What Is Theosis?

Theosis is the belief that Christians will participate in the energies of God, but not his essence. God’s energies in Eastern Orthodox theology are how we experience the essence of God as finite creatures since God’s essence is ineffable and incomprehensible. Timothy Ware defines theosis this way:

“Just as the three persons of the Trinity ‘dwell’ in one another in an unceasing movement of love, so we humans, made in the image of the Trinity, are called to ‘dwell’ in the Trinitarian God. Christ prays that we may share in the life of the Trinity, in the movement of love which passes between the divine persons; He prays that we may be taken up into the Godhead. . . . Nor does the human person, when it ‘becomes god’, cease to be human: ‘We remain creatures while becoming god by grace, as Christ remained God when becoming man by the Incarnation.’ The human being does not become God by nature, but is merely a ‘created god’, a god by grace or by status” (The Orthodox Church, 231-32).

This belief is also known as divinization or deification where Christians become gods by grace but not by nature. Roman Catholicism also teaches a form of theosis in its Catechism:

“The Word became flesh to make us ‘partakers of the divine nature’: ‘For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.’ ‘For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.’ ‘The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods’” (460).

The last two quotations are from Athanasius and Thomas Aquinas who both believed in theosis in one form or another. The Eastern theologian Maximus the Confessor taught that we become gods in salvation in a qualified sense:

“If we are made, as we are, in the image of God (cf. Gen. 1:27), let us become the image both of ourselves and of God; or rather let us all become the image of the one whole God, bearing nothing earthly in ourselves, so that we may consort with God and become gods, receiving from God our existence as gods” (Philokalia, 2:171).

The first church father to teach theosis appears to be Irenaeus in the late second century:

“For we cast blame upon Him, because we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods; although God has adopted this course out of His pure benevolence, that no one may impute to Him invidiousness or grudgingness. He declares, ‘I have said, Ye are gods; and ye are all sons of the Highest.’” (Against Heresies 4.38.4).

And so began the history of bad interpretations of John 10:34-36. But Jesus is arguing here that if the term “god” can be applied by God in an ironic sense to human judges who were perverting God’s law, how much more can the term be used to describe himself who is actually God. In wrongly condemning Jesus, the religious leaders of Israel were acting as false judges in the same way that the “gods” of Psalm 82 were.

Theosis was more fully developed by Origen who taught that the divine nature was communicated first to Christ in eternal generation and then to us in salvation:

“And thus the first-born of all creation, who is the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity, is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him. . . . It was by the offices of the first-born that they became gods, for He drew from God in generous measure that they should be made gods, and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty. The true God, then, is ‘The God,’ and those who are formed after Him are gods, images, as it were, of Him the prototype” (Commentary on John 2.2).

This incorrect view of salvation flows from a wrong view of the fall and fallen man’s bondage to sin. Mormonism, which goes far beyond theosis into the error of explicit polytheism, likewise has a weak view of the fall and a high view of man’s natural abilities. The theology of the church father Origen, who had a tremendous influence on the doctrine of theosis, is closer to Mormonism in many ways than biblical Christianity. He believed that we eternally pre-existed with God before creation and that there is no hell of eternal conscious torment. Origen’s theology had a huge influence on the Eastern Church and there is a universalist strain within Eastern Orthodoxy today. Theosis inadvertently falls into the error of polytheism as the Arians fell into polytheism by making the Son a lesser god than the Father. If we become gods in deification, then there is more than one God regardless of what creative language we use to try to defend a belief in monotheism (Isa 43:10). Theosis collapses all of salvation down into conformity to the image of Christ while overlooking the legal aspects of salvation. If God’s essence is completely unknowable to us, then we cannot know God as Jesus prayed we would (John 17:3). The distinction that should be made is not between God’s essence and energies, but between God’s incommunicable attributes which we will never share in and God’s communicable attributes which we do participate in to a degree.

The most popular verse in the Bible used in favor of theosis is 2 Peter 1:4 which says, “by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” But the “divine nature” in which we partake is not God’s energies, but his communicable attributes as evidenced by the descriptions of personal holiness which follow through verse ten. To be like God in this sense is not to become a god, but to live in holiness in imitation of God. As God is love, holy, righteous, and pure, we share in his love, holiness, righteousness, and purity through the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, sanctification, and eventually glorification.

