Daily Devotional – Bible Preppers

40 Important Bible Scriptures on Preparation – ConnectUS

Luke 21:34

AMP and RVR 1960


CONTEXT:

Strong’s Concordance, translated the Greek word Prosecho, as take heed (KJV), Be on Guard (AMP), watch yourselves (ESV) in v.34 meaning “to turn the mind to, attend to be attentive; to devote thought and effort to”.

Christ’s Return is one of the major theme’s of this Chapter in Luke 21:25-28. This must have been very confusing to the disciples since Jesus was sitting among them at the time and yet telling them of His own return. In order to explain His point Jesus sets out beginning in v.29 to tell them the Parable of the Fig Tree.


BREAKDOWN:

And take heed to yourselves, – Simply put Jesus is telling His disciples Be Prepared, to devote time and effort into preparing their minds and…

lest at any time your hearts – Their hearts, out of which spring froth the true intent of man 

be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, – Being self-indulgent or gluttonous on the excesses of worldly things (here probably food) but any excess to the point of nausea. 

and cares of this life, – Weight down by the care of this world or have your burdens been cast upon the broad yoke of Christ

and so that day come upon you unawares. – Jesus back in Luke 18:8 had asked a question, here he gives the answer to it or the answer to how to avoid it. Only the prepared will be ready and acceptable upon Christ’s return. 


APPLICATION:

Men since the death of Christ have attempted to predict the date of His return, all have failed miserably. All those who claim to know this are false prophets and LIARS, the bible clearly states not even Jesus Himself knows. 

What the Bible does tell us to do is Watch and Pray and as our text shows Jesus Himself encouraged His disciples then and now to Be Prepared. We do this by guarding our hearts, studying daily to show ourselves approved, and praying daily for wisdom and guidance. 

Are you a Bible Prepper? 

 

The Doctrine of the Millennium: A Brief Introduction

Anyone who even infrequently uses social media knows there has been a significance influx since COVID-19, of so called prophets (I think they are really profiteers) expounding upon how we are seriously in the “End Times.” The problem like so many uneducated false teachers their Eschatology is based not on solid biblical foundations but upon the emotions of others. 

I am not big on Eschatology, it is not my forte so to speak, so I will not pretend to write about what specifics. However, the following article (one of the best I have read on the matter) is specifically about one subject of Eschatology, the Millennium, of which many a discussion has ensued since the beginning of Christianity. It does not pretend to “know the answer,” instead Mr. Quoad relates the facts of each side in a well written piece.

* Note I have highlighted areas and edited the format without changing any of the content.

The Doctrine of the Millennium: A Brief Introduction

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What will happen when Jesus comes back? What must happen before he comes back? What is the correct view on the millennium? And why does this even matter? The answers to these questions have been the cause of much debate throughout the history of the church, and I don’t plan on solving every issue related to the millennium here. Instead, my aim in this post is to give you a brief introduction to the doctrine of the millennium.

millennium

This post merely serves as an introductory level and does not intend to go into great detail on each issue. I’ll share basic information on the three major views associated with the millennium, some strengths and challenges of each position, and resources for further study. ¹

For those of you who want to know more about the millennium but (a) don’t know where to start in your study and (b) are too busy to even start a study, this post is for you.

The Doctrine of the Millennium: A Brief Introduction

Key Passage

Before we move on, let’s look at the main text associated with the millennium. Although there are other texts that absolutely must be taken into consideration when coming to a conclusion on where you stand, the key text associated with the millennium is Revelation 20:1-6. You might want to start by reading the text to get a big picture view of the debate.

Revelation 20:1-6

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.”

Key Terms

Let me also define a few words. None of the views will make sense without understanding the basic terms. Here are some of those terms:

Eschatology: The word eschatology comes from the Greek word eschatos which means “last.” Eschatology, therefore, is the study of the last things. The last things are best taken to mean the events that will occur prior to, during, and after Christ’s return. Theologians differentiate between personal eschatology and general eschatology. Personal eschatology entails future events that will specifically affect persons (e.g., death, intermediate state, etc.). General eschatology entails future events that will affect the world (e.g., second coming of Christ, eternity, rapture, etc.).

Millennium: The word millennium derives from the Latin word mille which means “thousand,” and annus which means “year.” The word millennium, then, means one thousand years. The reference to one thousand years is mentioned five times in Revelation 20:1-6.

Are the 1,000 years literal or symbolic? Will Christ come before or after this 1,000 year period? Could the 1,000 year period be actually happening now? And what is supposed to happen during the 1,000 year period? Much of the debate comes from understanding what this 1,000 year period means in relation to Jesus’ return.

