Friday, September 5, 2014

On Populating the Millennium

Regardless of when the rapture occurs in relationship to the 70th week, people must be saved post-rapture and thus without the benefit of the church's "great commission." It also occurs in an environment under the wrath of God. The closer the rapture event to the beginning of the millennium, the more problematic and redundant the Sheep-Goats Judgment event becomes.

Gavin Finley (End-Time Pilgrim) claims a solution to the problem:

They (pretribulationists) do not discuss the Millennial entry issue in any detail at all. Curiously the subject is kept rather vague. They certainly do not discuss the entry of mortals into Millennium in terms of the Sheep-Goat Judgment. Post-Tribbers are beginning to look into this. And why are they interested? It is because they, (unlike the Pre-Tribbers), have a personal interest in the blood covenant issues inside the 70th Week of Daniel. Post-Tribbers know that they will be going up on stage to bring in the final witness during the final seven years of this age. (Emphases mine)

One popular posttrib response has been to simply refer to Zechariah 14 to show that people make it into the millennium. But Finley raises the issue because it has been a problem, not because there's some biblical "blood-covenant" that needs to be addressed. That's a whole other issue.

His solution involves coming up with a third category of people who aren't saved, yet merit a pass at the Sheep-Goats Judgment. We should note that Revelation speaks of only two kinds of people - the saints and the earth dwellers (Rev 13:7-8).

In Finley's scenario, the Sheep and Goats are unsaved. The Sheep avoid the Mark of the Beast and escape the "Wicked Tares Judgment." Conveniently, they resist the everlasting gospel (Rev 14:6-7) which is preached to all to those who dwell on the earth (every nation, tribe, tongue, and people). Hence they also evade the rapture in order to progress to the Sheep-Goats Judgment.

The Sheep merit a last-minute reprieve because of a works/heart based judgment (Matt 25:34-40). They are not judged "for entry into heaven or eternity." They are attributed this "blood-covenant" righteousness as a passport into the millennium. He claims that Matthew 25 clearly shows that "a human person to human person blood covenant loving-kindness is the central issue."

He writes:

As we [posttribulationists] see it, the Sheep-Goat Judgment appears to be based on matters of heart attitude and character. These heart issues may in turn evidence themselves in works to be sure. But the heart issue revolves around blood covenant commitment to someone in trouble who happens to belong to Messiah. This is the lovingkindness (sic) Messiah is looking for and finds in the sheep. The Sheep-Goat Judgment is not a judgment of works as we have been told. (Emphases mine)

Finley works hard to avoid a faith-by-works salvation, or a different dispensation application to the Sheep-Goats Judgment. He simply needs a vehicle for the unsaved to access the millennium.

The Goats (a fourth category) also escape the Tares Judgment because they haven't taken the Mark of the Beast. However, this category does not make it into the millennium because of its lack of "heart attitude and character" towards the persecuted (Matt 25:41-46). How they could posses the character to resist the Beast yet not possess the heart/attitude to be Sheep is not explained.

The scheme fails to explain the conditions outlined in Hosea 5:15; Matt 23:39 and Matt 24:22. How do any saved individuals (including Israel) enter the millennium in their physical bodies? It also ignores what Revelation consistently says of the Earth Dwellers. See Thomas Ice's article HERE and Tony Garland's article HERE.

Only the righteous inherit the kingdom. Finley has created a quasi-righteous millennial passport in order to solve his posttribulational dilemma. Pretribulationists might respond that if these Sheep were not "saved" then they rejected the gospel (2 Thess 2:8-12; Rev 13:7-8; Rev 14:6-7).

Interestingly, posttribulationist Robert Gundry avoids these convoluted explanations and simply relocates the Sheep-Goats Judgment to the end of the millennium. Ron Rhodes responds to him HERE

This Blood Covenant theory appears to owe some debt to Word of Faith pioneer E. W. Kenyon. Whatever the case, Finley holds the view that the church must do its part by participating in the events of the tribulation. Sadly, he ignores the purposes for the tribulation, and poisons the well by asking leading questions:

Is the Bride of Christ passive and out of the loop, as we see in the pre-tribulation rapture scenario? 

But how about this pre-tribulation Rapture of an unsuspecting uninvolved 'bride' leaving early without Israel? 

Is the Church to be unaware and passive in the Rapture, as our present day Bible prophecy teachings have suggested? Will God’s faithful witnesses be engaged in cheap, Hollywood style melodrama? Is the end time merely a boring, ho-hum story of survivalist Christians scurrying around like rats after being 'Left Behind' (sic).

Do we just work and play, watch the ballgame and the soaps on TV, talk with our stockbroker, attend church, and wait around for the rapture? Is the bride of Christ, passive in the covenant?

Gavin Finley has turned the rapture debate into an emotional one where the non-pretribulationalist adopts the higher moral ground. Given the website's popularity, it's no wonder many parrot this sort of bias.


I came across an attack on pretribulationism from a prewrath proponent who claimed pretribbers overstate the millennium population problem. He writes:

They are essentially two groups:

1. Those who have been “Jesus’ own” (i.e. were saved) prior to His second coming. This group includes all Old Testament saints as well. This is the group who will “reign” with Jesus during the Millennium.

2. Israel and the remnants of other nations who did not literally participate in the war against Jesus in the last days (and also did not receive the “mark of the beast”). This is the group who will be “reigned” over by Jesus and the saints.

It is a (sic) simple as that. This view is supported by the following passage from Zechariah...

Sound familiar?

But, no, for the reasons stated above it's not that simple at all. This individual also seems to limit the Antichrist's reign. It doesn't help him. In another attack on pretribulationists he ironically quotes Matt 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ 

However one might want to interpret the parable of the Ten Virgins, it is quite clear that only the righteous will inherit the kingdom (Matt 25:1-13). There is no sitting on the fence in the 70th week waiting for the last minute so that non-glorified people can populate the millennium. If they haven't become saved by the time of the prewrath rapture (whenever that might be) they are likely to have taken the Mark of the Beast.

It's that simple.

Eric Douma on the 70th week (Part One)

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