been a vision of the future. Although evangelical beliefs about the
and the apocalypse vary, distinctive of all evangelicals is the expectation
of the personal, visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and glory.
The belief in the visible return of Christ is relatively unique to evangelicalism, but hasn’t always been the majority view (Tidball, 138).
Views of the Millennium
The millennium is only mentioned once in the Bible, in Revelation 20, but evangelists hold different views on how to interpret what the Bible says about the events of the future. Views can be classified into three main categories: postmillennialism, premillennialism and amillennialism.
According to postmillennialist Christians, we are currently living in the kingdom of God as the Holy Spirit spreads its ministry and shares the gospel through believers. In this view, the second coming of Christ will take place after the millennium. The millennium will have arrived when the world has bound Satan and enjoyed a great increase of peace and prosperity. A thousand years will pass before Satan rises once again to bring wickedness and tribulation to the world. The coming of Christ will end the short reign of Satan, and will signal the resurrection, the last judgment and the new creation.
The postmillennial view encourages Christians to preach the gospel in ordinary ways, since Christians will spread God's word through action and deed. It calls for an optimistic outlook on the future of the world when all nations and all people will be united through the preaching of the Gospel and live a long time in peace.
This view has become absorbed into modern thinking and missionary work
and is no longer the prevalent view held by evangelists.
The premillennialist view of endtimes is more typical of what most people imagine evangelists to hold because it has been the most widely publicized through televangelization, Christian radio broadcasting and, now, web evangelization.
Premillennialism holds that the world will become increasingly more corrupt until the reign of the Antichrist. Christ will overthrow the Antichrist at the battle of Armageddon after a period of widespread devastation and grief. Then the millennial rule of prosperity and peace will begin. Satan will rebel, but will be put down easily. The end will then come with the resurrection and the judgment.
The premillennial approach, though not held by all evangelists, is often
thought a typical feature of the evangelist movement because it is often
Evangelists in the amillennialist camp believe that the millennium will
occur neither before nor after the coming of Christ. The millennium
is not literal in this view, but a figurative reference to the present
time of the church, that is, the entire period between the first and second
comings of Christ. Satan is already bound, Christians are bearing
witness to Christ as well as reigning in heaven with Him. The visions
in Revelation speak of the aspects of the present time from both an earthly
and a heavenly perspective. Many evangelical leaders are said to
hold amillennial views.
Information for this page was adapted from the text by Tidball, pp. 139-146.
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