Monday, May 13, 2013


Theorists and philosophers have debated many issues over the years. Is there a God, when was the universe created, how did mankind come into existence? Much of the Bible is prophecy. Prophecy is defined as a prediction yet to come to pass. The prophecies of the Bible will be debated until the end of time, until the Lord can answer all of our questions for us. One of the most prophetic books of the Bible is Revelation. The Revelations God gave to John will on the island of Patmos have been debated for ages. One of the most debated subjects of Revelation is the millennium. Revelation 20:1-6 says “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. After that, he must be set free for a short time. 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. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”1 We will now explore the different views of the millennium: dispensational premillennialism, historic premillennialism, postmillennialism, amillennialism. Each view holds their own strong points and negatives.

The first view of the millennium is dispensational premillennialism. This view states that "hold that Christ will come before a seven-year period of intense tribulation to take His church (living and dead) into heaven. After this period of fulfillment of divine wrath, He shall then return to rule from a holy city (i.e., the New Jerusalem) over the earthly nations for one thousand years."2 This view holds that the Millennium with Christ on earth will exist after the seven year period of tribulation in which the bowl judgments and the trumpet judgments will be poured upon the Earth. This view is held by those who take the Bible in a literal sense, and that follow the Bible on a chronological basis. The tribulation period will happen and then Christ will return for a 1000 year span. The believers who became believers during the tribulation and believers will peacefully populate the earth and those who were raptured seven years prior will reign with Christ in the New Jerusalem during the millennium. According to, this view is said to have been "declared a heresy in ancient times, was reintroduced circa 1830."3 The reason being is that many believe that since there is an uprising in Revelation 20:7-10 where nations fight against Jesus Christ. Why after the return of the Messiah on Earth are there still people fighting against God. This view would mean that either natural born people will be born through the Millennium and there will still be sin or that Christians that are in the New Jerusalem with Christ will sin against Jesus. Proponents against this view hold 1 Corinthians 15:22-28 as a foothold. The proponents state that all earthly governing authority will be abolished by Christ during the 1000 year reign of Christ. In 1830 John Darby reintroduced the subject of this topic and used Revelation 20:1-6 as a foothold for his beliefs. He claimed that this use of the millennium is literal and takes Revelation as a timeline laid out for us. While I do agree with the opponents of premillennialism, it may be that the opposing forces in Revelation, after the Millennium, may be influenced by the release of Satan from his cage. After the millennium there will be a final war between saints and demons.

The next view goes along with the last view in most senses and that is historic premillennialism. The major difference between the two beliefs is that this view holds that Christ will return for His people and rapture them after the seven year tribulation. This theory was held by much of the church during the first few centuries of the Christian church. Directly after the return of Christ is the millennium of Christ where once again the Christians will be with Christ in the New Jerusalem, but it does not hold any timeline in between the rapture and the return to the New Jerusalem during the millennium. According to LaHaye "Toward the end of the third century, an allegorical approach to Scripture began to dominate theological thought...Not until after the Reformation was there a revival of premillennial thought."4 He goes on to say that this is the most understood theory in today's church age, but does not state whether it is historic or dispensationalist. I understand his thinking to be mostly dispensationalist.

The next main view is Postmillennialism. This view holds that the millennium is not a literal 1000 years, but the time that is fulfilled through the spreading of the gospels. This view holds that the time after Christ is the fulfillment of the covenant with Abraham and the peace of the church. While they hold that the millennium is an actual time from Revelation, they don't hold that it is an actual 1000 years. According to Boettner "It is an indefinitely long period of time, perhaps much longer than a literal one thousand years."5 This theory does not mean that when Christ returns that He will return to a world with all Christians, but to a world that where Christianity is not the unusual thing, but where Christianity is more accepted as the norm. Some do claim that Christ will return to a Christianized world. This view was incredibly popular up until the twentieth century. LaHaye says "It was all but eliminated as a result of the World Wars, the Great Depression, and the overwhelming escalation of moral evil in society."6 I agree with LaHaye on this as I don't see Christianity on the rise, but more of a lack of respect and a misunderstanding on Christians as a whole.

The next view is amilllennialism. This view holds that the time of the church was put into place after the resurrection of Christ. When Christ rose again, he gained control and power over Satan and at the time is where the millennium started. This view does not hold a literal interpretation of Revelation 20. They hold that at the time of Christ's return, this will bring in the judgment of Christ. The believers of this theory see no actual reign of Christ on Earth as we know it. Many of these believers hold the Bible verse II Timothy 4:1 to a literal approach when it says "who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing" as meaning that His judgment will come at His next appearing. I believe this is a loose translation of this verse. I do believe that one day we will all be judged by our God and Savior, but to use this as meaning there will be no millennium on Earth, and avoiding other Scripture that points to a millennium does not make much sense.
It's strange to see such a difference in beliefs in Eschatology.

