Premillennial, Postmillennial, Amillennial, and 9-Year-Olds

EschatologyEschatology can loosely be defined as the study of the end of history—or final events. My nine-year-old daughter Lizzi recently started asking me a lot of questions about what happens at the end of time when the Lord returns and after awhile I realized that although I’ve had many conversations about it in the past, I was way out of my league in trying to explain it to her. That’s because there are a great number of differing opinions, theories and beliefs surrounding this subject with each one’s supporters claiming biblical authority to justify their position. I’ve laid out the gist of each one below, and at the end you will find the analogy God gave me as a means to talk to her about it.

Five end-time events included in Eschatology

  1. The Tribulation – A period of 7 difficult years when a world ruler called Antichrist arises.
  2. The Millennium – A period of 1,000 years when Christ will rule and bring universal peace.
  3. The Rapture – A time when Christians are suddenly taken up to meet Jesus in the sky.
  4. Armageddon – A terrible end-time war caused by the Antichrist.
  5. Final Judgment – When God will judge everyone who has ever lived.

RaptureFive different beliefs regarding the Rapture

  1. Pre-Tribulation Rapture (Pre-trib) – The Rapture happens just before the Tribulation. Believers do not have to endure any of the terrible events.
  2. Post-Tribulation Rapture (Post-trib) – The Rapture happens after the Tribulation. Believers have to endure all of it.
  3. Mid-Tribulation Rapture (Mid-trib) – The Rapture happens halfway through the Tribulation, before the worst of it begins.
  4. Pre-Wrath Rapture – The Rapture happens towards the end of the Tribulation, right before the final blow occurs.
  5. Partial Rapture – The Rapture for current Christians happens just before the Tribulation. There’s a second Rapture at the end of the Tribulation for those who convert during it.

Five different beliefs about the order in which end time events occur

  1. Premillennialism – The Antichrist appears followed by the Tribulation. After the Tribulation the Millennial reign begins where believers live with Christ in the New Jerusalem. Final Judgment occurs after the 1,000 years is up. Beliefs about when the Rapture occurs vary based upon which view the Premillennialist holds.
  2. Postmillennialism – The entire world, including the Jews, will eventually all be converted to Christianity at which time a Millennium of peace occurs. After this Christ returns and the Final Judgment occurs.
  3. Amillennialism – The Millennial is not an actual physical realm on earth and it’s not a literal 1,000 years. It began on the day of Pentecost and will continue till the Lord returns. During this time good and evil will co-exist and things will gradually worsen. A type of Rapture will occur when the Lord returns and all believers will meet Jesus in the sky. This is followed by the Final Judgment. There’s no final 7-year Tribulation period or only one single, solitary Antichrist at the end but rather many types of tribulations and antichrists will occur and appear throughout history.
  4. PreterismPreterism – The Tribulation, Armageddon and Rapture already occurred in the first century surrounding the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Lord will return soon, and then the Final Judgment.
  5. No Millennialism – The events prophesied in the book of Daniel and Revelation were not meant to be taken literally and have little meaning for Christians today. Their main purpose was to strengthen the resolve of early Christians who were going to be persecuted by the Romans.

So what did I end up telling Lizzi when she asked me about what’s going to happen and what it’s going to be like at the end when the Lord returns? Same thing I would tell anyone actually: We don’t really know every exact detail for sure. However, we do know for a certainty the main and most important thing. Here’s the analogy….

I’ve told Lizzi and her sister Jessi that we are going to take a vacation next summer and we are going to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina to a place called the Sea Mist. They are both very excited about it, are looking forward to it with great expectation, and have no doubt that it’s going to happen because their daddy told them it would. But do they know the exact date we are leaving to go there? No. And they know this place has a beach, lots of swimming pools, an amusement park, a water park and a bunch of other cool stuff too. But do they know how long we will spend at each part of the complex or which one we will go to first, second, etc.? Do they know which hotel room we will be in, what floor it will be on, how nice the view will be out the windows, or what all will be in the room? They know we will eat but do they know what exactly they will eat and when they will eat it? And there will be lots of people there but do they know who or how many or what exactly the people will do and look like? The answer to all of these questions about the specifics of the vacation is of course a resounding “NO.”

Trust GodFriends, we have a Father in heaven and He has promised that He will return for us and that we will live with Him for all of eternity and that it will be wonderful. There are certain things He’s told us to be on the lookout for as that time draws ever nearer; and He’s shed some light on some of the events that we can expect to take place as part of the end times. But there are many details about these end time events that we simply cannot know for sure despite our best efforts to analyze and scrutinize every jot and tittle of scripture that even remotely hints at them. That’s okay. We already know everything that we really need to. And Lizzi and Jessi are looking forward to it.

About Danny Wilson

Single Christian dad, banker, writer, facilitator, teacher guy.
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