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Sunday Meditation – Longing for Heaven

“Affliction teaches us to prize and long for heaven. In our prosperity we are content with the present world and say with the disciples, ‘It is good that we are here.’ While life is sweet, death is bitter. We do not crave heaven while the world gives us her friendly entertainments. But when poverty, imprisonment, persecution, and diseases come, we are not so fond of the earthly life. Then we can entertain a parley with death, and take heaven into our consideration. In discipline God takes our hearts away from this present world by degrees, and makes us look homeward.”

Thomas Case

What Is Open Theism?

Open theism is the belief that God does not have exhaustive knowledge of future events. He knows everything that can be known, but since the future does not yet exist, by definition, he cannot know the future. While he does not know the future, because he has perfect knowledge of the present, he can often accurately predict what will happen in the future. In open theism, God sometimes predicts the future incorrectly. Another related belief is process theology which goes beyond open theism by saying that God is not immutable or unchangeable. God changes with the world and is dependent on it. While open theism and process theology are distinct from each other, open theism is essentially a form of process theology because God is constantly gaining new information and adapting in time to these changes. God is learning from us as he observes creation and is able to make more accurate predictions of the future as his knowledge of human behavior grows.

One of the most glaring problems with open theism is that it makes penal substitutionary atonement impossible since God did not know we would exist when Christ died on the cross. This means that our sins which God did not know about could never have been imputed to Christ when he suffered on the cross. In contrast to open theism, Scripture teaches that our personal sins were laid on Christ (Isa 53:5-6; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 2:24).

Open theism also makes predictive prophecy impossible since God does not know for certain what the future holds. The entire book of Daniel is a testament to God’s exhaustive knowledge of future events. Daniel 11 is especially revealing since it chronicles the entire history of the Seleucid and Ptolemy dynasties hundreds of years before they take place. An additional piece of evidence that Daniel was written before the time of Alexander the Great is recorded by Josephus in Antiquities 11.8.5 telling how Alexander was shown the book of Daniel by the Jews which they believed spoke about him.

If God does not know the future, then he is in the same category as the false gods of Isaiah 41:21-26 who cannot prove they are true deities because they do not know the future:

“Set forth your case, says the LORD; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come. Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified. Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you. I stirred up one from the north, and he has come, from the rising of the sun, and he shall call upon my name; he shall trample on rulers as on mortar, as the potter treads clay. Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know, and beforehand, that we might say, ‘He is right’? There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed, none who heard your words.”

God tests the false gods by demanding that they do something only he can: predict the future. But the Lord proves that he is the true God, not only because he foretells the return of Israel from exile, but he gives the name of the Persian king who will do it before he was even born (Isa 44:28; 45:1).

How could Jesus say to Peter in Matthew 26:34, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times” if he did not know the future? If Jesus, according to open theism, had simply made an educated guess, then he took the risk of becoming a false prophet since Deuteronomy 18:20-22 says that any prophet who predicts the future wrongly is to be put to death. But Jesus could not possibly have predicted the future wrongly because he is God and God knows all things (John 16:30; 1 John 3:20). The Bible declares that God’s knowledge is perfect (Job 36:4; 37:16). How could God’s knowledge be perfect if he is constantly gaining new information? God exists above all categories of time and does not experience time as a creature does (2 Pet 3:8).

