End Times Interpretations
By Chris Schang
In the world of Bible prophecy there are four major types of end times interpretations. We will attempt to outline the various types of end times interpretations and show why the futurist, pre-millennial, and dispensationalist view of prophecy is the best interpretation in use today.
Futurist View – This view holds that end times prophecy is all in the future. Concerning the Book of Revelation the futurist believes that only Chapters 1-3 are directed to the apostle John’s contemporaries. The prevalent view is that the events described in the end times are to be fulfilled in the future. The futurist’s view is that while the rapture of the church is imminent, the end times events will play out in the future especially during the future tribulation period which would be the 70th week of Daniel. some end times events will take place before the tribulation period such as the re-birth of the state of Israel, but that the vast majority of the book of Revelation will be played out during the tribulation period.
Historicist View – This view holds that end times events have occurred in the past and that there are no end times events, especially from the book of Revelation to be fulfilled in the future. The historicist’s views is that the apostle John was foretelling the future until the end of time which many historicists believe was fulfilled around 70 AD. The historicist’s view is that Revelation primarily speaks of the battle between good and evil during the history of mankind. The historicist’s view is inconsistent with the fact that Bible prophecy is currently being fulfilled literally in our time. The historicist view has to spiritualize away the end times and other events in order to deny the literal nature of Bible prophecy. Some historicists see Nero as the Antichrist and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple as being the end of Revelation. This view is simply not an accurate interpretation of the biblical scriptures. This view believes that the Second Coming is basically the reborn nature of a saved person, as opposed to a literal Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to Earth. This is perhaps the hardest view to defend.
Preterist View – The Preterist view is the position that all end times Bible prophecy was fulfilled in the first century. Preterists believe that John was writing a timeless description of the rise and fall of evil in the world. the Preterist view does not take into account the current and literal fulfillments of Bible prophecy such as the re-birth of the modern state of Israel. Preterists do not believe that there are long term fulfillments of Bible prophecy and they spiritualize or consider things to be allegory when compared to other views. This view is not consistent with the scriptures and completely ignores the fulfillment of modern day prophecies starting with the re-birth of Israel.
Symbolic View – This view is as the name implies sees all Bible prophecy as being symbolic and not having anything to do with a literal fulfillment of the scriptures. Despite the fact that numerous First Coming prophecies where fulfilled literally, the symbolic viewer ignores these facts and simply tries to explain the various descriptions of the end times in ways that support their view. For example, the dragon in Revelation might be referred to as evil in general, whereas the futurist would argue that the Dragon is a description of Satan since he did try to kill the “man child” Jesus when he was born. The symbolic view does not follow the proper rules of interpretation by using the Bible to interpret the Bible as the scriptures say to do. The symbolic viewer is free to conclude that the various symbols and signs in Revelation are whatever they may want them to be, despite the fact that the symbols in Revelation are often explained in the book of Revelation and elsewhere in the Bible. The symbolic view of end times interpretation is faulty for these reasons.
It is this writer’s view that the proper biblical interpretation of the Bible is to follow the futurist, pre-trib, pre-millennial, and dispensational view that holds that end times Bible prophecy is yet in the future and will be literally fulfilled as many of the First Coming prophecies were fulfilled. There is simply no logical reason to suggest that God would change his ways on fulfilling prophecy without saying so. This is supported by the fact that numerous end times Bible prophecy are currently being literally fulfilled as predicted by the Bible.