Alternative views on Eschatology


Christians hold differing views on the nature of the End-Times, all claimed to be supported by scripture, but where scripture is interpreted in different ways.  The view you hold inevitably shapes your worldview; what you believe your future hope to be, your attitude to this world and the way you conduct your life now.  It is therefore important that we study the scriptures and have a heartfelt view.  Many Christians avoid this, believing that holding a view can cause dissention and that it would be better to stay out of the debate.  

However, many Christians, including us at Christian Spectrum, believe  the end of this age is fast approaching, and we need to be prepared and vigilant, and clear about our eschatological vision.  At the outset we would like to state that at Christian Spectrum the view we believe is most consistent with the teaching of scripture is the Pre-millennial view.  However, listed below are the main schools of thought, with an explanation of each.


This is an eschatological viewpoint which proposes that the Millennium – the thousand year period mentioned twice in Revelation 20:2-5 – refers to the present church age.  According to A-millennialists, the Millennium is a heavenly reign manifested in the hearts of individual believers, not a physical bodily reign here on earth.  They say that Jesus spoke of this reign when he declared in Matthew 28:18 that 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.'  In their view the Millennium itself is only a figure of speech denoting a long period of time.  From this viewpoint the resurrection of believers and non-believers happens simultaneously and in conjunction with the judgement and dawning of a new heaven and new earth.

A-millennialists argue that we currently live in the age when Satan has been bound for a thousand years and his influence over the nations been greatly reduced (Rev. 20:1-3).  Those who are said to be reigning with Christ (Rev. 20:4) are those Christians who have already died and are said to be reigning in Heaven.

A-millennialists appeal to a number of passages to support their position:

i    In Luke 10:18 Jesus says that he saw 'Satan fall like lightning from heaven.'  In a number of other passages he also indicates that the power of evil is now being overcome by the power of God (e.g. Mat 12:28-29).  The worldwide missionary activity of the church supports this position it that it signifies the binding of Satan’s power to deceive the nations (Rev. 20:3).

ii    In Revelation 20:4 John refers to 'souls' which points to the lack of a physical body thus setting the scene in Heaven.  When he later says 'they came to life' what he means is simply that they lived.

iii    The two references to coming to life in Revelation 20:4-5 do not mean a physical resurrection, but a coming into God’s presence.

iv    A-millennialists also argue that there is only one resurrection (contrary to the Pre-millennialist position) involving both believers and non-believers.  They find support for this viewpoint in passages such as John 5:28-29 where Jesus refers to a single 'hour,' (Daniel 12:2 and Acts 24:15).

v    The idea that glorified believers might co-exist with sinners (something proposed by Pre-millennialists) is simply incomprehensible to many A-millennialists.  Similarly, if the Millennium really is the earthly reign of Christ then how and why would sinners continue in their rebellion in the presence of a glorified Christ?


This is an eschatological viewpoint which proposes that Christ will return after the Millennium.  Whereas A-millennialists propose that the Millennium refers to the current church age and is a spiritual reign manifest in the hearts of believers, Post-millennialists believe that the Millennium is a physical reign on earth.

Post-millennialists propose that the Millennial Kingdom will be established as a result of the progress of the gospel and growth of the Church and will manifest as a period of great peace and righteousness.  Post-millennialism is thus a very optimistic perspective on the future and tends to flourish during periods of political, economic, social, and technological progess (e.g. in Western Europe at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century).  The Millennium itself will last for a long period of time, but not necessarily a literal one thousand years.

There are three main arguments in favour of Post-millennialism:

i    The Great Commission leads us to expect significant progress in the evangelisation of the world.  'All authority in heaven and on earth' belongs to Christ and he has promised to be with the Church 'to the very end of the age' (Matthew 28:18-20).

ii    Some of Jesus’ parables also point toward the inevitable growth and influence of the Kingdom of God.  The parables of the mustard seed and yeast are good examples (Matthew 13:31-33).

iii    Post-millennialists also point to some statistical evidence that suggests the kingdom is flourishing.  The gospel continues to spread throughout the world and even in some places of persecution the Church grows by the power of God.

The Millennium of Post-millennialism is very different to that of Pre-millennialism in that it does not involve glorified saints in resurrection bodies, a renewed earth, or a physical Christ reigning on earth.  The Post-millenium simply denotes the presence of many, many Christians greatly influencing society.


Preterism is an eschatological belief system that maintains that most (if not all) End-Time prophecies have already been fulfilled.  The word Preterist originates from the Latin word 'praeter' meaning past or beyond.  The opposite of Preterism is Futurism, which maintains that most (if not all) End-Time prophecies are yet to be fulfilled. 

Preterists hold that Biblical prophecy concerning the End-Times found its fulfilment in the life, death and resurrection of Christ and the ongoing expansion of the Kingdom of God.  They also view the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (part of the Roman-Jewish war of 66-73 AD) as the fulfilment of many of Jesus’ apocalyptic teachings found in the Gospels (e.g. Matthew 10:23; 16:27-28; 24:43). 

