A Brief History of End Times Views: How our Times Shape our Eschatology
At Substance, we’ve been talking about the end of the world in our series Be Right Back: Tough Questions about the Second Coming of Christ. And if you haven’t seen the BRB resource page at PeterHaas.org, be sure to check it out. Every week I will be posting new resources to help you study the End Times further. And my goal isn’t to get you to embrace my personal view of the End Times. Rather, I simply want to make this topic easier to navigate. And ultimately, I want you to fall in love with Jesus and His word.
So, with that in mind, in my video teachings [linked here] I’ve been trying to give you a basic overview of the four main positions that scholars have taken on the end times
throughout history. But in case you missed it, the four main positions are: Historic Pre-millennialism, Amillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Dispensational Premillennialism. [Click on the footnotes to see a brief synopsis!]
Over the years, I’d often teach these models in a bullet pointed fashion: (Eg., Top 5 beliefs; Top 5 five scriptures). Yet, it’s not the tenets that make each of them memorable; rather, it’s the historical events that pressured Christians into reading the apocalyptic books differently.
In some ways, all theology is a reaction towards pain or pleasure. For example, if we were abused by an alcoholic parent, we might take a special interest in those Bible passages which restrict alcohol. But, others were abused with legalism – if they even walked past a bar, they thought they had sinned. Thus, they might find passages that support a moderation type position. But this is relevant to our study of the End Times because, we all have biases that we bring to the text.
Perhaps you grew up feeling traumatized by the Left Behind novels?
Or perhaps you grew up in a Postmillennial church that never taught on the End Times, so you feel irritated, perhaps even betrayed by how little they equipped you? Or perhaps, you belong to a denomination that has already made up this decision for you. Thus, the very act of researching this makes you feel politically insecure?
But wherever you fit on the spectrum, I have found that, one of the best ways to become aware of our own biases is by studying the 4 major end times views in the context of church history. In other words, what were the watershed moments in history that caused scholars to rethink their interpretations of the End Times Bible passages? How have denominational politics or worldly pressures caused people to move one way or another? Quite simply: the more we study church history – the filters and biases of past leaders – the more we become aware of our own. So, let’s begin.
The oldest approach to the end times is historic premillennialism. Throughout history, this position was also called “Chiliasm.” When you study the Early Church Fathers (like Justin Martyr or Irenaeus) they definitely believed in a literal, future, 1000 year reign of Christ from Jerusalem. This utopian rule will come upon the earth in a cataclysmic way after a world-wide seven-year tribulation. The early church generally believed that they would go through the tribulation as opposed to being raptured before or during it.
Many of them believed that the Millennium would be like returning to the Garden of Eden. No more labor-some work. No more hunger or persecution. Indeed, Christ himself would right all of the wrongs of earth. Historic premillennialism imagined the millennium as an era of delightful excess – some might even say, a Jewish infused materialism.
Most Christians in the early church were urban. They had terrible living conditions. They were constantly persecuted. In Roman society, women had zero opportunities outside of their own tiny houses. So, it’s not a surprise that they gravitated towards a luxurious millennium. The historic premillennialist idea of the millennium was everything they didn’t have. Thus, the idea of a cataclysmic return of their King seemed romantic justice.
Many historic premillennialists believed that the earth was about to turn 6000 years old – i.e., God was orchestrating six millenniums to mirror the 6 days of creation. Then the millennium of Christ would be that of a sabbath millennium – a time of rest before God recreated a new heaven and a new earth. Hence the millennium was a time of transition – a time when Christians would learn about God’s grand vision for a new universe.
But by the mid-400’s, the reign of Premillennialism was starting to experience a new challenger: Amillennialism. The three big catalysts behind it were: (1). Demographic shift in the church towards Gentiles; (2).Money and Favor from the government; & (3). The Return of Christ didn’t feel super imminent anymore. And all of these things were accelerated with the Conversion of Constantine (in 312 A.D.) and ultimately, resulted in the first major shift in end times thinking.
