Author: Ron Graham
Is the world on the brink of doom and does this signify that Jesus is about to return?
Premillenniallsts cannot prove from the Bible itself that the Bible is talking about our world today, so they make their argument in reverse. They look at the world in our generation and see such unprecedented things that lead them to conclude that Bible prophecy is about our times.
"When we take a hard, cold realistic view of conditions and trends, they do point inevitably to a fast approaching world crisis of combined nuclear war, starvation, uncontrollable disease epidemics, crime and violence and the extinction of human life on this planet. Man has no solution." (Herbert W. Armstrong in The Wonderful World Of Tomorrow)
In the doomsday view, mankind is heading for self destruction, and mankind has no solution. The solution must therefore be in God’s hands, and he must be going to intervene very shortly to bring us back from the edge of extinction. So the premillennialist thinks that surely the Bible must have much to say about it and that is why we ought to believe that our world today and our immediate future is what Bible prophecy is all about.
That sounds logical enough if you allow the starting point, namely that mankind is heading for self destruction —the world is getting worse and heading for doomsday. That, however, is mere conjecture. Hence, premillennial reasoning rests on an opinion treated as a given, when it should be treated as both problematic and irrelevant. True faith does not rest on matters of opinion.
If opinions count, why shouldn't we adopt those of the many intelligent and thinking people who believe the world is an the brink of a bright renaissance? If opinions count, why shouldn't we be postmillennialists? They teach that the world is getting better and history will merge into a millennium in which evil will almost disappear. When Jesus returns at the close of that golden age he will find Christians in the majority.
These opinions are at least as respectable as the doomsday view, not least because of their optimistic nature (Philippians 4:8) compared to the pessimism of premillennialists. But all these opinions, on both sides, are irrelevant. We don't interpret the Bible by starting with a conjecture, no matter how popular it might be.
The scriptures indicate that the world when Jesus comes will not be on the brink of doom. Premillennialists arbitrarily assign most of the doom prophecies to our day, and ignore certain passages that show a normal world at the time of Christ’s second advent.
2Peter 3:3-4 Peter says that in the last days mockers will say that Christ is not coming because all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation. The world will be its normal self.
1Thessalonians 5:1-3 The day of the Lord will come unexpectedly. People will be complacent saying "Peace and Safety!"
Genesis 8:22 While earth remains seedtime and harvest and the normal seasons shall not cease.
Luke 17:26-30 The appearing of Jesus will be at a time when people are eating and drinking, getting married, buying and selling, and building things. Life will be business as usual on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
Matthew 24:4-8 Even when there are wars, earthquakes, famines, and false prophets arising, that doesn't indicate that the end is at hand. (Those events too are, in a sense, normal. They have been happening throughout the world’s history.)
The theory that the world is getting worse, signifying the end times, is one of those things that sounds right till you give it some thought. Have we forgotten the flood in Noah’s time? The whole world was destroyed, and the world’s human population was reduced to eight. That’s eight. Not eight million. Just eight. Talk about the extinction of the human race! How much closer could you get?
Some of the history recorded in the Bible tells of times of terrible tribulation, carnage, disaster, plague, rampant crime, utter godlessness, holocaust, great cities obliterated. Its all there in ancient history. Modern history over the last 2000 years, or even the last two years, is no different. These things never were the sign of the second coming, and they are not today.
The idea that now is the consummation of the ages, and in the near future will come the world’s darkest time, is not what the Bible teaches. The Hebrew writer understood the "last days" and the "consummation of the ages" to be in his own time some 2000 years ago. (Hebrews 1:2, 9:26). The reason is not difficult to see. In the Hebrew writer’s own times, the Son of God has been crucified. That is as dark as the world gets.
When you think about the cross of Christ it is hard to hold the view that our world today is worse than the world of yesterday. Surely the world’s darkest hour was when they crucified the Lord. If it was God’s plan to restore his kingdom at history’s blackest moment, then it was God’s plan to restore his kingdom at the cross of Christ. And this he did.
It was at the time of the first coming of Christ that many prophecies were fulfilled, which premillennialists anachronistically move forward two thousand years to the the time when they expect the second coming. A little thought will reveal the error of that.