The structure of my eschatology came from reading dispensationalist, pretribulational material online. I have since rejected that framework – my eschatology is historic premillennialist and prewrath, my influences being the ante-Nicene Fathers and modern scholarship.
The pretribulational material was useful for various reasons, however; and I am indebted to the authors of various resources. The following points are relevant.
They introduced me to key eschatological passages, characters, and ideas in Scripture. They used diagrams frequently, which got me used to building a chronology. They tried to read the text carefully, which got me used to spotting important conjunctions, parallelism, and markers of time and sequence. They showed me that the return of Christ is a complex event and the blessed hope of Christianity – not an optional add-on for our faith. Prophecy occupies a very large segment of Scripture.
In turn, as I saw challenges to this framework and felt my intuition tell me to look elsewhere, which in hindsight I believe was God’s prompting, I came to see that it tried to force Scripture into confirming its a priori positions. I realised that it produced various absurdities and that I needed to let Scripture speak for itself.
The consequence is that I came out of that framework, a little while after I first joined AATW. Many like me are prewrath or posttribulational in our eschatology having previously been pretribulational. Talking among ourselves or to pretribulationalists, we are able to use a shorthand.
It is easy to forget that many do not have a framework whatsoever for reading the Scriptures or the Fathers in this area of doctrine. Many churches are afraid to teach on this, because it is controversial, while others teach opposing doctrines (though there may be some overlap).
Many find the diagrams one sees confusing and struggle to tell positions apart, to read passages carefully, or to see the wood for the trees. My aim with this series is to introduce readers to some key passages, to help them build a basic prewrath framework from the ground up (which they are free to reject, add to, or refine), and to do so without assuming prior familiarity with things that people like me take for granted.
Hopefully it will be a success and not too long or otherwise odious.