FROM PROJECT WITTENBERG
The “End Times”
A Study on Eschatology and Millennialism
A Report of the
Commission on Theology and Church Relations of
The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod September 1989
AN EVALUATION OF
The Commission’s study of eschatology and millennialism has focused primarily on basic features of the eschatology of dispensational premillennialism. We offer now a summary evaluation of this view for the study and guidance of the members of the Synod as they deal with questions that arise concerning millennialist doctrine.
In offering the following critique the Commission recognizes that there are many elements of dispensationalist teaching which those committed to Lutheran confessional doctrine are also prepared to affirm. Those who teach a dispensational premillennialist view generally confess the Scriptures to be the verbally inspired, inerrant Word of God.
Their eschatology emphasizes a visible, personal return of Christ. Justification by grace through faith in Jesus Christ is taught among them. Nevertheless, dispensationalist teaching contradicts the Scriptures at many critical points and therefore seriously endangers the pure teaching of the Gospel.
1. Dispensational premillennialism teaches that the Messiah and His kingdom promised in the Old Testament are essentially political in nature. In this respect it takes a position which resembles the Messianic expectation of first-century Judaism. Christ’s atoning work on the cross is not central in God’s plan according to this view. Rather, He is wrongly perceived as , coming to set up a this-worldly kingdom, and when rejected, as postponing it.
2. The view regards the Messianic age as only a future reality. It tends to exchange the “now” for a “not yet,” thereby depriving people of the comforting promises of the Gospel in the present. In truth, Christ inaugurated the kingdom of heaven at His first advent, a kingdom which is now ours by faith even while it is yet hidden under the cross until its consummation at Christ’s second advent.
3. Dispensational premillennialism tends to regard the glory of God as the center of theology, rather than the mercy of God revealed, and yet hidden, in the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross for the sins of the world.
The visible manifestations of God’s power at the end of history and obedience to the will of God become the primary foci, instead of the grace of God revealed in the cross of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 2:2)–which by faith the Christian regards and accepts as the place of God’s definitive triumph over sin and every evil (in Lutheran theology, the “theology of the cross” as opposed to a “theology of glory”).
4. Dispensational premillennialism underestimates, and even ignores, the significance of Biblical typology. All prophecy points to Jesus Christ as the fulfillment. He is the antitype of the Old Testament types. When the reality to which the Old Testament points does come, one cannot revert back to the “shadows,” such as the Old Testament temple (Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 10:1).
5. The compartmentalization of Scripture into distinct dispensations seriously overlooks the Law/Gospel unity of the Old and New Testaments. For example, it makes a radical distinction between the Mosaic “law” period and the church age of “grace.” The relationship between the Old and New Testaments is that of promise and fulfillment, not one of distinct dispensations.
6. Ultimately, the eschatology of dispensationalism offers a dangerously false hope. The views of a pre-tribulation or mid- tribulation rapture offer the Christian the false hope of exemption from the intensified persecution toward the end. Moreover, they offer a second chance of conversion for those who are left after the rapture. The focus of the Scripture’s hope is not an earthly kingdom lasting 1000 years but eternity with Christ.
7. The dispensationalist view of a radical break between Israel and the church contradicts the Scriptural teaching that the cross of Christ has eliminated forever the distinction between Jew and Gentile (Gal. 3:28; Eph. 2:11-22; Rom. 2:25-29).
8. The dispensational hermeneutic of consistent literalism is contrary to the Scripturally–derived principles of interpretation (cf. section one above).
9. Dispensationalism’s multiple resurrections and judgments are contrary to the clear Scriptural teaching on eschatology (cf. section two above).
10. The assurance and hope of salvation tend to be grounded on an interpretation of the signs of the times rather than on the sure Word of promise imparted in the means of grace.
11. The sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, both of which are important for a Biblical understanding of eschatology, have little place in dispensationalist teaching.
In the foregoing study the Commission Theology and Church Relations has sought to evaluate contemporary approaches to eschatology in light of what the Scriptures themselves teach concerning the “end times” and the interpretive assumptions required for a faithful reading of the Biblical data. It is also the Commission’s desire that this report will stimulate renewed interest in and study of the subject of eschatology.
But even more importantly, the Commission hopes that this report will lead to a reevaluation of the place and significance of Biblical eschatology, not only in the preaching and teaching activity of the church but also in the personal life of faith of individual Christians as they await the “blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for Himself a people of His own who are zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:13- 14).
Taken in its totality, the Scriptural teaching on eschatology will prevent Christians from succumbing to two opposite extremes which from apostolic times have been a recurrent threat to faith–feverish preoccupation with the “signs of the times,” and spiritual laxity based on the mistaken notion that Christ’s coming is no longer imminent. Neither of these distortions of the eschatological hope which is ours through Christ takes with full seriousness the meaning of that hope for life in the here and now.
