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The difference between Premillennialism and Postmillennialism is more important than you think

What is the difference between premillennialism and postmillennialism? And what does it matter?

After the French Revolution in the late 1700s, Christians began to see the world as coming to an end. Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 describe an oppressor who will wear the people out for a period of time. Some Christian interpret that as being 1260 years. That 1260 years can be placed over the reign of Justinian all the way through history up until the French Revolution. That is just one interpretation that not everyone shares. But if you hold that view then this event was HUGE. It meant that the end of the world was super close. It has now been over 200 years since that event, but many premillennialists still hold up this prophecy as proof of the fulfillment of scripture.

Many Christians tried to uncover the meaning of it all. Some turned to an old idea — premillennialism. It’s the notion that the world is on a downward trajectory. Things are going to get really bad and then Jesus will return. Before this time, many evangelicals were postmillennialism. They thought the world was going to get better over time. This split was an important part of what would become the fundamentalist/ modernist debate.

Premillennialism has some dark “logical” conclusions to it. Some premillennialist like pastor John MacArthur argue that since the world is going to burn anyway, we humans shouldn’t worry about things like global warming.

Discussion Questions:

  • Why was the French Revolution such an important moment in world history?
  • Pre-Revolution the nobles and clergy controlled much of the power in France. They could out-weigh 98% of the population of France. Is this perhaps a reason why the French people turned against them?
  • Are you a premillennialist, a postmillennialist, or neither?
  • Did you read the Left Behind books? What do you remember? How did they impact you?
  • Do you think you have a positive or negative view of world history? How does that impact the way you act?
  • Should premillennialists see Jesus’ second coming as a reason to avoid taking care of the planet?

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