Three Major Views Associated with the Millennium

As we look into the various major views on the millennium, keep in mind the prefix of each word (e.g., “a,” “pre,” “post”). That will help you remember what the view means. “A” means no, “pre” means before, and “post” means after. I’m not covering every view possible, but only a primer on the major ones in alphabetical order.

Major Millennium View #1: Amillennialism

Amillennialism is the belief that there is no millennium in the future, but that the millennium is happening now in and through the church.  The millennium started when Jesus rose from the dead and will end when Jesus comes back. Hence, why this view is sometimes referred to as inaugurated or realized millennialism; because the millennium is happening now in and through the church age. The reference to 1,000 years should not be taken literally in a book of the Bible packed with so much symbolism.

How do amillennialists interpret Rev. 20:2-3? According to the amillennial position, Jesus bound Satan during his earthly ministry. Their reasoning comes from texts like Matthew 12:29: “Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.” And also texts like Luke 10:18: “And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’” (Luke 10:18). During his earthly ministry, and even more through his death and resurrection, Jesus binds Satan and thus Satan is unable to hinder the progress of the gospel. The church cannot cease to exist and the gospel cannot be stopped in part because the enemy is bound.

“They came to life,” John says, “and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4b). He continues, “This is the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:5). This a reference to those whom have died with Christ and are currently reigning in the intermediate state with him. Significantly, when Christ returns, the resurrection of believers and unbelievers, judgment, and the new heavens and new earth happens at once. This is the most seamless of the views and commonly held in the Reformed tradition.

Amillennialism

Strengths of Amillennialism

•The New Testament in many places seems to indicate the resurrection of believers and unbelievers, judgment, and the new heavens and new earth happening in conjunction upon Christ’s return (1 Cor. 15:22-281 Cor. 15:50-57Romans 8:18-232 Peter 3:8-13Matthew 25:31-462 Thessalonians 1:5-10John 5:28-29).

•The reference to “thrones” in Revelation 20:4-5 is a clear reference to heaven (Daniel 7:922). The mention of “thrones” in the book of Revelation is always associated with heaven, thus revealing the vision that John saw happened in heaven, not on earth.

•Scripture elsewhere teaches one resurrection, not two (John 5:28-29Acts 24:15Dan. 12:2). In order to believe in premillennialism, you must believe there are two separate resurrections.

•The premillennialist often refers to texts like Isa. 65:13 and Isa. 66:22 to depict a time in history that does not refer to the present life, nor the new heavens and new earth, thus making the possibility of a future millennium reign. These Isaiah texts, curiously, are not mentioned in Revelation 20:1-16 but are mentioned in Rev. 21 and Rev. 22 when John is speaking of the new heavens and new earth.

Revelation 19:21 says, “And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” This depicts all non-Christians being executed in the last battle between Christ and his enemies. If all of Christ’s enemies are destroyed by the end of chapter 19, then it is impossible for unbelievers to be in the millennium as portrayed in Rev. 20:1-6.

Challenges of Amillennialism

•The Greek word anastasis for “resurrection” (Rev. 20:5) in the Bible always refers to physical resurrection when used elsewhere. To argue that the word here is in reference to the resurrection of believers is to contradict how the word is used in all other places in Scripture.

•The binding of Satan logic seems like a stretch. Not to mention that there are specific texts that do not picture Satan as bound, but as “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:4). Even more, Rev. 20:2-3 does not merely depict Satan as bound, but as one whom is thrown into a pit, shut, and sealed (Rev. 20:2-3).

Adherents you may know: Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Louis Berkhof, Sam Storms, Kevin DeYoung, and Tom Schreiner.

Resources on Amillennialism

1. Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative by Sam Storms
2. A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times by Kim Riddlebarger
3. The Bible and the Future by Anthony A. Hoekema (specifically chapter 17)
4. 7 Reasons Tom Schreiner (Tentatively) Holds to Amillennialism by Justin Taylor
5. Making Sense of the Millennium Part 1 and Part 2 by Kevin DeYoung

Major Millennium View #2: Postmillennialism

Postmillennial is the view that Christ returns after the millennium. The millennium is a time that refers to a golden age in which God will use the church powerfully to spread the gospel during a time of peace, righteousness, and great joy. The gospel will progress in unprecedented success and transform all cultures and societies. During the millennium, Christ is in heaven (not on earth, as the premillennialist will argue) and is working by his Spirit through his church for the success of gospel advancement.

After the millennium – and only for a brief time – Satan will be released, and will attack the church one last time. But then Jesus will return personally, bodily, and gloriously to defeat his enemies. He then will conduct the final judgment and usher in the new heavens and earth. This view posits an extremely optimistic picture of the future.

