Adversity is defined as a state, condition, or instance of serious or continued difficulty.

People respond to adversity in many ways – from apathy to panic and everything in between.

According to Paul the apostle, one of the goals of adversity is so that it can push us to rely on God.

Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9)

This is what John Piper said…

Adversity by its very nature is the removal of things on which our comfort and hope have rested and so it will either result in anger toward God or greater reliance on Him alone for our peace.

And his purpose for us in adversity is not that we get angry or discouraged, but that our hope shift off earthly things onto God.

God’s main purpose in all adversity is to make us stop trusting in ourselves or any man.

Although all Evangelicals agree on the final results of Christ’s return, there is disagreement over three important details concerning future events: the nature of the millennium, the sequence of Christ’s return, and the proper way to interpret prophecy.

Revelation 20:1-5

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They 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 a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.

Throughout the history of the church there have been four major views on the time and nature of the millennium.

Amillennialism

1. There is no future millennium yet to come. The expression “thousand years” is simply a figure of speech for a long period of time. Christ’s reign in the millennium is not a bodily reign here on earth but rather the heavenly reign.

The number one thousand is used figuratively in Scripture and in first century Greek.

2. Revelation 20 describes the present church age in which Satan’s influence over the nations has been greatly reduced so that the gospel can be preached.

Those who are referred to in the text as reigning with Christ are Christians who have died and are already reigning with Him in heaven.

 3. The present church age will continue until the time of Christ’s return. There will then be a resurrection of both believers and unbelievers and the final judgment.

This view has a long history. Augustine was one of its major proponents (although some dispute that claim—it is not easy to reconstruct the views of historical figures).

Premillennialism

 It is sometimes called Historic Premillennialism to distinguish it from the third view.

1. The present church age will continue until a time of great tribulation and suffering comes on the earth.

The tribulation in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 does not refer to the fall of Jerusalem but to the end of the world.

2. After the tribulation Christ will return to earth to establish a literal one thousand-year kingdom. Believers will be raised from the dead (with glorified bodies) and will reign with Christ on earth. Many unbelievers will turn to Christ and be saved during this time.

 3. Satan will be bound and have no influence on the earth during the millennium. But after the thousand years, he will be loosed and initiate a battle against Christ. But he will be defeated. There will then be a fi-nal judgment and believers will enter into the eternal state.

This views dates back as far as Justin Martyr in the second century.

Dispensational Premillennialism

Dispensational Premillennialists believe all the ideas of the above view, but add several more. This is the view of the Left Behind series and most of the fanatical people making crazy predic-tions about the end of time.

Please refer to the document Appendix G: Dispensationalism vs. Covenant Theology for more understanding on the differences between this view and Historical Premillennialism.

1. Christ will return before the tribulation and millennium to secretly take believers out of the world.

This is referred to as the Rapture or Secret Rapture.

There are different views here. Some hold to a pre-tribulation Rapture, others to a mid-tribulation Rapture, and still others to a post-tribulation Rapture.

2. There will be a great tribulation on the earth for seven years ruled by the Antichrist. During this time, all the Jews will be saved.

3. After seven years, Christ will return with his saints to reign on the earth for one thousand years.

4. Satan will be bound and have no influence on the earth during the millennium. But after the thousand years, he will be loosed and initiate a battle against Christ. But he will be defeated. There will then be a fi-nal judgment and believers will enter into the eternal state.

Postmillennialism

“Postmillennialism holds that the Kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the Gospel and the saving work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of individuals, that the world eventually is to be Christianized, and that the return of Christ is to occur at the close of a long period of righteousness and peace.” (Lorraine Boettner, The Millennium, p. 14

 1. We are in the millennium now—the period in between the first and second coming of Christ.

Although some postmillennialists believe that the millennium is a future period of create gospel expansion into all of life and culture.

2. The progress of the gospel will gradually increase and encompass a larger proportion of the world’s popu-lation. There will be significant Christian influences on society, society will more and more function ac-cording to God’s standards.

“The thing that distinguishes the biblical postmillennialist, then, from Amillennialism and Premillennialism is his belief that Scripture teaches the success of the great commission in this age of the church.

3. Christ will return after the millennium. Then the dead will be raised, the final judgment will occur, and there will be a new heaven and new earth.

4. Postmillennialism is optimistic about the power of the gospel to change lives.

The fundamental question is: what has more power, sin or the resurrection?

5. There are several misconceptions of Postmillennialism.

  • Postmillennialism has been mistakenly linked with belief in the inherent goodness of man.