Typical of the New Testament’s articulation of the Christian hope is the implication drawn that now is the time to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58). And such a life is to be lived with full awareness of what hour it is, “for salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11).
Also repeatedly taught by Jesus and the apostles is the truth that the exact hour of Christ’s coming remains hidden in the secret counsels of God (Matt. 24:36). The church ought not therefore engage itself in uncertain speculations regarding the signs of the times. Rather, Christians must devote themselves to the clear proclamation of Law and Gospel, that people may, come to faith in Jesus Christ, and through daily repentance prepare for His coming.
Exegetical Review of Additional Texts
1. Isaiah 11 and 65:17-25
Isaiah 11 pictures the Messianic age. The Messiah will come from the fallen Davidic line (v. 1). The Spirit and His gifts will rest upon Him (vv. 2-3). He will acquit the faithful and slay the wicked (vv. 3-5). He will usher in an era of perfect harmony and peace (vv. 6-9).
He will gather the faithful remnant of Israel which was dispersed in the eighth and sixth centuries BC , and the other nations will come to Him (vv. 10-12). Israel will return from captivity (vv. 15-16) and will be victorious over its foes (vv. 13-14).
With the prophetic “shortened perspective” Isaiah envisions both the return of the exiles in 538 BC and Christ’s first and second advents, with the emphasis on the latter two events.
The New Testament writers expressly declare that Isaiah’s words in chap. 11 were fulfilled at the coming of Jesus Christ. He is the “branch” (Hebrew: netser) upon whom the Spirit rests (Matt. 2:23; 3:16).
His life, death, and resurrection lead “to acquittal and life for all men” (Rom. 5:18; 3:21-26). Christ has gathered the remnant of Israel (Acts 2; 3:25-26; Rom. 11:1-5) and has incorporated Gentiles into His people (Rom. 15:8-12). Yet, the promise still awaits its consummation at Christ’s second advent.
At this time He will slay the wicked who reject His righteousness (Rev. 19:11, 15). At Christ’s coming again new heavens and a new earth will be created in which “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb” in harmony (Is. 11:6).
Isaiah 65:17-25 focuses primarily on this new creation to be established at Christ’s second coming. In the language of the New Testament, God will create “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1) and a new Jerusalem in which there will be no more weeping or crying (Rev. 21:3-4).
In an age characterized by longevity (Is. 65:20), the days of God’s people will be “like the days of a tree” (v. 22).
In an allusion to Isaiah 65, the apostle John explains that “death shall be no more” (Rev. 21:4). God’s people will enjoy His blessings in full (Is. 65:21-23). Creation will be restored to perfect harmony (v. 25).
Although enjoying even now the blessings of the new creation by faith, believers long for the day of the Lord when at last they will enter the eternal paradise of God.
Dispensational premillennialists, however, read into Isaiah 11 and 65:17- 25 the millennial kingdom. They hold that at His second advent, after the seven-year tribulation, Christ will rule from Jerusalem for 1000 years.
During this period, there will be harmony in the animal kingdom (11:6-9; 65:25); the Gentiles will seek Christ (11:10); He will restore the Jewish nation, which will defeat its enemies (11:11-14); people will die although they live longer (65:20), will plant fruitful vineyards (65:21-22), and will bear children (65:23).
This dispensational premillennialist view not only fails to take seriously the New Testament’s commentary on the Isaiah texts, but it is also not able, despite its claim to take the Scriptures literally, to find a single explicit reference to a 1000-year reign in these Old Testament texts.
2. Ezekiel 37-48
In Ezekiel 37 the prophet combines into one picture, again in the prophetic “shortened perspective” both the return from the Babylonian exile in 538 BC and the Messianic age.
God promises to reestablish His covenant with the restored people of Israel and to set up their king (namely David) who will shepherd them forever (37:24-28).
Toward the end of this Messianic age (38:8, 14, 16), God will gather the far-off, hostile nations to make war against His people.
He will then vindicate His holy name before the whole world by destroying the enemies of His people. This destruction will be so fierce that it will take seven months to bury the dead, whose corpses will be devoured by birds and beasts (39:11-20).
Ezekiel 40-48 describes the vision which Ezekiel saw in 573 BC In chaps. 40-43 Ezekiel describes the temple, its courts and altar.
Chapters 44-46 relate the ordinances of this temple and the allocation of the land around the temple.
Chapters 47-48 describe the flow of water from the temple (which fructifies the Dead Sea Valley), the boundaries of the land, and the land’s allocation to the twelve tribes of Israel.
As we survey the material in Ezekiel 37-48, we observe that the language is apocalyptic and highly symbolic.
Ezekiel prophesies concerning the vision of the valley of dry bones (37), the feasting of the birds and animals (39:17-20), the fructifying waters from the temple (47:1-12), and the boundaries and divisions of the land (which are geographically impossible; see 47:13-48:29).