Sunday Meditation – The Suffering of Christ

“Our own sufferings give us a partial insight into the sufferings of Christ Jesus. In our prosperity we pass by the cross. The story of Christ’s passion stirs our hearts for him, but the pity and passion are quickly gone. But let God pinch our flesh with some sore affliction, fill our bones with pain, and set us on fire with a burning fever; let our feet be hurt in stocks, and iron enters our souls. We look upon him they have pierced and say: ‘If the chips of the cross are this heavy, what was the cross itself? If my bodily pains are so bitter, what were the agonies the Lord sustained in his soul? If the wrath of man is so piercing, what must the wrath of God be?’ Is it a heart-piercing affliction to be deserted by friends? What was it then for the Son of God’s love to be deserted by his Father? Is a chain so heavy, a prison so loathsome, and the sentence of death so dreadful? O what was it for him who made heaven and earth to be bound, mocked, abused, spit upon, buffeted, reviled, cast into prison, arraigned, condemned, and executed in a most shameful and accursed manner! O what was it for him to endure all this contradiction of sinners, the rage of the devil, and the wrath of God, to cry out, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ He had done no violence, nor was any deceit found in his mouth. Blessed be God, my prison is not hell, my burnings are not unquenchable flames, my cup is not filled with wrath, and I am delivered from the wrath to come! By our sharing the remainders of his cross, which he has bequeathed to us as a legacy, we may come in some measure to understand the sufferings of Christ, or at least by comparing our sufferings of such vast disproportion to his, we are able to guess at what we cannot understand.”

Thomas Case

What Is Molinism?

Molinism, also known as middle knowledge, was invented by the Catholic theologian Luis de Molina in response to the theology of John Calvin. Middle knowledge is the philosophical concept that God has a special kind of knowledge that falls between his free and natural knowledge. Free knowledge is God’s knowledge of all that will actually take place in history because he freely chose to create the world this way. Natural knowledge is God’s necessary knowledge of all possible worlds or events that could take place and includes his free knowledge. Middle knowledge is God’s knowledge of what free creatures would do given an infinite number of circumstances. This is not the same as God’s counterfactual knowledge which is God’s knowledge of all that could hypothetically take place since this is part of his natural knowledge.

In light of this, proponents of middle knowledge argue that the future God has ordained is the one in which the maximum number of people come to salvation without violating their free will. God could not have ordained a future where more people are saved and still allow for man to have libertarian free will. Some argue that those who die among the unevangelized never would have accepted the gospel even if it had been presented to them. There was no possible world in which these individuals would have accepted the gospel of their own free will and therefore God allowed them to live and die without hearing it.

While middle knowledge may appear to be a middle path between Calvinism and Arminianism, it is still dependent on the concept of man’s free will after the fall in contrast to Calvinism’s teaching on the bondage of man’s will because of sin. This is another example of why getting the doctrine of the depravity of fallen man right is essential for a correct understanding of salvation. Fallen man before salvation does not have libertarian free will, but is a slave to his sins (John 8:34). After regeneration, his desires are changed so that he no longer desires sin in the same way he did before conversion. After glorification, it is impossible for him to desire sin because his will is now perfectly conformed to the will of God. Man’s choices are determined by his set of desires or will and therefore no man after the fall has a will that is truly free because it is always being acted on by the effects of the fall or the Holy Spirit.

The irony of middle knowledge is that while it was developed by a Catholic theologian, very few Catholics believe in it. On the other hand, many Protestants have embraced it as a way to respond to the arguments of Calvinism because they don’t want to believe that the future is foreordained by the free will of God (Eph 1:11). May we all get our theology from the Bible instead of philosophical speculation.

Sunday Meditation – Redeem the Time

“In affliction God teaches us to redeem the time. When life is tranquil, how many golden hours we throw down the stream that we shall never see again. Who is there that knows how to value time at its true worth? Most men waste it as if they had more time than they could ever spend. We make short seasons even shorter. How sad to hear men complain, ‘O, what shall we do to wile away the time?’ But O, when trouble and danger come, when the sword is threatening the body, the pistol is at the breast, the knife is at the throat, and death is at the door, how precious would one of those despised hours be! Evil days cry out, ‘Redeem the time!’ In life-threatening dangers, we can think of redeeming time for prayer and meditation. Yea, then we can gather up the very broken fragments of time, that nothing may be lost. By our lack of skillfulness and lack of planning we are caught off guard by death. We had planned upon years – many years – yet to come, but now we do not have the hours we need to make ready our accounts. This may be the night of our summons, and if our time is gone, and our work is not yet begun, what a state we are in. The soul will be perplexed at the hour of death if its work is yet to be done. A traveler that sees the sun setting when he is just beginning his journey must be aghast. The evening of our day, and the beginning of our task do not agree well together, and the tie we have left is too short to lament the loss of by-past time. God comes upon the soul as the angel upon Peter in prison, and smites us upon our side, and bids us to rise up quickly, and gird ourselves, and bind on our sandals that we may redeem lost opportunities, and seek to do much work in a little time. It is a pity to lose any of our time, a thing that is so precious and so short.”

