Category Archives: Eschatology

The Last Pilgrims

The Last Pilgrims is a novel by Michael Bunker, a Christian agrarian and Biblical separatist.  It is set 20 years after the collapse of America and explores the future from a Protestant Historicist perspective.  The author provides a sample novella of the first 1/3 novel for free at http://www.lastpilgrims.com/.

I read the sample novella and found it interesting.  I wouldn’t classify it as some of the best fiction I’ve ever read; however, I did find the author’s perspective instructive and challenging.  For instance, one of the main characters is a pacifist.  He supports pacifism in all situations, and he puts those beliefs into practice with full knowledge of the potential cost of his actions.  His perspective is making me re-examine my beliefs concerning self-defense.  While I don’t think I could ever not defend my children if someone tried to harm them, I do enjoy the process of making sure my beliefs are Biblically grounded.  I look forward to reading more of this series.

You can find a copy of the sample novella here if you are interested in reading it.  You can also purchase an updated, re-edited novella here.  The actual book launch is 11/11/2011.  It is the first book in an intended series.

Check out the book trailer for The Last Pilgrims:

Postmillennial Calvinists

A. Alexander

A.A. Hodge

A.H. Strong

Alexander Henderson

Alexander M’Cleod

Andrew Fuller

Archibald Mason

Augustine (claimed by both Post and Amillennialists)

B.B. Warfield

Charles Hodge

Charles Spurgeon (claimed by Post- and Premillennialists)

David Brianerd

David Brown

David Dickson

David Steele

George Gillespie

George Whitefield

Greg Price

Gregory K. Barrow

H. Witsius

J, Gresliam Machen

J. Marcellus Kik

J.A. Alexander

J.A. James

J.H. Thornwell

James Renwick

John Brown (of Waphray)

John Calvin (claimed by both Post and Amillennialists)

John Cotton

John Flavel

John Howe

John Knox

John Murray

John Owen

Jonathan Edwards

Joseph Bellamy

Loraine Boettner

Matthew Henry

O.T. Allis

Patrick Fairbairn

R.L. Dabney,

Richard Cameron

Richard Sibbes

Robert Bailie

Robert Fleming

Robert Haldane

Samuel Hopkins

Samuel Rutherford

Stephen Charnock

Theodore Beza

Thomas Boston

Thomas Manton

Thomas Shephard

W.G.T. Shedd

W.J. Mencarow

William Gouge

William Greenhill

William Perkins

Timing and the Return of Christ

Date Fixing

Arthur Pink, 1938

Not only hysterical sensationalists—but some of the most sober minded and spiritual servants of God have attempted to draw conclusions and forecast the future from the “signs of the times” which appeared in their sky. The state of the world in their day, the corruption and apostasy of Christendom, and the calamitous judgments sent by God on an evil and adulterous generation, convinced them that such things were most certainly the immediate prelude to the appearing of Christ in Person. Others averred that Divine Prophecy intimated the very year in which the Papacy would be overthrown or the Day of Judgment would occur.

And what is the moral to be drawn from all of this? What is the practical lesson—for it is a practical end we have had in view, and not the amusing of the curious or the entertaining of those who have an idle hour to pass away. Surely it is this, “For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild donkey’s colt” (Job 11:12)—yes, wise in his own conceits, wise above that which God has revealed, wise in the esteem of his fellows.

He would pose before others as possessing a spiritual light and discernment which lifts him above the rank and file; he pretends unto light received from the Word which is denied those who walk not so closely with God as he does. The Spirit has shown him “things to come,” only for the passing of time to demonstrate it was some other spirit than the Spirit of God.

When the disciples asked Christ, “Will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6), He did not say whether He would or would not, neither did He tell them that they entertained an erroneous conception of “the kingdom.” No, He struck more deeply, and made answer which applies to all His followers until the end of time, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power” (v. 7). That is definite and it is final. Shun, then, my reader, those who controvert the Son of God by seeking to persuade that you may, “know the times and the seasons,” that if you will accept their interpretations (?) of Prophecy you will be granted a spiritual insight into those things of which the world is ignorant. “The coming of the Lord draws near” (James 3:8)—it is ever drawing nearer—but for any man to affirm that the coming of the Lord is now at the very doors, is to affirm what Scripture nowhere warrants, and is a piece of bombastic impertinence.

Our pressing duty is to set bounds to an unholy curiosity, and rest content with the blessed fact that the future is entirely in the hands of the Most High. It is the present which limits the boundaries of our responsibility. God is working all things after the counsel of His own will, so that there is no cause for alarm or fear. Not only cannot the forces of evil go one inch farther than what has been Divinely ordained—but, even now, God is making them to subserve His own wise and holy purpose. Nothing we do, or fail to do, will either hasten or retard by a single hour the consummation of God’s counsels.

“All things work together for good to those who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) provides a sure resting-place for the renewed heart.