When those who hold the dispensationalist view read this section of Ezekiel, they insist on a literal fulfillment of Ezekiel’s vision in the future.
The modern equivalents of the countries mentioned in chapter 38, they predict, will attack Israel toward the end of the seven-year tribulation of the battle of Armageddon. Chapters 40-48 describe the millennial kingdom. The temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem, and the sacrificial system will be reinstated.
What can be said in response to this way of interpreting the Ezekiel texts? First, it must be recognized that Ezekiel is not writing an architect’s blueprint which is to be fulfilled literally either in the post- exilic period or in the distant future.
For example, when Ezekiel, in his vision of the future new age, describes the worship life of those who are redeemed in the priestly terms of offering animal sacrifices at the temple, he is pointing to a reality that far transcends BC forms.
Similarly, the apostle John writes by revelation that there is no temple in the heavenly Jerusalem since “its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Rev. 21:22).
Nor are there animal sacrifices, since Christ’s sacrificial death is the final, all-sufficient sacrifice (Hebrews 8-10; Rev. 5:6).
Second, careful consideration must be given to the parallelism which exists between the Ezekiel texts and Revelation 20-22.
Rev. 20:1-6 contains the message of the “first resurrection,” the Messianic age inaugurated at Christ’s first advent, which is parallel to the resurrection of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37. Rev. 20:7-10 parallels Ezekiel 38-39, Satan’s “little season,” when all the anti-Christian forces (“Gog” and Magog”) engage in their final assault on the church and are then consumed by fire (cf. Ezek. 39:6).
Chapters 21-22 of Revelation picture the heavenly Jerusalem and the promised land with its fructifying river and parallel Ezekiel 40-48.
The reference here simply cannot be understood in a literalistic sense to designate a millennial kingdom.
3. Daniel 2 and 7
In Daniel 2 and 7 God reveals four world empires to Daniel, who was taken to Babylonia in 605 BC In chap. 2 these empires are pictured as a great image consisting of a head of gold, breasts and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, and legs and feet of iron and clay. In chap. 7 these empires are portrayed as a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a nondescript beast. These four empires can best be identified as Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. 
Daniel prophesies that God will set up His eternal kingdom in the days of the kings of the fourth empire (2:44). The fulfillment of this prophecy was inaugurated at Christ’s first advent during the rule of Rome and will be consummated at Christ’s second advent.
In chap. 7, Daniel is permitted to see further into the future to the final judgment. Out of the fourth empire come 10 horns which are identified as 10 kings (7:24). The number 10 is a symbol of completeness, that is, the complete number of kings to rule between Rome’s demise and the rise of the little horn.
But then a little horn who speaks great things arises after them. The little horn who speaks words against the Most High and persecutes God’s people (7:25) is to be identified as the Antichrist, the “man of lawlessness” of 2 Thessalonians 2. He persecutes God’s people for “a time, two times, and half a time” (7:25).
The expression time here is deliberately indeterminate and does not mean “year” (cf. 2:8, 9, 21; 4:16, 23, 25, 32; 7:12). “Two times” indicates that his power will double. But instead of his power doubling again to four more times giving a total of seven, indicating complete power, we read “half a time,” signifying his sudden end.
The final judgment comes when the “one like a son of man” receives the kingdom from “the Ancient of Days” (God the Father) and the Antichrist is destroyed (7:13).
This “one like a son of man” is an eschalological, messianic, divine individual who is like a human being. This can be seen from the following: He appears at the final judgment; He receives the kingdom; He comes with the clouds of heaven; and the phrase “son of man” means a human being (cf. 8:17).
The New Testament, of course, identifies Him as Jesus Christ (Matt. 24:30, 44, et al.). Of Him it is written that, “His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him” (7:27 NIV; cf. v. 14).
Those who make use of historical criticism usually interpret these two chapters differently.
They identify the four empires as Babylonia, Media, Persia, and Greece. The little horn is then regarded as Antiochus, Epiphanes, the same as the little horn of 8:9, who rises out of Greece. The “one like a son of man” is thought to be a collective title for all the saints of the Most High.
However, this view charges Daniel with historical inaccuracy since Media alone did not conquer Babylonia, and it makes Daniel into a false prophet since the everlasting kingdom of God was not inaugurated during the rule of Greece. Moreover, it fails to accept the New Testament’s identification of the “son of man” with the person of Jesus Christ.
Dispensationalists also offer a variant interpretation. They agree that the four empires are Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.
However, Rome is divided into two phases separated by over 1000 years. The first phase of Rome, they contend, ended in A.D. 476. After the rapture of the church, Rome will be revived in the form of a 10-nation confederacy which corresponds to the image’s 10 toes (2:42) and the fourth beast’s 10 horns (7:24). The ruler of this revived Roman empire is the little horn, the Antichrist, who will defeat three of these nations (7:24-25).