Thomas Case

Review of “Amillennialism and the Age to Come” by Matt Waymeyer

I grew up being taught that both the pretribulational rapture and premillennialism were gospel truth. But after an examination of every text in the Bible on the second coming of Christ, I came to the conclusion that amillennialism was the teaching of Scripture. I bought Waymeyer’s book to evaluate the best new arguments for premillennialism to see if my beliefs needed to be changed in light of Scripture. While my beliefs have not changed, it has forced me to take a closer look at Scripture and for that I am thankful. I appreciate that Waymeyer has taken the time to carefully study and accurately represent the amillennial position throughout his work. In this review, I will explain why I am not persuaded by his arguments.

A major weakness of the book is that there is almost no discussion of Ezekiel 40-48 and the animal sacrifices described there. While dispensationalists have interpreted these to be “memorial sacrifices” commemorating the death of Christ, the text calls them sin and guilt offerings (Ezek 40:39; 45:17-25). We also see the Levitical priesthood and the Jewish Sabbath (Ezek 43:19; 46:1-4). If this is a literal description of the future, then it would overturn the theology of the book of Hebrews which teaches that the shadows of the Old Testament have been done away with in Christ (Col 2:16-17; Heb 7:11-28). Therefore, in light of the teachings of the New Testament and the parallels to Revelation 21-22 (Ezek 47:12 and Zech 14:8 with Rev 22:1-2 for example), Ezekiel’s temple is a depiction of the new heavens and new earth as an idealized present using symbolic language that the original readers could relate to.

But Waymeyer will not allow amillennialists to interpret the Old Testament passages he believes describe a millennium (Ps 72; Isa 2:1-3; 11:1-9; 65:17-25; Zech 8:4-5; 14:16-19) using the hermeneutic that the future is being described as an idealized present in Old Testament prophecy. But if this is not a valid method of interpreting Old Testament prophecy, then he has no way of reconciling the sin offerings of Ezekiel’s temple with the teachings of Hebrews. There is an unwillingness throughout the book to allow the didactic passages of the New Testament to interpret the apocalyptic passages of the Old Testament. As he argues, “later revelation often supplements and clarifies earlier revelation by providing broader context or additional detail, but it never reinterprets or changes the meaning of those previous passages in the process” (301). But if we do not reinterpret Ezekiel’s temple in light of the teachings of the New Testament, we have created a reductio ad absurdum where people continue to make animal sacrifices for their sins after Christ has died on the cross (Heb 10:1-14). See Sam Waldron’s book More of the End Times Made Simple for more detail on this point.

I agree with Waymeyer that “prophetic foreshortening” is a valid method of interpreting Old Testament prophecy where a prophet quickly describes multiple events that will take place in the future even though we learn from later revelation that there are gaps between each event. He uses this device to argue that Isaiah 65:20 is describing death in the millennium even though verse 17 begins by describing this period as the new heavens and new earth rather seeing verse 20 as an idealized depiction of this time. But then he argues that amillennialists cannot legitimately use prophetic foreshortening to interpret those Old Testament passages he believes describe the millennium in a way consistent with amillennialism. However, if amillennialists can use prophetic foreshortening together with recognizing that the future is depicted as an idealized present in these passages, then they are able to interpret them in a way that does not demand a millennium by seeing them fulfilled partially in the New Testament and finally in the new heavens and new earth using the language of accommodation.

When it comes to the millennium, I believe the key issue is whether all believers at the second coming will receive resurrected and glorified bodies. We both agree that all unbelievers at the second coming will be condemned to hell for their sins in contrast to posttribulationism (Luke 17:26-30). But the earth during Revelation 20 is still inhabited by unbelievers (Rev 20:3, 8). If this passage takes place after the second coming, how did they get there? This is why the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ must be separated by a period of time as taught by pretribulationism in order for premillennialism to be true so that the tribulation saints can enter the millennium with unresurrected bodies and reproduce. But if the rapture and the second coming are not separated from each other, then Revelation 20 must be interpreted in light of the truth that all believers at the second coming will receive resurrected bodies which do not reproduce (Luke 20:34-36).

