For anyone who has been walking with us through the Revelation study on Wednesday evenings, you will find the article by Joe Carter, "Jesus is Coming Back When?", very insightful for the study on Christ's return as it relates to the Millenial kingdom. Joe is one of the editors for The Gospel Coalition website. Joe begins:
If you expect Jesus to return within the next forty years, does that make you an optimist or a pessimist? The Pew Research Center released a survey in 2010 about what events Americans believe will unfold in the next forty years. One interesting question asked about the return of Jesus Christ:
As expected, predictions about whether Jesus Christ will return to earth in the next 40 years divide along religious lines. Fully 58% of white evangelical Christians say Jesus Christ will definitely or probably return to earth in this period, by far the highest percentage in any religious group. Only about a third of Catholics (32%), and even fewer white mainline Protestants (27%) and the religiously unaffiliated (20%) predict Jesus Christ's return to earth. In addition, those with no college experience (59%) are much more likely than those with some college experience (35%) and college graduates (19%) to expect Jesus Christ's return. By region, those in the South (52%) are the most likely to predict a Second Coming by 2050.
But what does it mean? How does this fit into the overall views of Christians in America?
Not surprisingly, there are few areas of Christian theology more contentious or confusing than eschatology, the study of the end times. Should the Book of Revelation be interpreted literally or metphorically? Will Christ establish his Kingdom on earth or has his millenial reign already begun? Within evangelicalism there are four general points of agreement and four general perspectives on eschatology.
The four points of agreement are:
1. Jesus Christ will physically return to earth one day.Joe provides an excellent overview of four distinct millenial positions. You can find the article in its entirety here.
2. There will be a bodily resurrection of all people who have ever lived.
3. Satan will be defeated and constrained forever.
4. There will be a final judgment in which believers join Christ for eternity while nonbelievers are separated from God's presence.*