The Three Catalysts Behind Amillennialism: Gentiles, a Lack of Persecution, and “Slow Return” of Christ
In the early church, the demographics were primarily Hebraic Jews. But in Acts 6 we begin to see the expansion of the church creating ethnic tension as we see an increase in Hellenistic Jews (Greek speaking). As the Apostle Paul moved about the Mediterranean, he primarily went to Greek speaking synagogues. I.e., The Gospel was spreading amidst a “transitional” cultural group. They were Jewish; yet, they were also Greek. They weren’t accepted or treasured by Jerusalem; But, neither were they accepted by Rome. And that’s when the unthinkable happened: The conquering Roman emperor became a Christian.
Up until that point, Christians were persecuted in horrific ways. Emperors like Diocletian saw Christianity as a disuniting force throughout the Mediterranean. Yet the churches’ fortunes completely reversed in a small window of time. The conversion of Constantine not only stopped the policy of persecution; but, by the Edict of Milan, Christianity became the official religion. And as a result, unprecedented amounts of money and property started pouring into the church. Indeed, Constantine made it his goal to do the exact opposite of Diocletian. He wanted to unite the empire through Christianity. Thus, from that point forward, the baton hadn’t merely passed from Hebraic Jews to Hellenistic Jews. But, the pendulum was swinging all the way over to full-on Gentile Christianity.
As Gentile Christians in the West started hearing the teachings of Historic Premillennialism, these teachings almost felt “overly Jewish.” After all, it talks about a literal reign of Christ from Jerusalem. But, for most Christians, Rome was, bay far, the cultural center. The church was being flooded with money… flooded with Gentile converts. The Roman empire was evolving into the Holy Roman empire. So, why is Jerusalem – a city that lies in ruins – so important to God? Thus, there was a cultural disconnect that was starting to form.
One could also imagine that the Book of Revelation suddenly felt less relevant after the conversion of Constantine. After all, it’s a book about the world getting worse… about surviving persecution; yet, it felt like the world was moving in the exact opposite direction. The church had never been better.
At that time, historic premillennialists were becoming more eccentric in their predictions. For example, the Montanists started taking historic premillennialism into places that made other Christians feel uncomfortable. Montanism is often described as a form of hyper-charismatic Christianity that was obsessed with the soon coming return of Christ. It tended to be dominated by female leaders which was quite progressive at the time. And they would continually set dates for the return of Christ – which inevitably undermined their influence with each failed prediction. Some historic premillennialists even believed that the Emperor Nero was going to return from the dead to be the Anti-Christ.
Thus, with each failed advent prediction and strange prophetic interpretation, the Gentile-infused church started asking: “Is Jerusalem really the future?” “Is the world really getting worse and worse?” and lastly, “Is Christ really coming soon?” After all, the opening line of Revelation says, “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place” (Rev. 1:1). “Soon?” They would ask? “Are we sure that we’re interpreting this book correctly? Is premillennialism our only option?”
Around 390 A.D., a scholar named Tyconius started creating the framework for a new approach to Revelation — an eschatological position that is now called Amillennialism. But, this new symbolic approach didn’t really gain traction until Tyconius’ student, Saint Augustine fanned the flame. And before long, Amillennialism became the standard eschatological view of the Catholic church – all the way up until the 1700’s.
Don’t misunderstand me, there were always sects who kept the torch of Premillennialism lit. But in the middle ages, it was definitely rare. The pendulum swing to amillennialism was so thorough that, by the Middle Ages, Premillennialism was often seen as heresy – only to be embraced by fringe groups.
But there was another eschatological mega-shift coming that was similar in size to the conversion of Constantine: Specifically, the dawn of science (often called the Enlightenment). And it would soon set the stage for another interpretive mega-shift: Postmillennialism.
The Rise of Postmillennialism
Throughout the so-called “Dark Ages,” monks were diligently innovating. Monastic technologies like water-mills started revolutionizing cities…which gave birth to wool clothing. Monks were inventing plant breeding and agricultural inventions too. Some Christian scholars even argue that Free-market capitalism & property rights were distinctly “Christian ideas” concocted by the church as outreach methods for improving society. And eventually, the Christian scholastic movement gave birth to a truly novel invention: the university. Churches became an incubator for scholarship. Indeed, chemistry and astronomy were forms of worship. It was the church that gave birth to Oxford and Cambridge. Christians were the first to practice human-dissection with the hope of expanding the study of anatomy.