He will persecute the Jewish nation during the last 3-1/2 years of the tribulation (7:25). At His second advent in glory, Christ will destroy this revived Roman empire (2:44) and the little horn (7:26), and then set up the earthly millennial kingdom (2:44; 7:14, 27).
In response to this interpretation, we note that there is no indication of a time gap between Rome and the 10 kings (7:24). Nor is there any reason to interpret the 3-1/2 “times” as 3-1/2 years. As we have seen, the kingdom of God is not an earthly, political kingdom of 1000 years, at the end of which the nations attack Christ (Revelation 20).
Rather, Daniel 2 and 7 emphasize the difference between the kingdom of God and the four previous kingdoms. These four empires are human and temporary, overcome by each succeeding kingdom, and they are beastly. In contrast, the kingdom of God is divine, everlasting, unconquerable, and humane. Jesus and the New Testament continually emphasize that His kingdom “is not of this world” (John 18:36; Rom. 14:17).
4. Daniel 9:24-27
9:24-27 is one of the most disputed passages in all of Scripture. In our judgment two interpretations have been given that are in harmony , with the rest of Scripture and the analogy of faith. Both are possible, and it is difficult to decide between the two.
One can be called the “traditional-Messianic” view, which sees the prophecy as climaxing in Christ’s first coming. Daniel is given a vision of “seventy ‘sevens’ ” (NIV) concerning the future of God’s people and Jerusalem. Some understand these “seventy ‘sevens’ ” as 70 weeks of years, i.e., 490 years.
A symbolical understanding of these figures is more likely in view of the apocalyptic nature of Daniel. From the decree to restore and build Jerusalem (538 BC or 458 BC ) to the coming of Christ, there are seven and sixty-two sevens, i.e., sixty-nine sevens. During this period Jerusalem will be rebuilt (v. 25). During the seventieth seven Christ is crucified and the Romans under Titus destroy Jerusalem (v. 26).
Verse 27 is parallel to v. 26. Christ confirms the covenant with many, but in the midst of the seventieth seven He is crucified, thereby fulfilling and abolishing the sacrificial system.
Another possible interpretation may be labeled the “typical-Messianic” view, which regards Christ’s second coming as the climax of the prophecy. This view also understands the “seventy ‘sevens'” symbolically. From Cyrus’ decree to restore Jerusalem (538 BC) until Christ there are seven “sevens.” During the next sixty-two “sevens” the church, the antitype of Jerusalem, is built (v. 25).
Toward the end of history, during the seventieth “seven,” Christ and the church have little or no external influence and prestige (cf. Rev. 20:7-9; Matt. 24:21-22). Rather, the people of the Antichrist, the antitype of Antiochus Epiphanes, will attack the church (v. 26). Again, we note that v. 27 is parallel to v. 26.
The Antichrist confirms a covenant with many and hinders worship. However, he will be swiftly destroyed. Then God’s eternal purposes will be consummated (v. 24).
Historical critical scholars usually understand the seventy “sevens” as 490 years. The first 49 years, they hold, are from the destruction of Jerusalem (587 BC) to Joshua or Zerubbabel (538 BC). The following sixty- two “sevens” (434 years), in which Jerusalem is rebuilt, end with the murder of the priest Onias III in 171 BC. During the following seven years Antiochus Epiphanes persecutes Jerusalem.
In the middle of this seventieth “seven” he prohibits temple worship (167 BC). The author then predicts that 3-l/2 years remain until the consummation of God’s purposes (v. 24).
This view must be rejected because it charges Daniel with historical inaccuracy for not calculating the years correctly. Moreover, the promise of v. 24 was not fulfilled in 164 BC.
Dispensationalists offer still another interpretation.
They understand the seventy “sevens” as 490 years of 360 days each. The first seven and sixty-two “sevens,” i.e., sixty-nine “sevens,” are from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (445 BC) to Palm Sunday (AD 29). After these sixty-nine “sevens,” Christ is crucified (five days later) and the Jerusalem temple is destroyed by Titus (AD 70). Between v. 26 and v. 27 there is a gap of almost 2000 years. This is the age of the church, which is not revealed in the Old Testament.
When the church is raptured, the seven-year tribulation (the seventieth “seven”) begins (v. 27). The Antichrist confirms a covenant with the Jews.
After 3-1/2 years the Antichrist outlaws the Jewish temple worship, sets up the “abomination of desolation” (cf. Matt. 24:15), and persecutes the Jews for the remaining 3-1/2 years.
At the end of the seventieth “seven,” Christ returns in glory, destroys the Antichrist, and brings in the blessings of the millennial kingdom (v. 24).
There are serious exegetical and theological problems with this latter view. First of all, there is no indication of a gap between v. 26 and v. 27. The verses are in fact parallel, describing the seventieth “seven.”
