Hi Red -
Well, I simply don't hold the same End Time view as most of those posting in this thread. But whatever. I never have believed in a literal rapture either, nor have I read or believed in the "Left Behind" stuff. However, I do believe in a Great Tribulation for ALL the inhabitants of the earth and I believe Matthew 24 was not fulfilled thousands of years ago. And if that makes me someone who should be turned away from, then so be it. I've been mostly a loner my whole life - I'm used to it.
It is raining cats and dogs here just now!
I'm not even sure what my end times views are right now. I'm a pest about "all of the details." I finally found something halfway decent on a preterist view of the book of Revelation and it's raising a lot of questions for me. Too many questions. http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=C31A25E0CE0A1DC5
It was refreshing at least to hear a Postmillenialist on video say that the world's going to get better and better. It's towards the end of the series of videos. I understood all of the Scriptures on that without him getting very deeply into that aspect. After years and years of hearing that God's giving this earth to the devil for 7 years as a birthday present after Jesus had already paid for all of this with His Blood, I was ready to hear someone else besides me say something more Scripturally centered that doesn't reflect God stealing from Jesus to let the devil have his say.
As far as the attitude that I expressed of like a King David of running through a troop or flying over a wall, etc., that's Biblically consistent from cover to cover with the Bible's teaching about the righteous are supposed to be bold as a lion and making the wicked to cower. But what specifically are the sign posts that lead up to the millenium or beyond towards the return of Jesus Christ to judge the living and the dead, like it says in Daniel 12 and John 5, I'm not sure what the specific sign posts are right now if there's a genuine chance of the first 19 chapters of Revelation having already been fulfilled, as the above video would seem to indicate more fully than what I've seen online thus far.
I may personally wind up going back into really indepth studies of the Hosea 2:18 covenant and use that as a territory marker and count out my number of paces to that tree, that rock, and that whatever in the prophesies with trying to feel my way around what happens between now and the return of Christ. I've always understood the Hosea 2:18 covenant to be prior to the millenium, and up until recently I'd thought that the millenium was actually started by the conversion of Israel. But those pesky details that I was alluding to are making that problematic. If not problematic, then at least questionable.
I don't "need" Israel saved prior to 1Corinthians 15:28, if that makes any sense. God's definitely not doing a two religions thing as the dispensational premillenialist would assert that God is dependent upon a resurrection of Biblical Judaism, etc. There's no such thing as Biblical Judaism any more after the resurrection of Jesus Christ 'cause all of the Old Testament law, ceremonies, etc., were on the understanding that they stood in the gap until Jesus came. There's not only the clear statements about that in the prophets of the Old Testament, but Galatians, Acts, and Hebrews carry that idea in the New Testament.
I guess one of my biggest issues is that I'm realizing that my previous view of the millenium was all Israel centered and that now that I know better from the Scriptures, there's gaps created as far as, Okay, I understand that the triumph of the preaching of the Gospel is to be a universally global thing that'll happen shortly. But, in terms of what the millenium looks like, I'm not sure. I'm still not buying into a theonomical view that the Mosaic law in a Christianized sense will be the rule of law in all of the countries of the world. Unless, we were talking about the Constitution of the United States with a thin amount of tweaking being more closely followed in a restructuring of the governments of the world.
The Constitution of the United States is wholly inadequate for the governing of any people that aren't Christians. However, it's an appropriate model, at least skeletally, for how to set up Christian Republics. There are a few issues for the 21st century and particularly the 22nd century that the U.S. Constitution hasn't addressed yet. Lots of animal rights legislation that's been passed over the last 10 or 20 years actually goes into affect in the next decade. And I think that the rest of the century will be about tweaking that since some of it is unprecidented. Battery Hen cages are illegal in the EU after 2012, etc. Imigration and naturalization issues are obviously being reevaluated by some countries, particularly in the Western Hemisphere, as the world is shrinking with airplanes and other types of transportation that are making really large countries crossable in 4 to 6hrs. And I'm not just talking about military aircraft. A CitationX personal jet can go from NY to LA in 4hrs. And more impressive civilian transportation is in developmental stages. When the costs really come down on some of these technologies, then they'll be universally accessible.
If we anticipate a close to the present world within the next 1100 to 2500 years with these kinds of technological advances, and presuming wars don't become so catastrophic that we're thrown back into the stone age, then what must our eschatology look like and how must it reinterpret images of dragons, pits, etc., when for all we know those could be the transportation means of the future and the pits be synonymous with either where you park or some portal that you travel an impossibly large distance in either moments or hours?
I do believe that the Bible anticipates any world that we'd ever face, but Scripture indicates to me that we're supposed to be in the know of what's going to happen. I can produce my Bible verses later on that if anyone's unaware of where the Bible says that, but the Gospel of John, Romans, 1Corinthians, Ephesians, 1John, and Revelation are among some of the books that mention it. Sometimes you mention a few verses on something and if it's a controversial topic, then the accusation is that you're taking something out of context, etc.
St. Paul indicates that the Gospel is something new under the sun. His overall tone is to that effect, but things that I'd take to mean that are in the first and last chapters of Romans, the first and third chapters of Ephesians, Colossians 1, Titus 1, etc. And of course, the book of Acts says that this was anticipated by all of the prophets since the world began, but has only just now been manifested. Introduce something entirely new, and not just according to the Bible, but according to many fields of science, mathematics, and philosophy, you've fundamentally changed the whole universe and every particle in it. So, I don't believe that you can go back to Genesis and get your eschatology from there. There are glimpses of the New Earth with the preflood world and of the all in all world with the Edenic state, but since sin will never make a comeback, the similarities pretty much end there.
So, any kind of eschatology would have to look at the Psalms and Prophets of the Old Testament, as well as various hints of eschatology in the New Testament. You're not permitted a very holistic view of our world by either a premillenial or an amillenial view. A holistic view of our world is only allowed by a postmillenial view of the world. Amillenialism says that the Church never triumphs in history, we've been in a figurative millenium since the ascension of Christ, and the return of Christ ends history. Premillenialism likewise says that the Church is bankrupt of potential, so therefore "this world's not our home" although the Scriptures say otherwise with this earth abiding virtually forever, Jesus being said in Revelation 11 to come back to destroy those who are destroying the earth, etc. Neither Amillenialism nor Premillenialism allow for Christ to have given the Church enough to be able to face any evil that could come down the road. According to both views, the Church is finally checkmated and Jesus has to come to the rescue for His shameful Church, again contrary to Scripture that indicates a glorious bride without spot or blemish. Neither premillenialism nor amillenialism allow for a very glorious Church at the close of history. Hence, my growing abhorence for both views.
The first century did get worse and worse, as Jesus and St. Paul anticipated, however, the power of the devil to keep the Gospel out of every nation evidently was broken, though I'm not sure that I'd go as far as Kenneth Gentry in the video link above in saying that the devil was already bound in the sense that Revelation says it'll happen. If that happened, then perhaps a third of the angels did fall BECAUSE we're still having to face down and overcome enormous amounts of evil just to survive. The world is progressing towards better and better, although it's one of those things where you can choose to see more evil than good if that's what's in your heart. But compared to the barbarism of previous millenia? When looking at history over the long term rather than from the time period of the Reformation, then you can't honestly conclude that the world's gotten more evil. More dangerous without a doubt, but not more evil. You can see the salt/leaven of the Gospel at work.