Historian Rodney Stark argues that, it was Christian cosmology that actually gave birth to the scientific method. And thus, after making a list of the 52 most important scientific thinkers of the 16th & 17th centuries, Stark noted that over 62% of them were devout church leaders. Indeed, many of us were taught that the church put Galileo to death (due to his unflinching love of scientific truth). And we were told: “The church resisted Columbus from sailing around the world” as he might prove the church wrong. But most of these “Science vs. the Church” myths were simply attempts at revisionist history – led by anti-Christian literary men like Voltaire, Rousseau, and Gibbon who wanted to claim the Enlightenment as their own.  (Ironically, Roman Catholic prelates believed in a sun-centered universe long before Galileo, Columbus or Copernicus).
However, the reason it’s important to dispel these myths about the “church being against science” is because, most Christians in the 1700’s believed the church was the driver of science. People believed that the church, the Christian West was playing a leading role in the world’s self-improvement process – from India to Africa. Thus, if modern students of history fail to acknowledge these facts, the rise of Post-millennialism will never make sense. As the Apostle Paul put it, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” And that Gospel power isn’t limited to impacting human hearts. But, the power of the Gospel can impact economics, government, science and society itself.
Amidst this church-driven scientific revolution, the church was also driving social change: The Clapham Sect in England is often credited with ending slavery in the West.
These Anglicans, led by William Wilberforce (1759-1833) and Hanna More (1745-1833), wrote the books that took down the slave trade in the British empire. The American colonies were giving birth to many vibrant new denominations – causing American church attendance to jump by over 37% in just 50 years. Islam and Catholicism seemed to be on the decline. And naturally, all of this optimism led many to feel like, “Maybe Amillennialism is also too negative… too focused on tribulations.” And “perhaps, we’re underestimating the message of the book of Acts which is… the unstoppable move of the Holy Spirit.”
Theologians like Daniel Whitby had already sculpted the framework for Post-millennialism (in the early 1700’s). And all it needed was an evangelist like Jonathan Edwards to fan it to flame. And as the Great Awakening spread, George Marsden argued that: “Postmillennialism, [was] by far the prevalent view among American evangelicals between the Revolution and the Civil war.” He continued to say, “According to postmillennialists, the prophecies in the book of Revelation concerning the defeat of the anti-Christ (interpreted as the Pope and other leaders of the false religions) were being fulfilled in the present era, and were clearing the way for a golden age.” American democracy and Manifest Destiny had discovered their perfect companion in Postmillennialism.
To many people in this age, the switch to Postmillennialism felt like the re-ignition of the eschatology of Acts 1:6-8. Western missionary societies were, by and large, Postmillennial. For example, William Kerry, the “Father of Modern Missions” was a postmillennial who persuaded thousands of missionaries to move overseas. Adoniram Judson was a postmillennial who became the first Westerner to master the Burmese language and persuaded over 100 missionaries to join him. And to this day, there are still many evangelicals and charismatics who embrace a form of theonomist post-millennialism called dominion theology, which is built around the idea of returning to the mandate of the Garden of Eden, the place where God told Adam to “subdue [the earth] and have dominion over [it]”(Gen.1:28).
But once again, certain Christian groups started to take Post-millennial ideas too far. As historian, George Marsden put it: “After the Civil War, the more liberal evangelicals…began gradually to abandon the dramatically supernatural aspects of the postmillennial view.” Indeed, Post-Millennials started becoming quite liberal and loose in their treatment of scripture.
Some could argue that the zeal of postmillennial ideals caused Christians to over-adapt God’s word to culture. For example, as science grew increasingly humanistic, Christianity was increasingly attacked as unintellectual. So, modernist seminaries began de-emphasizing the miracle stories of scripture – in order to accommodate skeptics and Darwinists. And many seminaries even began deconstructing the historical reliability of Scripture itself. And through the influence of German higher criticism, many Post-millennial oriented seminaries began de-emphasizing almost any literal aspect of scripture that was difficult to believe: “Was Jesus truly born of a virgin? Did Jesus even resurrect? Heck, did Jesus even really exist?”