Second, it is problematic to interpret in a crassly literalistic way the seventy “sevens” as 490 years, and still less, as years of 360 days each. Third, this view wrongly asserts that events such as the worship of Jews at a rebuilt temple and the activity of the Antichrist will occur after the rapture.
Finally, the promises of v. 24 are not those of a millennial kingdom after which Satan has a “little season” (cf. Rev. 20:7-9).
Rather, the promise of v. 24 is that sin is put to an end and everlasting righteousness comes in.
Amillennialism. The view that there will be no (“a“) 1000 (“mille“) year visible earthly kingdom or “millennium. ” This view is better termed “realized millennialism” since it teaches that the symbolically understood 1000 years of Revelation 20 began at Christ’s first advent.
Armageddon. Derived from Hebrew har megiddo, “the hill of Megiddo,” in Palestine, Armageddon refers to the battle mentioned in Rev. 16:16.
Apocalyptic Literature. Derived from the Greek word apokalypsis (Rev. 1:1), “uncovering” or “revelation,” this type of literature, most notably found in Daniel and Revelation, uses highly symbolic imagery.
Dispensationalism. Also called dispensational premillennialism, this is a system of theology which divides history into distinct dispensations or periods of time in which God gives a specific revelation and man is tested with respect to his obedience of it. All dispensationalists are premillennialists, but not all premillennialists are dispensationalists.
Eschatology. Derived from the Greek word eschaton, “end,” eschatology is the study of the end times. Eschatological means “pertaining to the end. “
Millennium. Derived from the Latin words mille, “a thousand,” and annus, “a year” (Revelation 20), millennialism teaches that there will be a 1000-year, visible kingdom of God on earth. It is also called chiliasm from the Greek word chilia, “a thousand.”
Postmillennialism. This is the view that Christ’s second advent will occur after (“post”) the “millennium,” understood as a golden age on earth but not necessarily lasting 1000 years.
Premillennialism. This is the view that Christ’s second advent will occur before (“pro”) the “millennium,” understood as a 1000-year rule of Christ on earth.
Rapture. This refers to the events described in I Thess. 4:14-17 when believers will be “raptured” or “caught up” (Latin: rapiemur) in the clouds to meet Christ in the air. The “pre-tribulational rapture” view holds that the rapture will occur before a seven-year tribulation; the “mid-tribulational rapture” view places the rapture in the middle of a seven-year tribulation; the “post-tribulational” view holds that the rapture will occur after the tribulation.
Tribulation. This refers to the intensified persecution against God’s people preceding Christ’s second advent. Dispensationalists understand it as a seven-year persecution against the Jewish nation, while amillennialists see it as a persecution of unknown duration against the church.
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Surveys of Millennialist Views
Archer, Gleason L. Jr., Paul D. Feinberg, Douglas J. Moo, and Richard R. Reiter. The Rapture: Pre- Mid- or Post-Tribulational. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984. (Gives arguments pro and con for the three views of the rapture)
Clouse, Robert G. The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1977. (A survey of the four views of the millennium)
Erickson, Millard J. Contemporary Options in Eschatology. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977.
Hayes, Zachary. What Are They Saying about the End of the World? New York: Paulist Press, 1983. (A survey of more liberal trends)
Ludwigson, Raymond. A Survey of Bible Prophecy. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1973.
Travis, Stephen H. Christian Hope and the Future. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1980.
Weber, Timothy P. Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming: American Premillennialism 1975-1982. Academic Books. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1983.
Allis, O. T. Prophecy and the Church. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1947, 1974. (A refutation of dispensationalism)
Bass, C. B. Backgrounds to Dispensationalism. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1975. (A summary and evaluation of dispensationalism)
Cox, William E. Amillennialism Today. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1966, 1972. (A popular presentation of amillennialism)
Hendriksen, William. Israel in Prophecy. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1968. (A discussion of “Israel”
Hoekema, Anthony A. The Bible and the Future. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979. (A comprehensive treatment of eschatology and critique of various views)
LaRondelle, Hans K. The Israel of God in Prophecy. Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press, 1983. (Focuses on principles for interpreting Old Testament prophecy)
Milton, John P. Prophecy Interpreted. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1960. (Confessional Lutheran discussion of principles for interpreting Old Testament prophecy)
Plueger, Aaron Luther. Things to Come for Planet Earth. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977. (Introduction to the topic)
Chafer, H. S. Systematic Theology. 8 vols. Dallas: Dallas Seminary Press, 1947. (The standard dispensationalist dogmatics)
Feinberg, Charles Lee, ed. Jesus the King Is Coming. Chicago: Moody Press, 1975.
Gaebelein, Frank E., ed. Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976.
Hoyt, Herman. End Times. Chicago: Moody Press, 1969.
Lindsey, Hal. The Late Great Planet Earth. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970. (Lindsey’s works are popular presentations of dispensationalist eschatology)
Pentecost, Dwight J. Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970.