It seems that the only things that Christians can agree on when it comes to Revelation is that Christ will return, that Christians will be risen at some point and a judgment. When it comes to the rest of Revelation, there is no agreement. In my opinion, I hold to believe the dispensationalist premillennialist theory. I take a literal approach to the book of Revelation and it's time table. When Revelation 20 holds that there will be a millennium after the tribulation, I hold that literally. I believe that Satan will be let out of his cage for a short time and that will cause some havoc. But Christ and His army will fight for peace. After this there will be a great judgment where even demons will confess The Lord to be God.

Boettner, Loraine. The Millennium. (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company), 1957. 14.

Blue Letter Bible. Four Views on the Millennium. Last accessed May 11, 2013.

LaHaye, Tim. The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy. (Eugene: Harvest House Publishers), 2004. 234

Robinson, B.A. Competing Theories of Eschatology, End Times, Millennialism. 2012. Last accessed May 11, 2013.

1All Biblical references will be made from the NIV version unless otherwise noted.
2 Blue Letter Bible. Accessed May 11, 2013.
3 Robinson, B.A. Competing Theories of Eschatology, End Times, Millennialism. 2012.
4 LaHaye, Tim. The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy. 234.
5 Boettner, Loraine. The Millennium. 14
6 LaHaye. 234.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Crusaders and the Church

The time of the Crusades was a bloody era and has left a stain on the Christian name. There were many people murdered under the "Christian" name during the time of the Crusades. A lot of people in our era have modernized or made a spectacle of the Crusader period, but it was a bloody time in our history. The question is if God used this time of evil for His good. Often God will use the evils committed by mankind or by Satan himself to further His will. So this will explore the time periods of the Crusades and how it affected Christianity.

            First to give some information on what the Crusades were about and who      exactly were the Crusaders. The Crusades took place between the years of 1095-1270 A.D. (Not including some Crusades further on in the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries) According to the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia the Crusades main
objective was to deliver the Holy Places from Mohammedan tyranny.[1] The
Mohammedan movement was derived from the false prophet Mohammed, which
started the Islam movement. The Crusades are split into eight separate divisions. Each Crusade was conducted by a leader looking to further the Christian name throughout the known land; but at what cost?

            The first crusade was from about 1095 to 1101. The decree for war against the pagans went out by Pope Urban II to fight and win the Holy land back. The main
purpose of this first crusade was to rescue the Holy Sepulchre; which is the tomb that Jesus was supposed to be buried in. The Crusade started with a council in
Clermont-Ferrand that had many religious figures attending, as well as knights and people ready for battle. This is where the movement of the Crusades started it. People began rushing through Europe yelling Deus vult! which is Latin for God wills it! Most of these troops were disorganized, broke and didn't have much equipment, but they surged through German cities taking what they found and killing Jews on the way. The armies of Crusaders pushed on through many cities, even to Constantinople. The troops gathered on Constantinople and moved on again. Everywhere they went they caused destruction and murder. With help from locals and others favoring the cause, the Crusaders started making weapons to get into cities. Time and again the Crusaders were struck with riches, such as the Holy Lance, or they were struck with misfortune, such as sickness and being overrun by armies. But on July 14, 1099, the
Crusaders stormed Jerusalem killing everybody that they ran into regardless of gender or age. After conquering Jerusalem, the Crusaders named a lord over the conquest, who was Godfrey of Bouillon, whose brother would later be named King of Jerusalem. After this the Christians started forming treaties and started prospering and creating a more peaceful environment. So the good part to this crusade was that they got their homeland back, but there was a lot of bloodshed in the name of God during this

            The second Crusade was headed up by King Louis VII from 1145-1147. Many of the Turkish people were starting to re-claim land from the First Crusade. So Pope Eugene III sent St. Bernard, a monk, to preach a second crusade. During this time King Lois was trying to find penance for slaughtering a group of people hidden in a church in a fire he started. So when the King heard the preaching for the Second Crusade, he stepped in to help lead the charge. This is one reason this Crusade was different from the first. The First Crusade started with a bunch of vagabonds, with people who had barely anything to their names. This Crusade started with Kings and princes. One of the kings in charge of an army was the German king. So you now have both the French king and the German king leading armies across Europe for the Crusaders, which causes friction and confusion. You have two separate leaders of two different armies doing the same thing. This Crusade failed fast. With bad leadership and bad decisions made by the German army, the support for this Crusade started failing. One of the things the German army did that didn't help the Christians is they destroyed the palace at Philopatium, which didn't help the Crusaders cause. Another reason this Crusade failed fast was King Louis was called home and left an empty army.