Postmillennialism

Strengths of Postmillennialism

•The postmillennial view pictures a high view of creation and culture. Adherents to this view often lead the way in cultural engagement and societal restoration.

•Having a robust view of the great commission, some of the parables in the Gospels, the creational mandate (Gen. 1:28Gen. 2:15), and texts like Isaiah 9:7 may naturally lead us to believe in worldwide advancement and cultural impact for Christ. Adherents to this view often lead the way in evangelism and apologetics.

•Just look at the world now. Christianity is exploding in places like South America, Africa, and Asia. This is just further proof that a Christian golden age will happen in the future.

Challenges of Postmillennialism

•The nature of the kingdom of God, the essence of the great commission, and the creational mandate does not automatically and inevitably lead us to believe that there will be a Christian golden age in the future.

•The world is clearly getting worse.

•Dismisses the imminent return of Christ (i.e., that Christ could return at any moment).

Adherents you may know: Many of the Puritans, Jonathan Edwards, and Doug Wilson.

Resources on Postmillennialism

1. Heaven Misplaced: Christ’s Kingdom on Earth by Doug Wilson
2. Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope by Keith Mathison
3. The Puritan Hope by Iaian Murray

Major Millennium View #3: Premillennialism

The premillennialist view is broken up into at least two different categories: historic premillennialism and dispensational premillennialism. I’ll describe both, and mention some strengths and challenges of the historic premillennialism view, but I won’t mention the strengths and challenges of the dispensational premillennialism view as it is quite complex and requires a full-length post to unpack. We will mainly focus on the historic premillennialism view here.

Historic Premillennialism

Historic premillennialism is the view that Christ will return before the millennium. The reason why it’s called “historic premillennialism” is that, historically, this was the allegedly commonly-held view by many of the church fathers like Iraenus, Pappias, and Justin Martyr. Most premillennialists see the one thousand years as literal, but some do not.

According to this view, there will be a time of great suffering and persecution on earth, often referred to as the “tribulation.” Christ will come after the tribulation to usher in the millennium. The millennium is a time when Christ will reign on earth for one thousand years (either literally or symbolically) with glorified believers in a time of peace and righteousness and great joy. During the millennium, Satan will be bound and not have any influence, after which he will be tossed into the lake of fire. Christ will usher in the final judgment and new heavens and new earth after the millennium.

Historic Premillennialism

Historic Premillennialism Strengths

•This view provides the most straightforward reading of the text. It gives the clearest exegesis of Revelation 20:1-6.

•The reference of “coming down” in Revelation 20:1 is a clear reference to activity on Earth.

•There are several Old Testament passages that don’t seem to fit either the present church age nor the eternal age (Isaiah 65:20Isaiah 11:6-9Isaiah 11:10-11Psalm 72: 8-14Zech. 14:5-17). Not to mention, 1 Cor. 15:20-28 strongly suggests a millennium age. This Bible is messy, and therefore we must make room for these texts and not ignore them, nor assume that they are all symbolic.

Historic Premillennialism Challenges

•It seems unwise to build an entire doctrine from only six verses that explicitly mention a millennium.

•If you’re a premillennialist, you must believe that, when Christ returns to usher in the millennium, the following will still exist: death, people who can come to saving faith in Christ, the subjugation of creation to the fall, and the delay of the new heavens and earth (along with the sentencing of eternal condemnation for all unbelievers) until after the millennium is over (adapted from Sam Storm’s Kingdom Come (p. 135-137).

Adherents you may know: Wayne Grudem, D. A. Carson, John Piper, and Al Mohler.

Resources on Historic Premillennialism

1. A Case for Historic Premillennialism: An Alternative to “Left Behind” Eschatology edited by Craig Bloomberg and Sung Wook Chung
2. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem (specifically chapter 55)
3. The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of the Second Advent and the Rapture by George Eldon Ladd

Dispensational Premillennialism

A key distinction of dispensational theology is a regular literalism in interpreting the Bible and, probably more significantly, a distinction between Israel and the church. This view is sometimes referred to as pretribulation premillennialism, i.e., that Christ will return before the millennium and before the great tribulation. This view is curiously quite popular, although it only started gaining popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries.

In Systematic Theology, Grudem writes: “This position is similar to the classic premillennial position mentioned above, but with one important difference: it will add another return of Christ before his return to reign on earth in the millennium.” A key text for this position is 1 Thess. 4:16-17. This second return of Christ is thought to be a secret return, where he will rapture his people out of the world. After Christ returns to heaven with those whom he raptured, there will be a great tribulation for seven years. At the end of the tribulation, Christ will return to reign on earth for one thousand years which, of course, should be taken literally.

Adherents you may know: John MacArthur.