And thus, the ethos of Post-millennialism became dominated by a desire to reclaim society through education and social welfare. It became less about doctrinal truths and more about social action. It’s less about a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit and more about social reform – using any institution available. This shift even led some extreme postmillennials to think: “Nazism might even be a move of God.” But that’s when our next big mega-shift happened:
World War 1 and the Rise of Dispensational Premillennialism
Today, when we think about Dispensational pre-millennialism, we think about sudden raptures, Left Behind novels, or an end-times approach that dotes on modern Israel. But, Dispensationalism was first and foremost a response to liberalism in seminaries. It was a part of the Fundamentalist movement determined to pull people back to a literal interpretation of scripture, which culminated in a literal return of Christ.
When John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) first started preaching Dispensationalism, the tide was going against him. But, just like Tyconius found his Augustine to spread Amillennialism, and Daniel Whitby found his Jonathan Edwards to spread Postmillennialism; Darby found his mega-phone in Cyrus Scofield.
Scofield was a preacher in Texas who devoted close to nine years of his life writing a Bible commentary that fit the Dispensational system. And right before World War 1, Cyrus Scofield published the first English Bible with commentary written in the pages of the Bible – a revolutionary feature at the time. But more important was the fact that Dispensational Premillennialism was found throughout its pages.
So, as soldiers went off to war and widows sought solace in the scriptures, the Scofield reference Bible became a powerful influencer on the American Church, particularly in Dallas Texas where its commentary was written.
After WW1, the world experienced the Spanish Flu pandemic, followed by the Great Depression, followed by the rise of fascism, followed by World War two and the atomic bomb. So, Christians everywhere began re-thinking their postmillennial optimism: “Maybe the world isn’t getting better? Maybe science hasn’t caused us to evolve beyond our sin natures?” Many Post-millennialists started switching back to Amillennialists. Yet, after the wild success of the Scofield Bible, even more started thinking: Maybe Pre-millennialism was right all along? And in 1948, Dispensationalism hit its tipping point.
Against all odds, on May 14th, 1948, the nation of Israel was reborn as physical reality – for the first time in over two-thousand years. And all of a sudden, hundreds of prophetic Bible passages suddenly seemed realistic again as a future possibility.
For example, Isaiah 11:11-12 says, “11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean. 12 He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. (Isa. 11:11-12). Never before in Israelite history had the Jewish people been dispersed to the “four corners of the earth” and then returned.
Or as another example, Jesus said: “Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until, the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). And suddenly, in 1967, the world witnessed the Six Day War. And for the first time since Jesus spoke these words, Jerusalem was, in fact, back in Jewish hands. And not surprisingly, the interest in eschatology has entered a golden age – especially for premillennialism.
Suddenly, for the first time in history, the prophecies about the geo-political alliances of Ezekiel 38 could be plausible. Indeed, scholarship on Ezekiel 36-39 has gone through a mega-shift. Premillennialists (of both Historic and Dispensational varieties) were quick to point out that a literal and futuristic interpretation of Revelation was not only plausible but, prudent.
So, it begs the question: What is the next big shift? Each new eschatological wave has often been followed by a wave of new extremists. And Dispensational Premillennialism is no exception.
Much like Historical premillennialism, Dispensational premillennialism has been plagued with nationally announced predictions which have come and gone. From Edgar C.
Whisenant’s nationally covered prediction in 1988 to Harold Camping’s nationally covered prediction in 2012. Thousands of families sold everything they had in preparation for both predictions.
Even more, Dispensational Premillennialism is often plagued with rather extreme views about Israel. Many Dispensationalists talk as if supporting modern Israel is the only way to access heaven and avoid curses. Many Dispensational books also exhibit a strong anger towards anyone who disagrees with a pre-tribulation rapture. In some ways, many Dispensationalists seem to view a pre-tribulation rapture as the very litmus test for whether a person believes in “Biblical” Christianity.
And yet, as a teacher of the Bible, I somewhat enjoy the tension created by these strong positions. After all, most of us didn’t seek the scriptures on all sorts of topics until that one Christian friend challenged us. You know what I’m talking about: You had that one Calvinist friend who always corrected your prayers. Or, that one crazy church lady, who felt that all tattoos grieve the Holy Spirit.
Don’t get me wrong, when people lack humility, it makes every debate feel awful (James 3:17); but, there is nothing better than a healthy and thought provoking discussion about scripture.
