A Rightly Divided Eschatology

By Justin Johnson

Postmillennialists look at prophecy and say things will get better and better in the world. Premillennialists look at prophecy and say things will get worse and worse in the world.

One sees prophecy being fulfilled by bringing in the kingdom. We are responsible to change the world.

The other sees prophecy being fulfilled in times of trouble, and we should guard ourselves from the world.

Both are looking in the wrong place to see what God is doing in the world.

Prophecy does not describe this mystery dispensation. The events of prophecy do not describe the end of this dispensation, but the end of Israel’s.

One sees the prophetic cup and says it is half full.
The other sees the prophetic cup and says it is half empty.

According to Pauline right division we are not drinking from that prophetic cup. We are looking up where our life is hid with Christ according to the mystery (Col 3:1-3).

How We View the Future

While students of prophecy argue back and forth about which current event was God sent, we understand that God is not fulfilling prophecy in our present circumstances.

What will happen in Israel’s prophetic program in the future has no affect on our present ministry, circumstances, or salvation.

The greatest eschatological division is not where you put yourself in the millennium, or when you think the rapture will happen.

The greatest division to make about the end times is between Prophecy and Mystery.

When prophecy speaks of the kingdom come, we know according to the mystery of Christ that it is not our duty to bring in God’s kingdom to the earth.

When prophecy speaks of the trouble to come before the end, we know according to the mystery of Christ that we have no divine instruction to run to the hills.

Our view of the future is not driven by prophecy, but by the instructions of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery (Rom 16:25, Col 1:25-27).

Our hope does not come from the current events of postmillennialism, nor do we need prophetic disasters to give us warning.

We have families to feed, souls to save, and jobs to perform. We respond to the future with the Bible rightly divided, faithfully doing these tasks as long as God’s grace will last.

“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;” – 1 Thess 4:11

Determining our Eschatology

Often people start with an eschatological (end times) position and then build their doctrines of the church, salvation, and ministry from there. This is exactly backwards.

It should be our doctrine of the church, salvation, and ministry that determines our view of the end times.

When we rightly divide Prophecy from Mystery there is only one relationship to prophecy we can take: prophecy does not describe the present time in which we live, whether it be for the better or the worse.

The millennium, tribulation, restoration of Israel are all parts of God’s prophetic purpose for his chosen nation and not the church. They describe the end times spoken about in prophecy.

The pretribulational premillennial non-prophetic imminent return of Christ is seen as a weak position. It is only weak from the position that does not recognize the difference between Prophecy and Mystery.

A failure to rightly divide Prophecy from Mystery will end up with a failed eschatology.

Not in the End Times

We are not living in the times of prophecy, but in a mystery dispensation. Therefore, we are not living in the end times.

We will not go through the millennium; we are not looking for Israel’s tribulation; nor are we looking for Israel’s restoration.

Instead we operate according to the mystery of Christ, doing our ministry as ambassadors and waiting for the mystery coming of the Lord to remove the church so that he can fulfill his prophecy and promises with Israel.

These are not the prophetic last days for us. Every day is a new day of opportunity to be God’s grace ambassadors in a world that has rejected him. For the sake of ministering the gospel, we should hope there are a million more days.

Our hope is in his appearing sometime in the future, unknown to us (Titus 2:13). Til then, we have work to do.

Top of the Page
Article Index
Published: February 16, 2013
Last Modified: January 20, 2018
Receive articles like this in our weekly email update sent free to subscribers.