General Resources on The Millennium

This is a great quick place to start if you want to learn more about the millennium. Schreiner does a great job of breaking down each view. Schreiner is an amillennialist.

Likewise, Sproul does a great job of explaining each view on the millennium in the video below. It’s a bit longer than the video Schreiner is in above, but it is still a great place to start. Interestingly, Sproul does not take a side but just explains each view.

Here is a conversation with Jim Hamilton (historic premil), Sam Storms (amil) and Doug Wilson (postmil). John Piper is the moderator (who himself is a historic premillennialist but does not engage much in the debate). This conversation is a little combative, but it’s educational nevertheless.

Another helpful resource is The Millenial Maze: A Panel on the Millenium by Andy Naselli. There you’ll find yet another discussion on the doctrine of the millennium, along with a host of resources at the bottom of the post for further study.

Next Steps

What should you do next if you’d like to learn more?

I suggest two things:

1. Read and re-read Revelation 20:1-6. Read it over and over again. Read the footnotes in multiple study Bibles. As you notice cross-reference texts in your study Bible, read those texts too. Cry out to the Lord for insight as you read.

2. Select one (or multiple) of the resources in this post and read or watch it.

I want to make a plea that we have conversations about the millennium in a civil and charitable manner. Although it’s good to have strong biblical convictions, it’s uncalled for to be dismissive and antagonistic towards those with whom you disagree. This is a secondary issue. There’s a possibility you could be wrong. While evangelicals will not all come to the same conclusion on the doctrine of the millennium, there is one thing we can all agree upon, and that is this: Christ is coming back!

A note on the charts used above: Taken from Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem Copyright © 1995 by Wayne Grudem. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com


Notes:  ¹ In writing this post, I was helped by chapter 55 of Wayne Grudem’s book Systematic Theology, the ESV Study Bible, and the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. When it comes to the strengths and challenges provided, some of them are things upon which we should all agree, but some of the points are admittedly my own personal opinion. 

Jesus’s Return

Image result for John 14:3

In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and I will take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. John 14:2-3 (AMP)

Since the recent shooting, earthquakes and other tragic events both in America and around the world social media is abuzz with catchy sayings and emogis calling for folks to repent because Christ is certainly coming back soon. In other words His return is imminent.  

While I have no issue with the call to repentance for all non-believers,¹ I do take issue with the fact that these posts are praying upon peoples emotions. They are in a sense saying the world is going to end soon, repent and be saved from eternal punishment what have you to loose’. 

That is so unbiblical on many grounds. 

    1. They have much to loose, their eternal salvation depends not on some quick and unjustified decision a get out of hell pass, but the saving Grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:5-10) for His purpose and Glory.
    2. No one, not even Jesus himself knew the time and date that his return would be (Matthew 24:36)
    3. Jesus said it was not for us to know the time (Acts 1:6-7)
    4. We are not to cause worry and anxiety (Matthew 6:34)

 

So what are we to do? 

    1. The bible tells us clearly to take heed, watch and pray (Mark 13:33-37)
    2. Be Faithful Stewards of all that has been given to us. (Matthew 24:45–51; Matthew 25:5; Matthew 25:19)
    3. Carry Out the Great Commission (Matthew 24:14; Matthew 28:18–20)
    4. Find comfort in the verses above knowing our Lord and Savior will one day, in the Fathers timing return and we saints will all join Him in Glory.

 

Keep Watch

Image result for MATT. 25:13

Image Source

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. – Matt 25:13 (KJV) 

Do you remember playing Hide and Go Seek as a kid? If you were the seeker at the end of counting to 100 you’d yell out “ready or not here I come.” If I had to pick an analogy for this verse (and the preceding parable (vs. 1-12) that easily comes to mind. 

Let’s look at the parable briefly; we have ten marriages happening all at night. Of the ten, half are smart prepared in advance for the nights activities the other half get so caught up in the hoopla of the event that they are ill prepared for the actual event itself when it comes (pretty hard to have a wedding in the dark). 

Let us leap forward and make a practical application to the church today. The oil in the lamps represents the Spiritual food or daily bread we need to sustain us and prepare us for Christ’s second coming. Many, actually far to many, can be likened unto the foolish brides to be. Oh the are pretty (brides) “Christians” they go to church, they tithe, and do the “right” things. What they do not do is what the God commands that is to study scripture, to be prepared. (Joshua 1:8, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.) They were content in whatever their preacher said on Sunday and are convinced that is all they need, they are not Bereans (Acts 17:11). 

Unlike Harold Camping, Jack Van Impe and other false teachers the bible makes it clear no one knows neither are they to guess at the day of Christ’s return. What we are to do, as the Amplified Version puts it is to be on the alert [be prepared and ready]” keeping watch for that glorious day.