Speculations about future history are not only futile—but impious. An itching mind that craves information about coming events is a hindrance and not a help to present godliness.

Leave the future with God, and seek grace to discharge your present duty. Part of our present duty, as well as our precious privilege, is to be “looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). But that is a vastly different thing from occupying our minds with the evil that is at work in the world. To be “looking for that blessed Hope” is entirely an attitude of the heart—the soul being engaged with the person of Christ Himself, anticipating that glad moment when He will perfectly conform us to His image. But as to when He will appear, the angels in Heaven know not, much less can we on earth ascertain it. To be prepared for His coming is the great thing, and not to be curiously prying into the how and when of it!

What is Futurism?

Futurism is an approach to Bible prophecy which interprets most biblical prophecies as having not yet been fulfilled.  With regards to the end times, futurism interprets all or most of the book of Revelation as being set to occur sometime in the typically near future.

A popular set of books outlining the futurist interpretation is the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.  In this series, LaHaye and Jenkins describe near to future events as follows:

  1. A rapture of true Christians, resulting in total chaos on earth.  This begins a 7-year period known as the “Tribulation;”
  2. The rise of a totalitarian and satanic one-world government and religion promising “peace” to the world;
  3. An antichrist figure who heads the one-world government.  He makes a treaty with the nation of Israel for 7 years but breaks that treaty after 3.5 years.  This figure is at one point killed and then comes back to life to continue his satanic agenda;
  4. A succession of judgments by God on the world, generally interpreted literally from the book of Revelation.  For example, the locusts of Revelation 9 are taken as being literal locusts with women’s heads who torment unbelievers, etc.;
  5. A rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem from which Antichrist seeks to rule the world.  Old Testament animal sacrifices will be re-instituted in this Temple;
  6. Persecution of true believers who convert after the rapture.  Death often comes to these believers by guillotine.  Those who aren’t killed generally live in hiding;
  7. An earthly battle of Armageddon taking place in the Middle East and culminating in the eventual return of Jesus to earth, whereby Antichrist is overthrown and Jesus’s physical millennial reign on earth begins (premillenialism).

In the Left Behind series, the Antichrist is a European politician, although futurists acknowledge he could in reality come from any nation.  Some futurists believe that the last pope will be the Antichrist, although he is not currently so.  This view is also known as “modified futurism.”  Given recent world events, futurists tend to believe that the Antichrist is already alive or will be in the very near future.

In addition, not all futurists believe there will be a rapture of believers before the Tribulation period.  However, the rapture view is very prevalent in North American churches today.

Overall, futurism seems to be the view most commonly taught in churches of all denominational stripes.

A Historicism Study Plan

In order to obtain an understanding of the historicist school of interpretation, we would recommend the following study plan:

  1. Study the book of Daniel using an inductive Bible study method
  2. Study the book of Revelation using an inductive Bible study method
  3. Study other related eschatological passages in the Bible.  These would include Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2, for example.

Go through the passages first by yourself so that you are not influenced by any author’s particular interpretation.  Then compare your observations and understanding to what others have to say.  In particular, we recommend the works of Rev. Dr. F.N. Lee at Historicism Research Foundation and the sermon series by Bill Mencarow as a starting point.

What is Historicism?

Historicism, or historicalism as it is sometimes called, is an approach to interpreting Bible prophecy that could be described as “prophecy as historical blueprint.”  From a historicist point of view, the prophecies of Daniel, Revelation, and other books related to the end times give a blueprint, or roadmap, for much of history.  Specifically, the book of Daniel is considered to give a blueprint of history from the Babylonian exile to the first coming of Christ and beyond, while the book of Revelation and related passages are considered to give a blueprint of history from the apostolic era to the creation of the new heavens and earth.

While historicists may disagree on the specific details of this eschatological scheme, they generally agree on the following (based on information from the Historicism Research Foundation):

  1. In biblical prophecy, the Year-Day Principle applies, meaning that the word “day’ is generally interpreted as indicating a “year” in real time unless the context of the passage indicates otherwise;
  2. References to “time, times, and half a time,” 3.5 years, 1260 days, and 42 months have already been fulfilled in history;
  3. The Roman Catholic Papal System, ie. the Papacy, is the antichrist (one who comes in place of Christ or Christ’s stead), man of sin, and beast of Revelation; and
  4. Revelation 9 applies to the rise of Islam.

When it comes to the book of Revelation, the approach we will be investigating on this website interprets the seal, trumpet, and vial judgments as occurring in successive order in history.

Interestingly, the historicist interpretation was the standard Protestant interpretation of biblical prophecy for a period of about 500 years, from Wycliffe to Spurgeon.  It can be contrasted with the Futurist (think “Left Behind”) and Preterist (think “The Last Disciple”) interpretations, which were conceived by Roman Catholic Jesuits (members of the Society of Jesus) during the time of the counter-reformation.