Rookie Recommends: Amillenialism ​

When I was in high school I began reading the Left Behind series. For the uninitiated, this series was a Christian fictional account of the end times “according to the Bible.” It involved a secret rapture where all believers disappear, a seven-year period of tribulation featuring the rise of the antichrist, false prophet, and the beast concluded with a literal thousand-year reign of Christ followed by a final battle (Armageddon) and then eternal glory. It wasn’t until I got to seminary I became aware of other views of the end times. The study of this subject even has a fancy name: eschatology. That just sounds smart, doesn’t it? If you use that word your friends will assume you know what you are talking about. He must be well-read. He used a fancy word. I soon found out that I held to a particular position called pre-millennial dispensationalism. That’s a mouthful. Eventually, I became convinced Amillennialism was the most consistent with the Biblical evidence. I was a firm Amil guy by the time I came around to Kim Riddlebarger’s book. I am not saying Kim was able to convince me. The reason that I recommend his book is that he does a wonderful job of summarizing what Amillennialism is all about. There are even free audio lectures you can listen to at monergism! (Self-promotion: I have a 6 part class I did a few years ago where I did an overview of the various millennial positions and end times issues that can be accessed here. Be warned, the audio quality is not good. -End self-promotion-)

Riddlebarger divides the book into four parts. The first part deals with definitions and interpretive issues. This section is important because much of the confusion often stems from the use of words we have never heard of or define differently. Part two is the core of the book presenting the Amillenial view including the covenants of the Bible, prophecy fulfillment, the role of Christ and the Kingdom of God. Part three focuses in on four critical and highly debated texts most notably Revelation 20:1-10. Finally, draws it together to close his case on why Amillenialism is the best of the various options.

Now here is the deal about end times stuff: Christians can disagree and still consider one another brothers and sisters in Christ. The disagreement here is not the same as disagreeing about the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the necessity of cross or other core doctrines of the faith. In other words, I can be wrong about the end times and still be a Christian. I like to quote one of my seminary professors who said, “I don’t believe in the rapture, but if I suddenly find myself floating off into the air I won’t complain!” This means we don’t need to harsh toward one another. Let’s believe, study, be convinced by the scriptures and debate with charity. Someone is right and someone is wrong. But one thing all Christians can agree on is that Christ will return and when he does we will rejoice.

I heartily recommend this book. It is concise, clear and helpful. If you read this book and want to study more then I would also recommend Sam Storms Kingdom Come. Sam’s book is roughly 600 pages which is the main reason I don’t recommend it as often as Kim’s book. However, if you are looking for a book on Amillennialism that engages in depth with pre-millennial dispensationalism Sam’s your guy. But if you are in the market for a straight forward presentation of Amillennialism I haven’t found anything better than the book we have discussed.

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