We realize that there are many variations and nuances within many of these views, particularly those that depend on an allegorical approach to interpreting prophecy. This is a sincere effort to characterize each position fairly and not to set up a straw man that can easily be burned. There is a lot of discussion in our day about these end times issues. Perhaps that is because many believers feel that, and even hope that, the time of Christ’s return, to put an end to sin and wickedness, is near. This has been the hope of the Church from the beginning. The explanations below are designed to summarize the differing views of end times.
VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM
Pre-Millennialism: Teaches that Jesus Himself will return from heaven, to establish a literal, physical 1000 year reign upon the earth. He will assume David’s throne and His Kingdom will be the fulfillment of the promises made by God through the Old Testament Prophets to Israel. Satan will be actually bound and will have no direct influence on men during that 1000 years. Pre-Millennialism uses the literal, historical and grammatical method of interpreting all Scripture including both Old and New Testament Prophecies. Pre-Millennialists further assert that Revelation chapter 20 follows chapter 19 chronologically and is to be understood in a literal, historical and grammatical sense.
Post-Millennialism: Believes that Jesus will return again from heaven after the Church has effectively conquered the world for Christ and transformed the institutions of the World. It is not a literal 1000 years, but speaks figurativly of a long period of time. Christ will then assume His reign on David’s throne. Good will triumph over evil as Christ’s return approaches. The binding of Satan refers to the gospel’s world-wide advance and a restricting of Satan’s influence and power. Post-Millennialism makes use of The Allegorical Method of interpreting Prophecy.
A-Millennialism: Also holds that there will be no actual 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth. It is to be understood spiritually not physically and is actually the time that is taking place now. It began with the first coming of Christ and will end with the second coming. The Binding of Satan in Revelation refers to the gospel’s world-wide advance. Christ will return at the end of this unknown period of time. Evil and good will increase until Christ returns. A-Millennialism makes use of The Allegorical Method of interpreting Scripture.
VIEWS ON THE TRIBULATION
Pre-Tribulationalism: Believes that Jesus will literally and physically return from heaven, before the beginning of The Tribulation [Daniel’s 70th Week] to gather all Christians who have ever lived from Pentecost until that moment. Those who have died will be resurrected and those who are alive will be translated [changed to have a resurrection body]. His Church will then meet Him in the air and return into heaven with Him. This is commonly called The Rapture, from the Latin word for kidnapping or taking away by force. Christ second coming will occur at the end of The Great Tribulation when He will then establish His literal and physical 1000 year Kingdom on earth.
Almost all pre-tribulationalists are also pre-millennialists, primarily because of their conviction that all Scripture, including prophecy of end times, should be understood in its literal, historical and grammatical sense.
Mid-Tribulationalism: Believes that Christ will return for His Church in the middle of the seven year Tribulation described in Revelation. Like pre-tribulationalists they see a significant distinction between the first three and one half years [The Beginning of Sorrows] and the second half [called the Great Tribulation] Many mid-tribulationalists believe that the “trumpet sound” in I Cor. 15:51-52 is the seventh trumpet of Rev. 11:15. Their conclusion is that this last trumpet of the “trumpet judgments” is the one that signals the calling up or Rapture of Christ’s church. It occurs in the middle before the final outpouring of wrath on the world.
Post-Tribulationalism: Holds that Christ will return for His Church at the end of the seven year Tribulation described in Revelation. The Rapture occurs at the same time as Christ’s second coming to Earth. Some believe that it is in fact, the same event.
COMMUNITY BIBLE CHURCH is both Pre-Millennial and Pre-Tribulational in our doctrine. This is because we believe that the entire Scripture, including The Prophets and end time’s teachings, are to be understood in their “literal, historical and grammatical sense.