Until He Comes
A look at the importance of seeing the big picture
Many people are bewildered about what is happening in the world today. Why is abortion so prevalent? Why is there so much murder and mayhem? Why do so many people shun the Bible and believe lies?
The only way to make sense of things is to understand the Word of God. It is the great illuminator. It gives us the big picture. Jesus said, “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one [Satan]” (1 Jn. 5:19). Satan seeks to distort our perspectives and create death and destruction (Jn. 10:10). He influences people to call good evil and evil good.
For example, what many euphemistically call “a woman’s right to choose” resulted in the deaths of more than 42.3 million unborn babies in 2019, according to Lifenews.com, which designated abortion as the leading cause of death worldwide last year. The Bible, by contrast, emphasizes the sacredness of life in the womb. King David wrote,
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them (Ps. 139:14–16).
A Better Perspective
If we can see the big picture, we can understand our world better and live for Christ until He comes. The same holds true with theology. Trying to make sense of the Middle East conflict by following politics does not work because the conflict is not primarily political. It is religious, rooted in God’s prophecy of conflict between Ishmael and Isaac:
And the Angel of the LORD said to her [Hagar]: “Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren” (Gen. 16:11–12).
Spiritual conflict fueled by the Evil One is why the road to peace is so difficult and the fight over the land of Israel so intense; and it is why the conflict will continue until Jesus steps in to bring a spiritual resolution.
Dispensational Premillennialism furnishes the theological big picture and gives us the clarity and understanding we need for reading the Scriptures and seeing God’s overall plan for the ages. Premillennialism is the belief that Jesus will return to Earth physically, establish His throne in Jerusalem, and reign over the entire earth for 1,000 years.
History and humanity are all about God and His plan to glorify Himself. From creation in Genesis 1 to consummation in Revelation 22, God is proclaiming His glory—both to those who receive it willingly and worship Him, as well as to those who will be judged in their rebellion against Him.
Premillennialism provides a better perspective and understanding of what God is doing by advocating the literal interpretation of God’s Word. It offers a better view of the book of Revelation; and it enables a literal interpretation of Jesus’ judgments of the earth, culminating in His establishing the Millennial Kingdom as indicated in Revelation 20, fulfilling His promise to set up His golden age.
This view also explains how God fulfills the first part of His ancient promises to give the Jewish people the land of their forefathers, ruled by their Davidic Messiah-King. The binding of Satan during this reign (Rev. 20:1–3) and then Satan’s final punishment at the end of the Kingdom (vv. 7–10) explain how God ultimately will deal with that great deceiver.
Premillennialism maintains the centrality of God’s Chosen People Israel in His program for the ages. It understands, as the apostle Paul said, that the covenants and promises belong to Israel (Rom. 9:3–5) and clarifies how God fulfills those covenants and promises.
The Church’s Divine Place
At the same time, Premillennialism explains how the church, comprised largely of Gentiles, fits into God’s program. It shows how God intended all along to call a people to Himself from among the Gentiles.
This fact is important because it clarifies where we, as church saints, stand today in God’s prophetic program. The next prophesied event is the pretribulational Rapture of the church, when Jesus returns to resurrect and snatch His bride from Earth prior to pouring out the great judgments highlighted in Revelation.
The anticipation of Jesus’ imminent appearance exhorts us to live righteously (loving His appearing, 2 Tim. 4:8) and to evangelize consistently (Mt. 28:18–20), knowing the terrible fate that awaits those who reject Him.
Knowing the Lord someday will return visibly and physically gives us a better perspective on every aspect of our earthly lives and intensifies the urgency of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:19–21 and Mark 10:29–31, encouraging us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Mt. 6:33) and to invest our time and resources wisely:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (vv. 19–21).
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first (Mk. 10:29–31).
Premillennialism also gives us a love for the Jewish people. As Gentiles, we are grateful for all that God has done for us “who were not [His] people” (Rom. 9:25–26) through them. Understanding that we, “being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree” (11:17), we appreciate them and long for their deliverance.
Without this big picture, we tend to lose perspective. Without Premillennialism, Christianity becomes myopic and wrong-headed, placing emphases in the wrong places. How wonderful and gracious God is to give us the big picture and to show us He keeps His promises.