Before we talk and contrast Jews and Gentiles in the future, we need to understand some of the differences in futuristic views held by many. The next era following our present time on this earth has been termed the Tribulation Period. There are four main world views of apocalyptic literature, like the book of Revelation, and then there are three main theological views of the future concerning the Millennium (or the earthly reign of Christ), although there are minor variations of these as well. There are some who view the content of Revelation strictly from a historical perspective: all, or most, of the prophecies in the book have been completely fulfilled in the past. Proponents of this tenant believe all of the descriptions in Revelation are referring to the downfall of the Roman Empire during and after the time of the apostle John, the book’s author. Others are known as preterists and also believe that all, or most, of the prophecies in Revelation have occurred in the past but that they were prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore, all of the prophecies had to be fulfilled by the end of 70 AD. Then, there are others who believe the majority of the prophecies within the book of Revelation should be interpreted more from an allegorical perspective. The prophecies and visions which John wrote about were not literal, but communicate a moral or theological lesson about God and how he works in the lives of Christians and non-Christians in all phases of earth’s history. This is what makes the book relevant for each and every person no matter in which period of earth’s history they live. The fourth category is known as the futurist view. People with this view believe that all of the events from chapter four onward are in the future, describe events that will occur after the Rapture of the Church and during the Tribulation and Great Tribulation Periods, and beyond. The prophecies and visions that the apostle John saw and spoke about are to be taken literally as much as possible, except where it is evident that the apostle is speaking metaphorically. For example, when John states that Satan was bound in the Abyss for one-thousand years with chains so he could not escape, the futurists view is that the removal of Satan from the earth for one-thousand years would be literal but the chain would be metaphorical in that God will prevent Satan from being released. He is chained in the sense he cannot escape but not in the sense that God was using a physical chain that would restrain him for this prescribed period of earth’s history. Or, at least, this is not literal in our view of a chain as we know that could not hold a spiritual being; yet, God was using something which John interpreted as a chain or the concept of such.
There are three major views of the one-thousand year reign of Christ on earth in the future, known as the Millennium: Premillennialism, Amillennialism, and Postmillennialism. The reason for the Millennium determines one’s main view of its importance and if it will be literal and actually occur. I believe the Premillennial viewpoint is the more accurate one for the following three reasons:
1. The Premillennial view allows the Bible to be broken into dispensations or periods of time where God deals with mankind for a specific purpose. Most of these dispensations have been about Israel as prophesied by the Feasts of Israel; yet, only four of these feasts have been fulfilled (Passover – death of Christ; Feast of Unleavened Bread – Christ’s sinless death and burial; Feast of First Fruits – Christ’s resurrection; Shavuot – Holy Spirit uniting all believers, both Jew and Gentile, into his fold). Since the current age is about God bringing Gentiles into his fold, there has to be a time when He works with Israel as a nation again to fulfill the remaining feasts (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot). The Tribulation is a time when He can begin doing that once all current Christians have been taken out of the picture. God can then remember his covenant, which is the theme of the original Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets): to ask God to remember His covenant with Israel. These points would speak against the view of Amillennialism which does not even believe in the existence of a Millennium or in a special period of time that is any different from the current time in which one lives.
2. The Rapture is an event that allows all current Christians to be removed from the earth to allow God to focus on Israel, as well as the remaining Gentiles on earth. This event also fits well into an analogy of a Jewish bridegroom coming for his bride: she did not know when he was coming so she had to be prepared; he went to where she was and brought her back to his home. A shout or call (e.g. by shofar) would be made to alert the bride and then her attendants (SS 3:11). Christ’s church has been equated to, or alluded to, the bride of Christ who has been set apart for Him (2Co 11:2, Ep 5:22-23; Hb 10:10; Ja 4:4; Rv 19:14). These points would speak against both Amillennialism and Postmillennialism as both do not believe in a Rapture or not one that occurs before the Tribulation starts. If the Tribulation is about God remembering His covenant with Israel, then the Rapture could not occur after the Tribulation starts.
3. Because Satan took the world from mankind and is currently the ruler of it (Mt 4:8-9), Christ must take the current world back, re-establish his theocratic kingdom and reverse the curse that resulted from Adam’s rebellion so Christ can show He alone is sovereign. Therefore, the Millennium is a key period of future history that must occur. This point would also speak against Amillennialism since a literal Millennium would be necessary to prove Christ’s sovereignty over Satan. It also speaks against Postmillennialism as it would be necessary for Christ to reign on the earth with its curse removed to prove His sovereignty.
The time in which everyone currently lives will continue until the full number of Gentiles have accepted Christ as their Savior (Ro 11:25). That time will end at what is known as the Rapture or being “caught up” where believers receive a glorified body (Jn 14:1-3; 1Co 15:51-53; Pp 3:20-21; 1Th 4:17; 1Jn 3:1-2). This will occur before the Antichrist appears and the Tribulation Period begins (2Th 2:2-3). It appears the time shortly before the Antichrist comes on the scene will be marked by teachers teaching false doctrine that will lead many astray (2Pt 2:1-3); however, it seems that the beginning of false teachings will occur even prior to the Rapture – even in the present day (Ju 1:4). These “teachers” will have no scruples (Ju 1:8), and their ungodly acts will only escalate after the Rapture and prior to Christ’s second coming (Ju 1:15). Any of these peddlers of false information could be labeled “antichrist” (1Jn 2:22; 2Jn 1:7) because their teachings are against Christ. However, scriptures indicate that there will be one individual that will culminate the spirit of deceit and lead the world in rebellion against God (2Th 2:9-10; 1Jn 2:18). Once the Rapture occurs, there will no longer be any Christians on the earth for a time. Even the restraint of the Holy Spirit will be removed (2Th 2:7).
These events sets Israel up for God to work with them as a nation again and for every nation to be evangelized and make a final decision of their relationship with Christ. You don’t have to wait to do that. You can do that now. Have you? Do you want to? Just talk to him. He’s waiting – always waiting – just for you.
Fall Jewish Holidays - Part 1: Rosh Hashanah
Fall Jewish Holidays - Part 3: Sukkot
Struggle for the World