Ryrie, Charles C. Dispensationalism Today. Chicago: Moody Press, 1965.
(A defense of dispensationalism)
Ryrie, Charles C. The Ryrie Study Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1976.
Scofield, C.I. The Scofield Reference Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1909. Latest edition is the Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. (The standard dispensationalist study Bible)
Walvoord, John F. , and Zuck, Roy B. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983.
Wood, Leon. The Bible in Future Events: An Introductory Survey of Last- Day Events. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1973.
Armerding, Carl Edwin, and Gasque, W. Ward, eds. Dreams, Visions, and Oracles: The Layman’s Guide to Biblical Prophecy. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977.
Ladd, George Eldon. The Last Things. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1978.
Seiss, J.A. The Apocalypse. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1964. (A Lutheran premillennial view)
Boettner, Loraine. Millennium. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1966
 William Martin, “Waiting for the End,” Atlantic 249 (June 1982): 31
 See Robert G. Clouse, e.g., The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1977).
 Since dispensationalists differ from each other on a number of details, the following summary is based on the Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible, ed. C.I. Scofield and E. Schuyler English, et al. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), 3, 6, 13, 18, 86, 1130, 1335-36.
 Ibid., 3.
 Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today (Chicago: Moody Press, 1965), 41-45.
 Ibid., 46.
 F.E. Mayer, The Religious Bodies of America, 3d ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1954), 431-42; Anthony A. Hoekema, The Four Major Cults: Christian Science, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and Mormonism, Seventh-Day Adventism (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1963), 89-143; Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults, rev. and expanded. (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1985), 409-500.
 See Appendix I for a set of diagrams depicting the major millennial views and the time of the “rapture” within dispensationalism.
 See Henry Barclay Swete’s chapter on “Symbolism” in his Commentary on Revelation (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1977), cxxxi-cxxxix.
 For example, C.C. Ryrie interprets Rev. 14:20 as follows: at Armageddon “the blood from the slaughter will flow 200 miles, to the depth of about 4-1/2 feet. The Ryrie Study Bible: New Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1976), 472.
 John P. Milton, Prophecy Interpreted (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1960), 15. According to Milton shortened perspective means that “in the prophetic message the eschatological goal of the covenant is often seen as coming soon. It seems to be expected right after and in direct relation to the historical situation of the moment to which the message of the prophet is directed.”
 For more extensive treatments of typology, see Walter R. Roehrs, “The Typological Use of the Old Testament in the New Testament,” Concordia Journal 10 (November 1984): 204-16; Hans K. LaRondelle, The Israel of God in Prophecy: Principles of Prophetic Interpretation (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 1983), 35-59; and Leonhard Goppelt, Typos: The Typological Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1982); R. Davidson, Typology in Scripture (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 1981); Horace Hummel, “How to Preach the Old Testament,” in Concordia Pulpit 1986 (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1985),1-23.
 LaRondelle, 8.
 Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970), 59-71. However, these identifications are not historically accurate. Meshech and Tubal, for instance, were located in central and eastern Anatolia. See Edwin M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1982).
 David P. Scaer, “Lutheran Viewpoints on the Challenge of Fundamentalism: Eschatology,” Concordia Journal 10 (January 1984):10.
 Dispensationalists often apply Gen. 12:3 to the Jewish nation today rather than to Christ. The implication is that America should be pro-Israel lest it be cursed by God. The Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible under Gen. 12:3 states, “It has invariably fared ill with the people who have persecuted the Jew, well with those who have protected him. . . . The future will still more remarkably prove this principle” (p. 18). Rather, in light of Christ who is the seed of Abraham this verse should be understood to mean that whoever blesses Christ will be blessed; whoever curses Christ will be cursed (cf. Matt. 12:30; Gal. 3:16).
 LaRondelle, 142.
 For a more detailed treatment of the material in this section see Anthony A. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979). Our discussion follows Hoekema’s excellent treatment of those doctrines which are affected by millennialist views.
 Ibid., 1. Inaugurated eschatology is to be distinguished from “realized eschatology,” the theory of C.H. Dodd that the final eschaton has come in Christ. According to this latter view, no future series of events is yet to happen. The kingdom has come and with it eschatological realization. Ibid., 4-12.
 The kingdom of God can be defined as God’s promised ruling activity over and among people which brings judgment and mercy. “The prophets had foretold that this real but hidden reign of God would one day become manifest and universal; God would lay bare His arms finally and definitively to lead all history to its goal, to triumph over all who refused His royal mercy and to bring home to Himself His people gathered from among all nations.” W.R. Roehrs and M.H. Franzmann, Concordia Self-Study Commentary (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1979), 16, under Matt. 3:2.
 The Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible takes the position that “Christ is not now seated upon His own throne. The Davidic Covenant. . .and the promises of God through the prophets. . . concerning the Messianic kingdom await fulfillment. It is in a still future day that God will give to His Son, once crowned with thorns by men, the crown of His father, David” (p. 1318, under Rev. 3:21).