            The Third Crusade, which was led by Richard Coeur-de-Lion; also known as Richard the Lionheart; and Philip Augustus, is probably one of the most famous because of the back story of Robin Hood. This Crusade lasted from 1188-1192. The land of Jerusalem was once again taken by pagans, or the Muslim people. The leader was King Saladin, who had fought for many years spreading the Muslim religion. The king met a group of Christians and slaughtered them and re-took Jerusalem. Pope Clement III called for a new Crusade to re-capture the Holy land and according to Donald this call-to-arms was received enthusiastically by many of the great nobles and princes of Europe.[2] There were so many people slaughtered by Saladin that people, royals and Christians alike, were ready to re-capture the Holy Land. While the Crusade hit many bumps and bruises along their trip, there was a huge dark spot on the Christian name during this Crusade. At one time, Richard had captured some of Saladin's men. While negotiating with Saladin, Richard slaughtered over 2,700 men, women and children. At the end of the Crusade, they had yet to re-capture the Holy land, and they also caused a large bruise on the Christians as a whole.

            The fourth Crusade was from 1202-1204. This Crusade was the Crusade that stood against what the goal of the church actually was. This Crusade was an attack against Constantinople. The church, under Pope Innocent III, started calling on knights and people to re-claim Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Innocent started calling on many Christians to join the Crusades and made treaties with many nations including
Germany. But with the influx in people, the church started losing control of the people. The Crusade attacked Egypt in 1201 and chose a ruler that was openly against the church. After this, unknown to the Pope, the Crusades went on and attacked
Constantinople. It's almost as the church lost all complete control of this Crusade and the people took matters into their own hands. But eventually the church changed their minds on the subject and as Gonzalez puts it eventually decided that it was God's way of reuniting the church.[3]

            In between the fourth and fifth Crusade was an interesting event, the Childrens Crusade. The Crusades were becoming the popular thing to do so a bunch of children, with some men, marched towards Lombardy where they lost terribly. It is said that many of these children were sold into slavery.

            The fifth Crusade started in about 1217. The Christian Holy Land is still under pagan control and they have yet to take back Jerusalem. Since the church still needs to get their land back, Pope Innocent III starts calling for people to capture a Crusade to go to Jerusalem. But the Christians were sick of being defeated and they had different wars going on with each other. So Pope Innocent III turned to idle Christians and offered them indulgence for joining. In 1217 the new Crusade left for Acre. There were some successes in this Crusade as they gained some land back from the Egyptians. But as they got closer to the NIle, they forgot about flood season, and got trapped. So this Crusade ended up running back home.

            The sixth Crusade from 1228-1229 was one of the shortest Crusades, but the most successful of the last few. The Roman Emperor Frederick II felt guilty for the last Crusade failing, so he started gathering forces to go attack Jerusalem to gain back the Holy Land. However, the papacy at the time didn't agree with his Crusade, so they excommunicated Frederick. Although he lost some favor and men, Frederick still went on to Jerusalem. In 1229 Frederick walked into Jerusalem and accomplished what the last many Crusades could not and reclaimed the Holy Land. Shortly after, the church lifted their excommunication. Not only did this Crusade do what many others couldn't, but it also decreased the popularity of the papacy.

            About 15 years later, Jerusalem was recaptured by the Muslims. The next two Crusades are the last to re-capture the Holy Land, and they go on to fight against Egypt and the Muslim sect.

            Throughout all of these Crusades, we see a lot of bloodshed on both sides of the war. Christians, or the church, claim just as many lives as the pagan communities. All the lives were claimed in the name of God. The lives of men, women and children were taken in the name of claiming the Holy Land. You have to ask yourself, was it worth it?


Bréhier, Louis. Crusades. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908), 4 May 2013 <>.

   Donald, Angus. A Brief Overview of the Third Crusade. 2010. 4 May 2013. 

    Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity. Vol. 1. (New York: HarperCollins), 2010

[1]     Brehier, Louis. Crusades. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4.
[2]     Donald, Angus. A Brief Overview of the Third Crusade.
[3]     Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity. Vol. 1. (New York: HarperCollins), 2010.