But to do this, it’s critical that we acknowledge the biases thrust upon us due to our history and geographical context. If I pastored a church near Dallas, I would probably feel a far greater political pressure to conform to a Pre-trib rapture. If I was a Calvinist or pastored in a Reform denomination, I would probably feel a greater pressure to embrace Amillennial systems. And although Post-millennialism has largely shrunk over the past fifty years, there are still a good number of people who want to embrace its positivity. But can we choose our eschatology based on any of these things? Should politics or positivity have anything to do with this decision? Probably not. But we’d be foolish to think that such things don’t affect us.
For More Videos and Blogs on the End Times, visit the BRB landing page for more on the History of the End Times Views, Daniel’s 70 Weeks, the Antichrist, the Mark of the Beast, Blood Moon conspiracies, and some End Times Book Recommendations!
 Historic Premillennialism believes in a literal future 1000 year reign of Christ from Jerusalem. This utopian rule will come cataclysmically upon the earth after a world-wide seven year tribulation. Historic Premillennialists generally believe that the church will go through the tribulation as opposed to being raptured before or during it.
 Amillennialism is quite simple. It takes a more symbolic approach to the Book of Revelation. The millennium began around Christ’s ascension into heaven. It is a literal millennium from heaven but not a literal 1000 years. And the tribulation isn’t a seven year event but a metaphor for the ills of sin that afflict every generation of Christians. Yes, the world will get worse before the return of Christ. But, after His return, we will be judged and enter eternity.
 Postmillennialism is similar to Amillennialism in that it takes a symbolic approach to the Book of Revelation. The millennium began around Christ’s ascension into heaven. It is a literal millennium from heaven but not a literal 1000 years. And the tribulation isn’t a seven year event but a metaphor for the ills of sin that afflict every generation of Christians. But it differs from Amillennialism in that, the world will get better and better as the gospel slowly infiltrates the world. Christianity is an unstoppable invasion of kingdom progress. And when we proclaim His gospel, the bride of Christ will mature until the wedding day. Christ will return, judge the world, and eternity will ensue.
 Dispensational Premillennialism believes in a literal future 1000 year reign of Christ from Jerusalem. This utopian rule will come cataclysmically upon the earth after a world-wide seven year tribulation. Contrary to Historic Premillennialists, Dispensational Premillennialists generally believe that the church will be raptured before the seven year tribulation. Indeed, they argue that the tribulation is God’s tool to win back the hearts of Israel. And the Millennium is where God finally fulfills his land Promise to Abraham.
 Proverbs 23:20f: “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” Isaiah 5:11f: “Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD, no respect for the work of his hands.” Galatians 5:19–21: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: … drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Ephesians 5:18: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
 Jesus multiplied wine at the wedding of Cana (Jn 2:1-11). Psalm 104:14–15: “[The LORD] makes … plants for man to cultivate – bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.” Ecclesiastes 9:7: “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.”
 Also known as the Ante-Nicene Fathers – the church leaders who wrote during the first 300 years of the church.
 As you’ll learn below, the idea of a Pre-tribulation rapture is distinctive of Dispensational Premillennialism – which didn’t really gain traction until the 1900’s.
 “Misery and Mercy” – Triumph of Christianity” – Rodney Stark pp 106-112
 See Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Lactantius or the Epistle of Barnabas for examples.
 “Missions to the Jews and the Gentiles” – Triumph of Christianity” – Rodney Stark pp 71-76
 “So few Diasporan Jews could read Hebrew that it was necessary to translate the Torah into Greek – known as the Septuagint.” (Stark p, 72) Also see “Many Judaisms” – Triumph of Christianity” – Rodney Stark pp 36-40.
 “Montanism” – Evangelical Dictionary of Theology – 2nd Ed. by D.F. Wright – pg 790
 “Premillennialism: Tenets” – A Basic Guide to Eschatology: Making Sense of the Millennium by Millard J. Erickson, pg 96
 “A Basic Guide to Eschatology: Making Sense of the Millennium” by Millard J. Erickson, pg 58
 “Millennium” in “A Dictionary of the Bible”, edited by James Hasting, pp.372-373
 “Eschatology,” MacCulloch, pg. 388.
 “The Dark Ages and other Mythical Eras” — Triumph of Christianity” by Rodney Stark pp 242-246.
