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THE LAST DAYS (Part I)

1. Eschatology = the study of the "last days" (eschatos = last & logos =study)

2. Prophecy is based on God's covenants.

    Covenant: an agreement made between individuals (Prov 2:17)

    God's covenants: God obligating Himself to men (He initiates the covenants)
        Unconditional – "I will" (Gen 12:1-3; Deut 30:1-10; II Sam 7:10-16;
                                Jer 31:31-40)
        Conditional – If you will, I will" (Exodus 19:3-6; Deut 28:1,2,15)

    Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 12:1-3,7, 13:14-17; 17:1-14; 22:15-18)
        Promise to Abraham – be father of a great nation (12:2)
        Promise to Israel – be great (12:2), innumerable (13:16; 15:5)
                                     possess land forever (12:7,8)
        Promise to nations – all families blessed through Abraham (12:3)
        Conditional – must leave Ur (12:1)
        Unconditional – God alone made the covenant (15:17-21)

    Palestinian Covenant (Gen 12:7, 13:15, 17:7,8; Deut 30:1-10)
        Amplifies land feature of Abrahamic Covenant
        Conditional (Deut 30:2)
        Unconditional (Ezek 16:60-63)

    Mosaic Covenant
        Conditional (Exod 19:4-6; Deut 5:32,33, 28:1,2,15) (a covenant of works)
        Provisions – Israel will become a nation separated unto God, if they obey                           God. They will be cursed if they disobey God.
        Purpose – to lead Israel to recognize their sinfulness (Rom 3:19-20) and                         lead them to Christ (Gal 3:19-25)

    Davidic Covenant (II Sam 7:12-16; Ps 89:3,4, 34-36; Jer 33:22,25,26)
        Unconditional (II Sam 7:13,15,16, 23:5; Isa 55:3; Ezek 37:25;
                             Lk 1:31-33)
        Provisions: a son who would build God's Temple and through whom,                          David's seed and kingdom would be established forever.
        (Amil interpretation: Solomon's reign fulfils promise – I Kings 4:21)

    New Covenant
        Unconditional (Jer 31:31-37, 32:37-40, 50:4-5; Ezek 16:60-63, 36:24-27,                              37:21-8)
        Benefits to the Church (Eph 2:12,13,19; Gal 3:7; Rom 11:17; I Cor 11:25;
                                          II Cor 3:6-11; Hebr 9:15)

3. Why are there different views of prophecy?  The different views on     prophecy come primarily from different views on God's promises to Israel.
    Covenant theology – There is no need for a future, restored kingdom of                                     Israel because the Church has replaced Israel.
    Dispensational theology – The promises to Israel still need to be fulfilled in                                            a 1000-year reign of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem.
    Covenant theology – The covenant promises to Israel were conditioned on                                     their faith and obedience.  They rejected the                                     requirements of God's covenants, so it was offered to                                     the nations – the true Israel (Matt 21:43-44)
    Dispensationalism – a dispensation = "a period of time in which man is                                   tested in respect to obedience to some specific                                   revelation of the will of God." (C. I. Scofield in the                                   Scofield Bible)  The central belief of dispensationalism                                   is that there is a clear difference between Israel and                                   the Church.

    Is the Church a replacement for Israel or totally distinct from Israel?  Will     Israel receive the promised Kingdom or are the promises to Israel fulfilled in     the Church?
        The dispensations in dispensationalism:
            (1) Innocence – Garden of Eden. (2) Conscience – before the Flood.
            (3) Government – after the Flood.  (4) Promise – after Abraham.
            (5) Law – after Moses and after the rapture.  (6) Church – after                  Pentecost.
            (7) Kingdom – Millennium
        Promises to Israel: Jer 30:1-3, 8-11, 18-22, 31:33-37, 33:25-26; Ezek             20:39-40, 28:25-26, 34:11-16, 25-31, 36:24-38; Amos 9:11-15; Zeph             3:19-20; Zech 8:1-8; Rom 11:25-32

MILLENNIAL VIEWS

1. Postmillennialism:  The belief that God will use the Church to so Christianize     the world; that good will triumph over evil and bring in the 1000 year period     of peace and prosperity.  Jesus will return after (post) the 1000 (millennium)     years (= postmillennium).

2. Amillenialism: The belief that the kingdom of God is now present as Christ     rules in the Church.

3. Historic or non-dispensational Premillennialism:  The belief that the Church     will go through the time of tribulation, but will be raptured just before the     1000 year reign of Christ on earth.

4. Dispensational Premillennialism:  The belief that Jesus will rapture His     Church before the Tribulation period and come to judge the world after the     Tribulation period and just before the beginning (pre) of the 1000     (millennium) (= pre-millennium).  He will then rule the world for 1000 years     from Jerusalem.

Thought QuestionS:

1. Why do you believe that God has made covenants with man?  Why is it important to you personally that God has made these covenants with us?

 

2. Do you believe that God's promises to Israel will be fulfilled to the nation of Israel or do you believe that the Church has replaced Israel in God's promises?  Please explain.

 

3. Do you believe that "dispensations" and "dispensationalism" is taught in the Bible?  Please explain.

 

4. Which Millennial view do you believe best describes what the Bible teaches?

 

RESOURCES:  THE MEANING OF THE MILLENNIUM: FOUR VIEWS by Robert Clouse; THINGS TO COME by Dwight Pentecost; THE END TIMES by Herman Hoyt; DISPENSATIONALISM TODAY by Charles Ryrie