Preterism relies on an allegorical interpretation of prophetic Scripture and one that emphasises the spiritual nature of the Kingdom of God.  According to Preterist thought, for example, the Book of Revelation is a symbolic picture of early Church conflicts not a description of events that will occur in real time and space.  Futurists on the other hand hold to a more literal and physical interpretation.  Many Preterists also believe that Ancient Israel finds its continuation in the Christian Church.  This belief is often referred to as Replacement Theology.

The weaknesses of A-millennialism and Post-millennialism and strengths of Pre-millennialism

i    Several passages in the Old Testament seem to point to a period of time that is neither the present church age nor the eternal state of the new Heaven and new earth.  These passages envisage a period far greater than the present age but one still marred by sin, rebellion, and death (e.g. Isaiah 11:2-9; 65:20; Psalms 72:8-14 etc.). 

ii   Some New Testament passages also point toward a similar period of time different to our own current age, but certainly not the eternal state.  Revelation 2:26-27, for example, implies a rule of force by believers over a rebellious people.  These passages argue against an A-millennial position that identifies the current church age as the millennial period of time.  Similarly, when Paul talks about resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:23-25 the two words translated 'then' both mean 'after that' as opposed to 'at the same time.'  This supports the idea that there will be a passage of time (i.e. the Millennial reign) between Christ’s second coming and 'the end' (v. 24) just as there is a passage of time between Christ’s resurrection and ours.

iii  The binding of Satan for a thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20 also implies a far greater restriction of his activity than is currently the case.  1 Peter 5:8 indicates that the activity of Satan is very much alive in the present age thus meaning the restriction of his power will be a future event.

iv  John’s comment that 'they came to life' (Revelation 20:4) speaks of bodily resurrection not simply a spiritual one.  The phrase used is the same as the one used in Revelation 2:8 where Jesus identifies himself as the one who 'died and came to life' which obviously points toward his physical resurrection.

v  The New Testament frequently refers to a future reign of believers with Christ (Luke 19:17, 19; 1 Corinthians 6:3) but nowhere does it say that believers are reigning with Christ prior to his return.

vi  Revelation 6:20 also speaks of believers who 'had not worshipped the Beast or his image and had not received his mark . . .'  Since the persecution of the Beast spoken of in Revelation 13 is unlikely to have occurred, this passage must refer to future events.

vii  The idea of two resurrections – one involving the righteous on Christ’s return and the other involving the unrighteous at the climax of the Millennial age – find support when John refers to the 'first resurrection' (thus implying a second) and the 'second death' (thus implying a first) in Revelation 20:6.

viii  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the whole world will be Christianised by the progress of the Gospel as Post-millennialists propose.  No doubt the kingdom of God will grow from something very small to something very large, but we are never explicitly told to what extent.  Similarly, Jesus teaches in Matthew 7:13-14 that far more people will enter the wide and broad gate that leads to destruction than the small and narrow gate that leads to life.  There are also numerous New Testament passages that argue against the idea that world will get better and better as the influence of the Church grows.  Matthew 24:15-13; 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 12-13; 4:3-4; certainly give evidence contrary to the emergence of a Christianised world.

Our end time perspective

Whilst there are different eschatological views, and even within Christian Spectrum we are not unanimous on every point, the following view has good general support and is based on the following core beliefs:

i    The remaking of the nation of Israel in its ancient homeland in 1948 was God’s initiative in accordance with Old Testament prophecies.  This return is based on God’s grace to Israel and the honour of his name; not on Israel’s merit (Jeremiah 16:14-15; Ezekiel 36:16-28; Amos 9:13-15).  We believe that Israel and Jerusalem represent God’s time clock and are a sign/signal in the earth.  The restoration of Israel has begun.  The Promised Land (Canaan) belongs to Israel (the Jews) and God will judge the nations in the Valley of Jehoshaphat concerning the way in which they have scattered his people and divided up his land (Psalm 105:8-11; Joel 3:2).

ii   We believe that Replacement and Fulfilment Theologies are both deceptions.  The first claims that the Church has replaced Israel in the purposes of God and that all the promises of God to Israel have been transferred to the Church, whilst the second asserts that all the promises have already been fulfilled in Jesus.  Neither position in our view is supported by a straightforward reading of the scriptures.  God has not rejected the Jewish people or broken his everlasting covenant with them.  These ideas have led to a spirit of anti-Semitism in the Church and done great harm to the Church’s relationship with the Jewish people.  It will also have an adverse effect concerning the Church’s intercessory role regarding Israel during the Great Tribulation.

iii  We live in the period described by Jesus as ‘the beginning of birth pains’ (Matthew 24:4-8).  Many significant prophetic signs point to this – widespread and increasing spiritual deception (liberalism, New Age, Neo-Paganism, Emerging Church, etc), wars and ethnic conflict (including the dramatic rise of anti-Semitism and Israel-hatred around the world), famine and earthquakes.  Whilst Jesus tells us that no-one can know the day or the hour of his coming (Matthew 24:36), nevertheless we can know the time is near as we see the prophesied events unfold (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4).  A common misconception is that every generation has believed they were living in the End Times.  In reality only a very small group in every generation believed this to be the case.  The two generations in which there has been a universal sense that we are living in the End-Times was the generation of the early apostles and our own.

iv  The stage is being set for the emergence of the Antichrist figure (Daniel 8:23-26; Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:21-45; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:2-4; Revelation13); the final ruler of an evil earthly empire preceding the return of Jesus.  We believe that this will likely take place within the lifetime of people living today; it's possible that Antichrist may already be alive.  He will receive authority and demonic power from Satan thus becoming demonised.  He will blaspheme God and persecute Israel and the Church.  He is called the beast in Revelation; he is also described as the man of sin, the son of perdition and the man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2).

