Once again, due to the hectic-ness of life in the “real world,” I was unable to put a video together. Sorry.
This is the last post I’ll be doing on amillennial eschatological theology. If you haven’t figured it out by now, yeah, I’m pretty unapologetic about my belief system. Often, when I discuss this with people who are not Lutheran (like me) and they learn that I am an amillennialist, they’ll make the same joke: “I’m pan-millennialist. I think it’ll all just pan out in the end.” And then we both chuckle and I have to admit that there’s some truth to that. I very well could be wrong in my beliefs. I don’t think I am, but if God has a pre-tribulation rapture in the works, I’m not going to complain.
And yet, at the same time, as funny as that pan-millennialist joke is, we have to remain aware that there can be devastating real world consequences when our theological rubber hits the road, so to speak.
A good, recent example of this is Harold Camping. I know it’s been a little over a year since that so-called “prophecy expert” shot himself in the proverbial foot by wrongly predicting the end of the world not once, not twice, but three times. Now most of us rightly chalked him up as a kook, but the sad reality is, far too many people fell for his schtick. Many of them donated most, if not all, of what they had to help “get the word out” about the impending judgment day. While I can’t find the links now, I know I read a few interviews with true believers who had sold all that they had in order to travel around the country and make sure that the country knew what Mr. Camping had cobbled together using his “holy mathematics.” Now that it’s a year later, I can’t help but wonder where those folks are now. I suspect that a few of them probably did not land on their feet after blowing the life savings on (let’s call him what he is) a false prophet.
Now I’m not saying that an amillennialist would be completely immune to this sort of thing. We can get snookered just as easily as the next guy. But given the fact that our theology doesn’t really support “let’s figure this whole thing out” type thinking (i.e. date setting or flowcharts or anything like that), I don’t think it’s as easy for us to get caught up in the fervor.
That’s just one small example. A much more problematic example is the status of the modern state of Israel.
In dispensational premillennialist thinking, the modern state of Israel’s creation is a big deal. It’s a sign that it’s all about to kick off at any moment. Because of this, dispensational premillennialists have put a lot of pressure on the United States government to side with Israel no matter what they do or how they behave.
Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t support Israel. Not at all. They are our historic allies and they’re the only stable democracy in the region. But for an amillennialist like me, that’s all they are. They’re not a fulfillment of prophecy. That particular country and plot of land is no longer theologically significant (I’m getting on my asbestos undies now. I have a feeling I’m going to catch some brimstone in the comments for that one). Because of that, I don’t think the Israelis have a whole lot of moral high ground to stand on when it comes to their treatment of the Palestinians. And by saying that, I’m not condoning any form of radical terrorism by the Palestinians. What they do is reprehensible and vile.
But let’s just pretend, for a moment, that the Palestinians got their acts together and, instead of engaging in terrorist attacks, carried out a series of non-violent protests? How many of you would be okay with them getting some land of their own to live on?
And that right there is one of the problems I have with dispensational premillennialism. When it’s rubber hits the road, it results in the oppression of people, many of whom are our brothers and sisters in the faith (since not all Palestinians are Muslim).
That, I think, is why I wrote this whole series on eschatology. I want to shake up the status quo and get people thinking about what they believe and why. It’s not just theory. We have to be careful how our theology plays out when the rubber hits the road.