 Hoekema, The Bible and the Future, 77, states, “The greatest eschatological event in history is not in the future but in the past.”
 For example, William Miller, the founder of the movement producing the Seventh-Day Adventists, concluded that Christ’s return would occur between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844. More recently, Edgar Whisenant received national media attention by calculating Christ’s return in September 1988, and then revised his calculations for a 1989 appearance of Christ.
 See Hoekema, The Bible and the Future, 137.
 The New Testament clearly teaches that the church must continue to evangelize the Jews (Rom. 1:16; 11:11-24, 28-32; Matt. 10:23; Gal. 4:4-5; 1 Cor. 9:19-23).
 This phrase is quoted from Dan. 8:13 and 11:31. Most exegetes conclude Daniel is referring to Antiochus Epiphanes who erected a pagan altar in the temple in 167 B.C. This “desolating sacrilege” was then a type of the altar erected in A.D. 70 and ultimately a type of the Antichrist. The intention of the similar phrase in Dan. 9:27 is disputed. See under Dan. 9:24-27.
 Franzmann, Concordia Self-Study Commentary, 265, under 1 Pet. 4:17.
 Dispensationalists commonly identify the restrainer with the Holy Spirit and the restraint with the church, which will be “raptured” before the “tribulation.” Then the Antichrist will appear and work for seven years. However, the belief that the Holy Spirit and the church will be removed before the “tribulation” has no Biblical support, as we have shown.
 Franzmann, Concordia Self-Study Commentary, 213, under 2 Thessalonians 2.
 Ap XV, 18; Treatise, 39-59; FC SD X, 21-22; SA II, iv; see the “Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod,” paragraphs 20-21, 43; also John W. Behnken, “Papacy as Anti- Christ,” The Lutheran Layman (Dec. 1955); and Paul Raabe, “Necessary Distinctions Regarding the Papacy,” Concordia Journal 14 (January 1988): 3. Attention may also be called to the Australian “Theses of Agreement” (1966), which contain a section on “Theses on Eschatological Matters” (pp. 14-18).
 To the extent that the papacy continues to claim as official dogma the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent which expressly anathematizes, for instance, the doctrine “that justifying faith is nothing else than trust in divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this trust alone by which we are justified,” the judgment of the Lutheran confessional writings that the papacy is the Antichrist holds. At the same time, of course, we must recognize the possibility, under God’s guidance, that contemporary discussions and statements (e.g., 1983 U.S. Lutheran- Roman Catholic dialogue statement on Justification by Faith”) could lead to a revision of the Roman Catholic position regarding Tridentine dogma.
 See A Statement on Death, Resurrection, and Immortality, a Report of the CTCR, 1969.
 This work is attributed to the Father (John 5:21; I Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 4:14), to the Son (John 5:27-29; Phil. 3:20-21), and to the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:11).
 “Many” in Dan. 12:2 is the Hebrew way of expressing “all.”
 The contrast here is not that of material and non-material but that of a natural body in this sin-cursed existence and a supernatural body enlivened by the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. 2:14-15; 10:3-4). See Eduard Schweizer, “Pneuma, Pneumatikos,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT), trans. and ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1964), 6:421.
 There are passages in the New Testament which appear to teach that the bests of the sinner’s acquittal on Judgment Day will be works of righteousness. St. Paul writes, for instance, in Rom. 2:13 that “the doers of the law. . .will be justified.” The Apology of the Augsburg Confession teaches that we are to understand a passage such as this in the sense that “God pronounces righteous those who believe in him from the heart and then have good fruits, which please him because of faith and therefore are a keeping of the law” (Ap IV, 252; Tappert, p. 143).
 Behm, s.v. “Kainos,” TDNT 3:447-50. The continuity between the new creation and the present creation might well be suggested by the Greek terms employed for “new.” The word translated “new” (kainos) in 2 Pet. 3:13 and Rev. 21:1 usually means new in nature or in quality, in contrast to another Greek word (neos), which generally designates what is new in time or origin.
 Martin H. Franzmann, Concordia Commentary: Romans (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1968), 150.
 Scripture uses the same adjective for “eternal” (aionion) to refer to both punishment and life (Matt. 25:46).
 Some passages use the verb apollymi (“to destroy”), which in the middle voice means “be lost” or “perish” (apollymai). The word refers to everlasting perdition, a perdition consisting of endless loss of fellowship with God, not annihilation. A. Oepke, s.v. “apollymi,” TDNT, 1:394-97.
 Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953), 3:546.
 Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses teach annihilationism; Roman Catholicism, purgatory; the Unitarian Universalist Association, universal salvation; and premillennialism, post-“rapture” conversion.
 H.A.W. Meyer, The Epistle to the Romans (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1884).
