Week 1- Study Course Overview

Why Learn About the Different Models of Eschatology

Besides helping you come to your own personal position on where you stand on the matter of eschatology some of the reasons to be familiar with the different models is because depending on which view you use to approach the bible you will read and interpret certain passages differently based on the model you apply.

This doesn’t mean you can incorporate them all into your view since some of them are mutually exclusive in their application. The purpose of this study course is to help you learn the various models not to tell you which one to believe. That is something you need to read, study, and pray about and come to your own position through God’s guidance.

An example of how your view differs based on your position would be how you view current events in the Middle East. If hold to the Dispensational Premillennial view then you might well think as some people do that we are living in the last days and Christ will soon return. You might respond differently to the U.S. position on questions related to Israel’s defense. However, if you hold to a Preterist position you wouldn’t think the battle of Armageddon was about to take place. You would see the events of the book of Revelation as past events.

Other areas where eschatology could affect your approach to the bible might be your view on miracles. A futurist might think that we are living in an age of miracles, signs, and wonders where a preterist might think the period for these events was primarily between the time of  Pentecost and the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D.

A final example would be that a futurist might think the “New heaven and new earth” refer to cosmic events and the destruction of this World and the creation of a new one while a Preterist might view “new heaven and new earth” as meaning living under the New Covenant of Christianity instead of the Mosiac law of the Old Covenant.

These are just a few examples of course, but you can see how the view you hold on eschatology can have a big influence on how you approach the bible and your relationship to God.

Preview: Week 1 Overview of the Study Course.

Tonight we covered the outline of the course and ever so briefly introduced the Seven Models of Eschatology. The course outline is on the opening post of the blog so I won’t post it again here. We didn’t get as far as the material on how the book of Revelation was put together, but I’m going to go ahead and publish all the notes for this section and anybody who wants to read ahead about the material we will cover next week is welcome to get a jump on the next class.

Here is the overhead of how the book of Revelation was constructed.


Below are the notes from week one.


Models of Eschatology – Week One Outline

PURPOSE: Help participants to become more familiar with the major models of eschatology. It is not to tell anyone what to think, but to help participants become familiar with the different models so they can decide for themselves what they want to believe from a position of knowledge and familiarity with the different models.

Further, to be able to recognize the different models when they are encountered, even when the speaker or writer doesn’t tell you which model they are working from.

I. Classic Premillennialism

A. Future oriented

B. One of the oldest models.

C. Modern State of Israel not relevant

II. Post Millennialism

A. Future oriented

B. Millennial period before Christ returns

III. Amillennialism

A. Millennial period now—it not necessarily 1000 years, just a long period of time.

B. Christ return, judgment after millennial period.

IV. Dispensational Premillennialism

A. Overview

1. Future Oriented

2. Separates Israel from Church

3. Rapture – the only one of the models with a rapture event

4. Video clips

B. Origins

1. John N. Darby

2. Margaret McDonald

3. Edward Irving

V. Idealism – Book of Revelation represents symbolic struggle between good and evil not literal events or specific prophecies.

VI. Preterism—events of Revelation are history

A. Full preterism all events of book of Revelation are history

B. Partial preterism – events up to around the 19th chapter are past events

VII. Historicism—events of book of Revelation repeat themselves through history so both the past and future oriented models can both be correct.

VIII. Timeframe – different models have different amounts of material available on them so time spend on models will vary a great deal. Most models can be done in a week.

A. Dispensational Premillennialism

1. One week covering aspects of the model

2. One week covering history and beginnings of the model

B. Preterism

1. One week covering aspects of model

2. Week or so looking at book of Revelation as history.

****This is the stopping point for week one and where we will start next week****

IX. Revelation Code – how book of Revelation put together.

A. Matthew 24:36 says only the Father knows the day and hour, but after Jesus leaves his earthly limitations and is back in heaven he seems to have more knowledge of his Second Coming. In the book of Revelation He seems to give John more specific details leading up to the event and seems to have more knowledge about its timing.

B. (See graphic on Key to understanding book of revelation) John needs to encode his writing to the Christians in some manner that the Roman authorities won’t recognize what he is saying. Apocalyptic literature is popular at the time which provides cover for his messages by writing in that style.

C. Old Hebrew is now a dead language so it is useful as a code to write his messages to the Christians.

D. Members of the Christian community who have come over from the Jewish faith can provide individuals to read old Hebrew and explain how to interpret the imagery drawn from Hebrew scripture (Old Testament to us).

X. Use of the Terms Earth and World in the Bible

A. The writers of the bible still thought of the earth as flat. It would be the Middle Ages before we would discover that earth is really elliptical shaped.

B. When biblical writers used the term earth or world they were not using the terms the way we use them in Western literature today meaning the entire planet

C. The term earth as used in the bible referred to the local area around Jerusalem or Palestine. The nations of the earth meant those peoples, tribes, and kingdoms in this localized area. (For example: see this footnote from the New Interpreters’s Study Bible, NRSV. Click to enlarge.) nrsv1.jpg

D. The term world used in the bible meant the area around the Mediterranean Sea, not the entire World the way we use the term today. In the New Testament the term all the nations of the world would mean all the nations around the Mediterranean Sea, not all the nations around the globe.

XI. Understanding Cryptograms.

A. Cryptograms could be found in Greek, Latin, and ancient Hebrew. At the time of the writing of the New Testament these civilizations used the same characters for both letters and numbers. By adding up the numerical value of the numbers corresponding to the same letters you could determine a number associated with a word or name.

B. If you take the words Nero Caesar in ancient Hebrew and look at the corresponding numerical value for the characters they add up to 666 which is the mark of the beast and no doubt who John was referring to as the beast in Revelation.

End of Notes
This is a graphic of the Cryptogram in Ancient Hebrew of how to interpret the meaning of the mark of the beast. Resource: The Beast of Revelation by Kenneth Gentry.


Hope everyone has a good week and I look forward to seeing you in class next week and if you can’t make it check back here for the material we cover on Classic Premillennialism.


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