The Antichrist will be accepted at first and make a peace treaty with many nations, including Israel, at the beginning of the final seven year period prophesied by Daniel (his 70th week; Daniel 9:20-27) inaugurating a period of counterfeit worldwide peace and security (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).  He will be supported by a false prophet, also known as ‘another beast’ (Revelation 13:11), who will perform lying wonders and deceive many (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).  The false prophet will instigate a worldwide religious system of tolerance.

The Antichrist will break the treaty after 3½ years and set up the Abomination of Desolation in the Temple which will have been rebuilt in Jerusalem.  The false prophet will introduce an economic system whereby unless individuals take the ‘mark of the beast’ they will be unable to buy or sell. The global financial storm which is currently brewing will be a catalyst for this.  The Antichrist will then claim to be God and demand to be worshiped.  This event triggers the Great Tribulation (also known as Jacob’s trouble).

v   The three judgement series comprising Seals, Trumpets and Bowls are released during this final 3½ years of the seven-year reign; in the book of Daniel the years are referred to as 'weeks'.  The breaking of the first seal revealing the white horse and rider bent on conquest relates to the Antichrist’s change of tack at the beginning of the final 3½ years.

vi  The Church will live through the Great Tribulation and suffer persecution/martyrdom (Revelation 20:4) with many turning from the faith (Matthew 24:9-13).  At the same time however a remnant, united, restored, prophetic, prayerful and Spirit filled Church (the organic Church), answering the prayer of Jesus (John 17: 20-23) and manifesting the power and love of the Kingdom, will support Israel and remain loyal to Jesus.  During the period of persecution the Bride, who has been preparing throughout, is finally made ready for the coming Bridegroom (Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 19:7-8).  The Gospel will be preached as a testimony to every ethnic group resulting in a corresponding End Time harvest – the ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ will come in (Matthew 24:14; Romans 11:25).

vii  Two witnesses, powerful and anointed prophets, will preach in Jerusalem with great effect during the Great Tribulation, releasing judgements.  They will eventually be killed and their bodies will lie in the streets for 3½ days.  There will be great rejoicing over their deaths, but then they will come to life and ascend to Heaven.  The nations will gather under the Antichrist’s leadership to attack Israel in order to destroy Jerusalem.  The battle for Jerusalem is the final battle in the Armageddon campaign.

viii  Israel will be provoked to jealousy through the growth in power, unity and intercessions of the Church.  Its leaders will say ‘blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’ (Matthew 23:39) and thereby welcome Jesus as Messiah to rule the world.  All Israel will be saved when their eyes are opened and they recognise their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10).  The Rapture will take place and the dead in Christ will be raised with new spiritual, glorified bodies.  Jesus and his armies will defeat the armies of the Antichrist and liberate Israel.  The Antichrist and the false prophet will be thrown into the Lake of Fire and Satan will be bound for a thousand years.

ix  There will be a literal thousand year Millennium reign on the earth when Jesus will rule the nations from Jerusalem with the resurrected saints (Jew and Gentile).

x   Satan will be released at the end of the Millennium for a short period and again will deceive the nations, Gog and Magog, and gather them together for battle.  Satan will be defeated however and thrown into the Lake of Fire.

xi  The White Throne judgment will take place.  Death and Hades will be cast into the Lake of Fire together with any not belonging to Christ (the second death).

xii  At the end of the age when Jesus has destroyed all dominion, authority and power he will hand over the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:20-24).

xiii  A new Heaven, new earth and New Jerusalem will then ensue.

This position could roughly be described as Historic (classic) Pre-millennialism (post-tribulation rapture).  We do not claim to have all the truth, but we do believe that this view can be argued from a close study of the scriptures.  The Preterist, Historist, Idealist/symbolic, Post-millennial and A-millennial positions, in our view, are less easy to support biblically without abusing the text.  Prophecies can have more than one application and it’s possible that an initial outworking of some aspects took place in AD 70.  In our view, Jesus was speaking about ‘the generation’ who would be alive when he returns and we believe he will appear during the lifetime of some people alive today.  Therefore we need to be prepared mentally, emotionally, spiritually and practically for the near future when the scriptures prophesy unprecedented hardship and persecution for Christian believers before the great and glorious day of Jesus' appearance.

Christians hold differing views on the nature of the end times, all claimed to be supported by scripture but where scripture is interpreted in different ways.  At the outset we would like to state that at Christian Spectrum the view we believe is most consistent with the teaching of scripture is the Pre-millennial view . . .

website designed and maintained by adept