Historicism Research Foundation

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

 

 

We receive many questions from visitors to our website.  We would like to share with you our answers to some of these commonly asked questions:

 

 

1. Why do you reject preterism and futurism in favor of historicism?

 

We believe there are many reasons to believe that the book of Revelation, along with other prophetic portions of scripture, outline the entire history of Christ’s Church between His First and Second Advents, and do not merely focus on the beginning or ending of that time period.  In the on-line readings at this website, we offer many of those reasons.

 

 

2. Are there any modern reformed Christians who are historicistic?

 

By all means.  Many of the books and articles on this website were authored by current day historicists.

 

 

3. If historicism is true, why are there so many different historicistic interpretations of Biblical prophecies?

 

That is analogous to asking, ‘if Christianity is true, why are there so many Christian denominations?’  The answer, in brief, to that question is that people who are agreed that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God may have different interpretations of various and sundry other issues raised in the Bible.  And the answer regarding historicism is, in brief, that people who are agreed that the book of Revelation, along with other prophetic portions of scripture, outline the entire history of Christ’s Church between His First and Second Advents, may yet having different interpretations of various and sundry other issues raised in the prophecies.  Historicism – like futurism and preterism – offers a framework for interpreting scriptural prophecies.  But within each framework, there are multitudinous elements which may be variously interpreted. 

 

 

4. Why does this website reject pre-millennial historicism, and opt instead for post-millennial historicism?

 

We believe Rev. Brian Schwertley provides compelling reasons to reject pre-millennialism of any form at http://www.reformedonline.com/view/reformedonline/milenium.htm . As he notes there:

 

The premillennial position is that Christ will return and the saints will be resurrected, then after 1000 years of earthly rule the final judgment will occur and the wicked will be judged. Note that the premillennialist believes there is a 1000-year gap between the second coming of Christ and the final judgment. The resurrection of the saints and the resurrection of the wicked are also separated by 1000 years. Does the Bible teach that there is a 1000-year gap between the second coming of Christ and the final judgment? Does it teach that there is a 1000-year gap between the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked? Actually, there is no gap between these events. In fact, as will be shown, the Bible teaches that these events are to occur on the very same day. Thus, premillennialism is theologically and biblically impossible.

The gospels and epistles present a unified picture of the second coming and the judgment by Jesus Christ. The second coming of Christ, the rapture, the resurrection of the righteous and wicked, and the judgment of the righteous and the wicked all are to occur on the same day. The Apostle Paul teaches that when Christ returns, He will take vengeance on the wicked. The wicked will receive everlasting destruction, but Christ will dwell with the saints. All who believe will admire and glorify Christ. When will this occur? On “that day” (singular), “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe” (2 Th. 1:7-10). [1] Is there a 1000-year gap between the destruction of the wicked and the glorification of the saints? No, they both occur on that day. Does Christ crush the wicked from His throne in Jerusalem? No, He is revealed from heaven. On the final day Christ comes from heaven to judge all men, both the righteous and the wicked. “The reward of the righteous and the punishment of the wicked are interwoven with each other as to time, and made to follow, both of them, immediately on the coming of the Lord. Surely this passage should make perfectly clear that there is no secret rapture to be followed at an interval of seven years by an open revelation of the Lord and His glory to the world. Surely it is perfectly clear also that since the coming of the Lord brings upon the wicked ‘eternal destruction away from the face of the Lord,’ there are no wicked who will survive His coming to be ruled over a millennium to follow. But there must be wicked people surviving, according to the premillennial scheme.” [2]

Does the Apostle Paul teach that Christ will return to earth, and then set up a 1000-year reign which is to be followed by a final judgment? No, he does not. Paul says that the second coming of Christ and the glorification of the saints will occur immediately prior to the final state. Paul does not teach that a 1000-year gap exists between the second coming and the end of earthly, human history: “But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.... Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruption must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.... Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Cor. 15:23-25, 50-54). Christ returns, the saints receive immortal, glorified bodies; “then comes the end.” There is no 1000-year earthly kingdom, for when Christ returns, He delivers the kingdom to the Father. Furthermore, after Christ’s return, death is completely destroyed and abolished. How can there be converts in the millennium who live, have children and die, if death is abolished at the second coming? “The whole design of the latter portion of this chapter is to show that after the resurrection, the bodies of believers will be like the glorious body of the Son of God, adapted to a heavenly, and not earthly condition.” [3]

The Apostle Paul teaches that both the righteous and the wicked will be judged on the same day: “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness; indignation and wrath” (Rom. 2:5-8). The inspired apostle says nothing of a 1000-year gap between the judgment of the righteous and the wicked. Christ’s second coming is always associated in Scripture with the final judgment of all men. This will occur “in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:16).

The Apostle Paul always teaches in his epistles that the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked, the reward of the righteous and the condemnation of the wicked occur on the same day—the day of the Lord. He says, “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then suddenly destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this day should overtake you as a thief.... For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” (1 Th. 5:1-4, 9-10). “Paul associates the second coming with the resurrection and the ensuing glory of the saints and the sudden destruction of the wicked. Without the shadow of a doubt, that day has its reference to both parties:—believers are to look for it (1 Th. 5:4-10), for then they shall obtain salvation in all its fullness (vs. 9), then they shall ‘live together with him’ (vs. 10); while that same day will bring the false security of unbelievers to an end in their ‘sudden destruction.’” [4] Paul does not tell the Thessalonians that a secret rapture will occur seven years prior to the second coming. The rapture occurs on the same day that the wicked are judged. [5] If the wicked receive “sudden destruction” and the saints are glorified, no one is left to populate the earth during the premillennialists’ 1000-year reign. After Christians receive their heavenly, glorified bodies, they do not marry and bear children. Who, then, is there to rebel against Christ at the end of the 1000-year earthly reign? The glorified saints certainly cannot rebel, and the unbelievers are all suffering torment in the lake of fire.

The Apostle Peter fully concurs with Paul’s teaching regarding Christ’s second coming. In his second epistle he deals with scoffers who deny the second coming of Christ: “‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’... But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.... But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” (2 Pet. 3:4-12). Peter teaches that the second coming, the day of judgment and the beginning of the final state occur contemporaneously. Like Paul, Peter says that these events occur on “the day of the Lord.” According to premillennialism Christ does not come on the day of judgment, because He is already on earth ruling from Jerusalem. But Peter says that when Christ returns, the judgment occurs and then the heavens and earth are destroyed. The premillennialist believes that Christ will return and rule on earth for 1000 years before the elements are destroyed. Thus Peter’s account of Christ’s coming totally contradicts premillennial doctrine…”