We’ve talked about the important role that imagined “scenarios” play in End Times issues, but there is another crucial issue that plays just as important a part in this matter. The essential elements in every scenario are the individual items, terms, and concepts that are embraced and then arranged into a chronological order of events. Pre-packaged end-times scenarios may create and assign a particular meaning to one or more topical items, but it is these various topical items that may be our only means of evaluating the scenario. Here are some examples.
The most “popular” end times scenario in Western Christendom, especially since 1948, has been Premillennial Dispensationalism (Hal Lindsey, the "Left Behind" books, etc.). This view is built upon several key assumptions: (1) that national Israel is the central focus of God’s plans, (2) that God intends for national Israel to have a glorious Messianic kingdom age upon this earth, (3) that Jesus came the first time intending to establish and rule an earthly Jewish Messianic Kingdom but was unable to do so because He was rejected, thus the intended earthly Jewish Messianic kingdom had to be postponed and the “Church” was put in place as an unpredicted “gap-filler” until Jesus can return. (4) Because of this “kingdom postponement,” the final 7-years of Daniel 9:24-27 await a still future fulfillment as the “7-year tribulation period.” (5) The “2nd Coming” is viewed as a multiple-stage/phase series of events - Jesus will, first, secretly come to remove Christians (the “Rapture”) so that they do not have to endure “the tribulation.” Then will follow the 7-Year Tribulation period, during which “Antichrist” will arise to govern Europe, make and violate a 7-year covenant with Israel, persecute Jews and Christians (post-rapture converts), and begin WWIII (the “battle of Armageddon”), which Jesus will end with His visible glorious return. All of these assertions and assumptions can be investigated through exegetical and topical Bible studies.
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