 “Faith and the Scientific Revolution” – Triumph of Christianity by Rodney Stark (p 283)
 He said, “Most religions outside the Judeo-Christian tradition do not posit a creation at all. The universe is said to be eternal, without beginning or purpose, and never having been created, it has no creator. From this view, the universe is a supreme mystery, inconsistent, [and] unpredictable…But if the universe was created in accord with rational rules…by a rational creator, then it ought to yield its secrets to reason and observation…It was only because Europeans believed in God as the Intelligent Designer of a rational universe that they pursued the secrets of creation.” Triumph of Christianity – by Rodney Stark Pg 286-287
 “Faith and the Scientific Revolution” – Triumph of Christianity – by Rodney Stark (p287).
 “The Myth of Secular “Enlightenment”– The Triumph of Christianity” by Rodney Stark (p252).
 Copernicus was taught most of what he knew about the heliocentric model at a Christian university. Columbus wasn’t opposed due to his belief in a “round earth” but rather his wildly inaccurate claims about the circumference of the globe. And Galileo was never martyred for his belief in science. Rather, he was brought before a Roman inquisition because he was a political attention seeker who liked to bully other scientists with facts that weren’t even accurate. See “Physical Science in the Middle Ages” – Edward Grant, 1971. Or, “The Social Misconstruction of Reality: Validity and Verification in the Scholarly Community. Richard F. Hamilton, 1996 – or see, “Faith and the Scientific “Revolution”- Stark, Triumph of Christianity pg. 173-175.
 “European Christianity after the Reformation, 1600-1900” from A Global History of Christians, Paul Spickard & Kevin Cragg, pg 256.
 “Pluralism and American Piety”– The Triumph of Christianity” by Rodney Stark (p 355).
 “Two Revisions of Millennialism” in Fundamentalism and American Culture, by George Marsden, Pg. 49
 In Acts 1, the Apostles wanted an eschatology of an immediate earthly kingdom. Yet, Christ rebuffed this approach and instead gave them a different mission: Acts 1:6-9 “6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.”
 Also called “Reconstructionist Postmillennialism”
 “Christian Reconstruction: What it is, What it isn’t” Gary North and Gary DeMar p65.
 “Two Revisions of Millennialism” in Fundamentalism and American Culture, by George Marsden, Pg. 50
 “A Global History of Christians” by P.Spickard and K. Cragg (pg. 388-389).
 “The Rose Guide to End-Times Prophecy” by Timothy Paul Jones (pg. 318).
 See “How I Changed My Mind” by Karl Barth pp. 21, 45.
 And after the rise of Dallas Theological seminary (and its theologians, like Ryrie, Bock, etc.) the Dispensational movement has become intertwined with southern Bible belt churches ever since.
 A “Futurist” interpretation of Revelation is when, we assume that a given prophetic detail is yet to be fulfilled. Whereas “Preterism” is the interpretive style that assumes, “this prophetic detail was probably already fulfilled at some point in history.” And Preterism is a common interpretive style for both Amillennialists and Postmillennialists.
 Many dispensationalists teach that the “Church” was essentially an “accident”- that God never intended the church to be a part of his eschatological plan. They argue that “the church is nowhere mentioned in the Old Testament, nowhere prophesied.” (see “A Basic Guide to Eschatology” Millard Erickson pg. 118. Also see “The Church Age as a Parenthesis” for Israel’s rejection of the kingdom, Tim LayHaye and Ed Hindson, The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy. Pg. 57-60.) Obviously, many Bible scholars take issue with this approach. I’ve even heard many Dispensationalists even denounce that Jews need to accept Christ in order to be saved – because they claim: “God has a totally separate plan of salvation” according to Romans 11. Thankfully, Dispensationalism has evolved into positions that integrate a more balanced swath of Bible passages (known as “Revised Dispensationalist” (Walvoord, Ryries, J. Dwight Pentecost) and “Progressive Dispensationalists” (Blaising, Bock, Bruce Ware).
 This is not surprising when you place Dispensationalism in its historical context. In the early 1900’s, the Bible’s credibility was under a serious attack. Dispensationalists fought back a fairly intense onslaught of Bible critics. Unfortunately, however, they’ve enshrouded their highly speculative theology of the rapture as equal to the inerrancy of scripture. And there’s a lot of Bible scholars who feel this is a rather extreme elevation of this doctrine.