But there is a gigantic problem with separating 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 from the second coming of Christ: if the second coming occurs seven years after the rapture, then the date of Christ’s coming could be calculated to the exact day by those living in this tribulation period! But the Bible always teaches that the date of Christ’s coming cannot be calculated and will come unexpectedly (Matt 24:36, 42-44, 50; 25:13; Luke 12:39-40; 1 Thess 5:2-3; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 16:15). In light of the popularity of the Left Behind series, if there is an actual tribulation period after all Christians are raptured from the earth, then the people living in this time would all be able to count down the days until the second coming of Christ. Therefore, an eschatology with a seven-year tribulation period cannot be the teaching of Scripture or else the date of Christ’s second coming would be known to man. In addition, the New Testament uses the term parousia or “coming” of Christ interchangeably in both rapture passages and with reference to the second coming.

While much can be said about Revelation 20, I will just focus on Waymeyer’s five objections to the amillennial interpretation of the “first resurrection” in 20:5-6 as the translation of the saints at death into the presence of Christ. First, he argues that the term anastasis or “resurrection” that is used in Revelation 20 almost always refers to bodily resurrection so that is how it should be understood here (219-20). But this argument is similar to the argument annihilationists use based on Revelation 20:6, 14 that hell is annihilation because it is called the second “death” and death in Scripture almost always refers to a cessation of conscious existence. But the annihilationist argument is flawed because it ignores how death is being modified by “second” to indicate that this is not literal death, but the metaphorical second death of the age to come which never ends. More importantly, it overlooks how death is being defined by the context as never-ending torment (20:10). So likewise, when John calls this resurrection the “first” resurrection, he is distinguishing it from the one that takes place on the day of judgment. Because there are still unbelievers around during Revelation 20, this is John’s way of informing us that the second coming has not taken place yet in this vision. Because the second coming has not taken place yet, the first resurrection is that resurrection which corresponds with this age. Since those John sees in his vision are described as “souls” who sit on “thrones,” this is additional evidence John is describing the intermediate state (Rev 4:4; 6:9).

Second, Waymeyer argues “if the ‘first resurrection’ does not consist of a physical resurrection, then Revelation 20 contains no explicit mention of the future resurrection as the consummation of the believer’s hope” (220). But doesn’t Revelation 20:11-15 describe the future resurrection? Waymeyer responds to this objection by saying, “this passage describes only the resurrection of judgment which awaits unbelievers” (220). But what about believers who die during the millennium? Where does it mention their resurrection? If Revelation 20:11-15 only describes the resurrection of unbelievers, does that mean believers who die during the millennium will not receive resurrected bodies?

Third, Waymeyer argues that this specific amillennial interpretation of the “first resurrection” was not advocated before the twentieth century. Therefore, such an interpretation calls into question the perspicuity or clarity of Scripture (221). But this same argument could be used against his own belief in the pretribulational rapture where 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 takes place seven years before the second coming since this belief was not taught in the church until the nineteenth century. Fourth, he argues that the non-sequential meaning of first “is highly questionable” (221). But as an amillennialist, I have no problem with seeing “first” and “second” as taking place in sequential order. The first resurrection to the intermediate state takes place before the second resurrection on the day of judgment and the first death when a person dies takes place before sinners are thrown into the lake of fire. Fifth, he argues “How can a ‘resurrection to heavenly glories’ – including the blessings it brings to those who are resurrected – be considered part of the present, sin-cursed creation order?” (225). Because the intermediate state where the saints reign with Christ is not part of the “sin-cursed creation order.” The saints in heaven are without sin and are free from the effects of the fall (Rev 7:13-17).

The way I would interpret the relationship between the “first resurrection” and “second death” is that the passage is teaching that the wicked experience two deaths (one literal at death and one metaphorical at the resurrection when they are cast into hell) while the righteous experience two resurrections (one metaphorical at death and one literal at the resurrection to eternal life). The first resurrection and second death are metaphorical while the second resurrection and first death are literal. Though believers participate in the first death as unbelievers do, for them it is a kind of resurrection. While unbelievers participate in the second resurrection as believers do, for them it is a kind of death. The first death for believers leads to the first resurrection while the second resurrection leads to the second death for unbelievers. The first resurrection and first death correspond to those which take place during this age while the second resurrection and second death correspond to those which take place in the age to come.