 This is the most common interpretation espoused today. Within this view, however, there are some variations: (a) Dispensationalists teach that after the rapture the Jewish nation will be converted, either just before or at the very moment of Christ’s return to establish the millennium [John F. Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988)]. (b) Other scholars, premillennial but not dispensational, look for a future massive salvation of the Jewish nation as a whole [George Eldon Ladd, Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1974)]. (c) Still others, neither dispensational nor premillennial, similarly expect a conversion of the totality of the Jewish nation at Christ’s second advent [C.E.B. Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1979)]. Roy A. Harrisville, Romans, Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament [Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1980], 182-87, interprets the text to mean that all Israel according to the flesh will be saved, but it is not clear whether this includes every Jew and/or a massive conversion at Christ’s second coming.
 William Hendriksen, Israel in Prophecy (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1968); A. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future; also see R.C.H. Lenski’s discussion of Romans 11 in The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961).
 Martin H. Franzmann, Romans, 210-12.
 The best manuscripts contain the word now in 11:31b.
 A. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future, 145. For a more complete explanation of this interpretation see W. Hendriksen, Israel in Prophecy, chaps. 3 and 4.
 Franzmann, Romans, 210-11, points out that Rom. 11:17- 24, 25-27, 28 32 are parallel sections. Each section closes with a reference to all the elect, both Jew and Gentile.
 Krister Stendahl, Paul Among Jews and Gentiles (Philadelphia: Fortress Press 1976). See also L. Gaston, “Paul and the Torah,” in Anti-Semitism and the Foundations of Christianity, ed. A. T. Davies (New York & Toronto: Paulist Press, 1979), 48-71; J.F. Cager, The Origins of Anti-Semitism (New York & Oxford: University Press, 1983).
 Judaism originated and developed in the intertestamental period. One should not speak of Jews in the Old Testament. The people of God in the Old Testament should rather be referred to as Israelites or Judahites. In later books, beginning with Jeremiah, the Hebrew word is literally translated “Judahite,” not “Jew.
 See Resolution 3-09 “To Clarify Position on Anti-Semitism” adopted by the 1983 convention of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (1983 Convention Proceedings, p. 157).
 D. Martin Luther’s Werke (Weimar: Hermann Boehlaus Nachfolger, 1914), 51:195. See also Martin Luther’s “That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew,” in Luther’s Works (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1962), 45:195-229.
 In recent years some theologians, including Lutherans, have held to the view that non-Christian Israel will be saved at Christ’s second advent apart from faith in Christ. See Stendahl, Paul Among Jews and Gentiles, 4. Stendahl emphasizes that Rom. 10:17-11:36 contains no explicit mention of Jesus Christ. The argument is that Paul had resigned himself to the fact that Israel would not be saved through Jesus Christ since that attempt had failed (p. 132). Only a miraculous act of God could accomplish that salvation. Thus, there are two distinct means of salvation according to this view (“Two Covenant View”). The Gentiles are justified by grace through faith in Christ. The non-Christian Jews will be saved on the basis of their faith in the Old Testament covenant.
 For a helpful introduction to Revelation, see William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1967).
 Note that this was already true for John and his original readers and not still awaiting fulfillment in the distant future (1:6; 5:10).
 See Theodore Engelder, “Dispensationalism Disparaging the Gospel,” Concordia Theological Monthly 8 (September 1937): 649 66; and Hoekema, The Bible and the Future, 194-222.
 The NIV accurately translates the Hebrew of v. 20: “He who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.”
 Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible, 689-90, 744-45. This version separates 65:17 from the verses following.
 Gog of the land of Magog cannot be identified for certain, but some scholars see it as possibly a reference to Gyges, king of Lydia in western Turkey. Meshech and Tubal were located in central and eastern Anatolia. Cush was ancient Ethiopia. Put refers to Cyrenaica in North Africa, Gomer to the ancient Cimmerians from north of the Black Sea, and Beth-togarmah to Til-garimmu, capital of Kammanu on the border of Tubal. See Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier.
 Most dispensationalists believe that these sacrifices will be memorial in character, looking back to Christ’s sacrifice and having no expiatory value. Some, however, deny that there will be animal sacrifices and regard Ezekiel as presenting the worship of Israel in using the terms familiar in his day. Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible, 864.
 Note that the leopard with four heads and four wings (7:6) is the same empire as the goat with four horns reaching toward the four winds (8:8), which is identified as Greece (8:21). Therefore, the fourth empire is probably a reference to Rome.
 For example, Norman W. Porteous, Daniel: A Commentary, 2d rev. ed. (London: SCM Press, 1979); and W. Sibley Towner, Daniel (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1984).
 For a critique of this view, see Edward J. Young, “The Prophecy of Daniel,” in An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1949).
 E.g., the Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible and John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971).
 E.g., H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Daniel (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1949, 1969).
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