This has occurred despite the fact that the vast majority of postmillennialists of today (and per-haps even in the past) are Calvinists. The result is that postmillennialism has been perceived as teaching that the kingdom of God would be ushered in by human effort alone, independently of the Holy Spirit. Even a scholar as astute as Kenneth Kantzer has recently fallen prey to this er-ror. In his concluding observations to the debate in the Christianity Today Institute, he writes: “The greatest weakness of postmillennialism is its failure to take seriously the biblical pessimism regarding man’s efforts apart from God.”

Postmillennialists affirm “the biblical optimism regarding man’s efforts through God.”

  •  Postmillennialism has been mistakenly identified with theological liberalism and the “social gospel.”

Thus the kingdom it espoused came to be perceived as some sort of secular utopia that re-placed the return of Jesus as the true hope of the church.

Hope for this earth that is inspired by belief in the power of the Holy Spirit fulfilling the redemp-tive purposes of God through His church must never be confused with a hope inspired by belief in the power of human legislation, education and moral reform. Not all Christians, though, have been able to distinguish between the two.

“In their zeal to stand against the liberal tide, large numbers of Christians threw the baby out with the bath. In disdain for the evolutionary social gospel, sincere believers were led to reject Christian social concern for an exclusively internal or other-worldly religion, and to substitute for the earlier belief in a progressive triumph of Christ’s kingdom in the world, a new, pessimis-tic catastrophism with respect to the course of history.” (Greg Bahnsen)

 

———-

NOTE: Content taken from Paul Barker’s Eschatology Primer

What do you do when storms hit?

I’m not just talking about the storms we experience in Manila around July, August and September.

People react in many different ways.

Some try their best to stop the storm from happening.
Some just go through life as if nothing happened.
Others wade through life in their own coffin hoping to skirt death.
A few just hit the panic button and whatever response they get, they live with.
There are those who just jump it and make the most of the situation.
While others are caught stuck, problematic and unprepared as the flood waters arise.

I’ve realized that a lot of life is responding not just reacting.

It’s not what happens to you that’s important; but how you respond to what happens to you.

It is inevitable that things will go wrong – some inadvertent, others self-inflicted.
Jesus even said that “In this world, you WILL have trouble.” (John 16:33) 

But pain is inevitable while misery is optional.

Mark 4:25-31 tells us a story when Jesus and the disciples when through a storm. On their way to the other side of Lake Galilee, they encountered a squall.

Here are lessons we can gather from their experience.

1. STORMS WILL COME.

Though the disciples were experienced fishermen, this squall got them terrified.

Expect it. Know that it will come eventually.

Some come as a test.
Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart… (Deut. 8:2)

Others come as a refiner.
These (trials) have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:7) 

But as Peter said, ultimately it is for the praise, glory and honor of God.

2. STORMS EXPOSE WHAT WE ARE REALLY HOLDING ON TO.

Jesus said, Let us go over to the other side.” (Mark 4:35)

He said “Let us” not only Peter and John.  He said, “Let us” and not only I will get through.

The other thing is that He said, we will “go over to the other side” not “go under”. I know it’s simple semantics but listening to the statement and directives of Christ can mean life and death.

When the storm hits, remember the last thing He told you… AND HOLD ON TO IT!

He later asks where is your faith? Our faith can begin to get anchored on many other foundations – career, friendships, family, ministry, bank account, portfolio, business… you name it.

All other foundations are faulty. Jesus is the only SURE FOUNDATION.

And remember, as we go through life, Jesus didn’t promise us a STORM FREE LIFE but a STORM PROOF LIFE.

3. STORMS ARE ACTUALLY OPPORTUNITIES.

It is an opportunity to see God move!

I remember Joseph Bonifacio tell me the story of his dad. He was still in elementary when he was watching his dad having a conversation over the phone.

After his dad put the phone dad, he was shouting at the top of his voice saying, “Yeah! C’mon God!”

He asks his dad, “What’s up dad? Do you have an answer to your prayer?”

His dad then replies, “No. The business is actually millions of pesos in debt… BUT I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE HOW GOD WILL MOVE AND GET ME OUT OF THIS SITUATION! Whoa!!!! C’mon God!”

Joseph thought his dad lost it. He wondered what he’s been smoking at that time. Haha. But it displayed faith in a God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or imagine.

You and I serve a supernatural God. If He wants to still the storm, in a snap of His fingers, He actually can. But for some reason, He has allowed you to go through it.  He’s trying to accomplish something in your life.

It takes faith to believe God to take us out of the storm. It does take faith as well to go through the storm and trust He is in charge.

My prayer is that we will see God in the middle of the storm.

Remember, it is so natural for Jesus to move in the supernatural.