There are several important verses related to this question that Waymeyer does not mention or only mentions in passing without giving an interpretation. Matthew 12:41-42 teaches that the men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South “will rise up at the judgment with this generation.” This means that believers will be raised from the dead on the day of judgment together with unbelievers. But in premillennialism, believers are raised up at least a thousand years before unbelievers. Matthew 13:43 teaches that all believers (since all believers are righteous) at the second coming will be glorified and given resurrected bodies based on Jesus’ allusion to Daniel 12:2-3 describing the resurrected bodies of the righteous.

Waymeyer rightly sees that “the kingdom of God” in 1 Corinthians 15:50 is the eternal state (165). But he never mentions the parallel between this text and Matthew 25:34 where the kingdom the righteous inherit is the one which is established at the second coming. Since corruptible bodies will not inherit it, all of the righteous will have resurrected bodies. Luke 1:33 and Daniel 7:27 teach that the messianic kingdom set up at the second coming will never end whereas premillennialism teaches that the kingdom of Christ will one day end leading to the eternal state. There is no mention of John’s use of the “last day” when all of the elect are raised up (John 6:39-40, 44, 54; 11:24; 12:48). It is called the last day because it is the last day of this age. On that day, those who rejected Christ while he was on earth will be judged (12:48). This indicates that both believers and unbelievers will be resurrected at the same time. Also, are those living in the millennium among those who were given to the Son by the Father? If they are, then wouldn’t they be raised up after the last day instead of on it?

Acts 3:21 teaches that Christ must remain in heaven “until the time all things are restored.” This indicates that 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 is the time when Christ will restore all things. But according to premillennialism, the restoration of all things does not occur until at least a thousand years after Christ returns. There is no discussion of the parallels between John 5:28, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, and 1 Corinthians 15:52 which indicate that these events all take place at the same time. Hebrews 10:12-13 interprets Psalm 110:1 to be a description of the present reign of Christ in heaven now rather than one which will take place in the future. This should influence whether we interpret 1 Corinthians 15:25 to be a description of what is happening now or something that only takes place after the coming of Christ. 1 John 2:28 warns us to abide in Christ so that we will not shrink from him in shame at his coming. But why would unbelievers shrink from Christ in shame at his coming in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, the time when Christ comes for his church, if this event is not the second coming when unbelievers are condemned for their sins?

If Revelation 11:15-19 is a description of the second coming of Christ and the final judgment, in light of verse 18 which says that now is the time for the dead to be judged, would that not prove that the resurrection of the wicked takes place at the second coming? With reference to Gog and Magog in Revelation 20, Waymeyer says, “John’s allusion should not be understood as a direct fulfillment of the events predicted by Ezekiel” (292). But Waymeyer overlooks the parallel between Ezekiel 38:22 in Revelation 20:9 which describes the army assembled against Israel as being destroyed by fire and sulfur coming down from heaven. Since Daniel 7:9-10 is being quoted in Revelation 20:12 when it says “the books were opened,” the events at the end of Revelation 20 take place at the same time as Daniel 7:9-10. And the judgment of Daniel 7:11 occurs at the downfall of the man of sin which is at the second coming of Christ (2 Thess 2:8). Waymeyer also does not address the question of what happens to people who die during the millennium since Jesus is already on earth. Where do they go after they die?

And lastly, if the events of Revelation 18-20 must be interpreted in a strictly chronological fashion, then the result is that the marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19:7-9 is only for a portion of God’s elect since the second coming has not taken place yet in the futurist reading of Revelation. Are the tribulation saints on earth not part of Christ’s bride? If they are, how could they miss out on their own marriage supper? It is for these reasons why I am not persuaded by Waymeyer’s work. If Waymeyer decides to release a second edition of his book, he should interact with these verses together with Ezekiel 40-48. I have written about my own views on the second coming of Christ in my theses on eschatology.