Topic 3 The Harmony of Scripture, Part 2 - The New Testament
Posted 02 March 2006 - 03:16 PM
In Topic 1, we presented a case for Chiliasm from the harmony of the Old Testament Scriptures. Every detail of every event prophesied in these Scriptures, when interpreted literally, harmonize together perfectly without contradiction and are fully accounted for within the Chiliast position. What we propose to do in this paper is to show that the harmony contained in the Old Testament flows with seamless continuity into New Testament. Our premise is this: The hope and the expectation of the saints is the same in both Testaments. It is the return of Jesus the Messiah to sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem, restoring the earth to its pristine condition, ruling over the nations with perfect justice and righteousness.
The Kingdom Hope in the Birth Narratives
The New Testament opens with the birth of Jesus Christ, “the Son of Abraham, the Son of David” (Matthew 1:1). Throughout the birth narratives, we find references to the kingdom hope. In the announcements of Christ’s birth and in the prophecies surrounding it, the overwhelming emphasis is on His rule as the anointed King (Messiah) of Israel. This is what is meant by the Hebrew term “Messiah” and its Greek equivalent, “Christ.”
That Jesus is “the Son of Abraham” tells us that He will fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12, 15, 17). In this covenant, God promised Abraham, among other things, that through one of His seed, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. This is a promise of salvation for both Jew and Gentile.
That Jesus is “the Son of David” tells us just as certainly that He will fulfill the Davidic Covenant. In this covenant, God promised David that one of his descendants will sit upon the Throne of David and rule over the nation of Israel forever. This is confirmed in the announcement made by the angel Gabriel to Mary.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:31-33
This is in perfect harmony with the prophetic announcement of the Lord’s birth in Isaiah.
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9
Upon the birth of John the Baptist, his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied,
68 “ Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
71 That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
74 To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. Luke 1
This prophecy reflects a hope in the literal fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the Kingdom. The Amillennial team (or at least its leader, Paul) is on record denouncing this hope as a “carnal, fleshly, earthly, temporal, old covenant” expectation, which they attribute to the ungodly Pharisees. But according to this passage, this was the hope of the priest Zacharias who is described as “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6). Furthermore, these words were placed on his tongue by the Holy Spirit!
When Jesus was born, the angels announced His birth to Shepherds with the following words,
10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
The title "Christ" or “Messiah” refers to the Davidic Covenant. Both the Greek and Hebrew terms mean, “anointed” and refer to the Jewish practice of anointing kings with oil. “Jesus is the Christ,” means Jesus will sit on the throne of David in fulfillment of God’s oath. Even the song of the angels announcing His birth to the shepherds, "Peace on earth,"(Luke 2:14) is an allusion to Isaiah 6:6-7, and thus refers to this Kingdom, (Luke 2:14).
After His birth, wise men from the east came looking for the young child Jesus.
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
2 saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." (Matthew 2)
The journey of these foreigners to pay obeisance to Jesus shows that the expectation of the Messianic Kingdom was not limited to Israel, but also known to others. There are many prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the nations to the east. These men from the east had a very high view of Biblical prophecy and expected a literal fulfillment of this prophecy specifically:
17 "I see Him, but not now;
I behold Him, but not near;
A Star shall come out of Jacob;
A Scepter shall rise out of Israel,
And batter the brow of Moab,
And destroy all the sons of tumult.
18 "And Edom shall be a possession;
Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession,
While Israel does valiantly.
19 Out of Jacob One shall have dominion,
And destroy the remains of the city." Numbers 24:17-19
Thus we see, right from the outset, perfect harmony between the Old and New Testament Scriptures. Both declare that Jesus was destined to sit on the Throne of David in the city of Jerusalem vesting the government in Himself as the political king over the nation of Israel and that His Kingdom will last forever.
The Kingdom Hope in the Teachings of Jesus
The Amillennial team rarely misses an opportunity to remind us that the Pharisees expected a literal fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the Kingdom of the Messiah, which they denounce as a “carnal, fleshly, earthly, temporal, old covenant” expectation. But the mistake of the Pharisees was not in believing that these prophecies would be fulfilled; it was in failing to discern two advents of the Messiah. The Pharisees could not reconcile the prophecies of Christ’s first advent as a suffering servant with their theology, so they allegorized them. Amillennialists cannot reconcile the prophecies of Christ’s second advent as a reigning King with their theology, so they allegorize them. Both are wrong. In actuality, it is Amillennialists who are behaving in the same manner as the Pharisees! In fact, they are cut from the same cloth as the Pharisees and treat Scripture in exactly the same manner, callously disregarding and allegorizing what doesn’t fit their theology! The simple solution to the apparent dilemma is to recognize two advents of the Messiah, one as a suffering Servant and one as a reigning King. Jesus directly addressed this in the Parable of the Minas in Luke 19.
11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.
12 Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.
13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.'
14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.'
15 "And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16 Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.'
17 And he said to him,’ Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.'
18 And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.'
19 Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.'
20 "Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief.
21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.'
22 And he said to him,' Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.
23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'
24 "And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.'
25 (But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.')
26 'For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.'" Luke 19
Jesus speaks this parable in direct response to the people’s expectation that the kingdom would appear immediately. They knew He was Messiah and they thought that this trip to Jerusalem was to set up His kingdom. The main point here is that the kingdom itself is not coming immediately, but there will be a delay. The Master is first going to leave for a while. He will charge His servants with His business, and they will receive the kingdom after He returns, being rewarded according to how they managed His affairs while He was away. The citizens who hated Him and said, “We will not have this man to reign over us” were the unbelieving Jews. Observe also that the reward of the faithful is not in heaven; it is here on earth when He returns to establish His kingdom.
Jesus clearly placed the destiny of the faithful not in heaven but in His Kingdom when He returns and sits on the throne of His glory. The apostles were specifically promised that at that time, they would also sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?”
28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. Matthew 19
Notice these two complementary truths: the unbelieving Jewish leadership was thrust out of the kingdom, and the apostles were promised that they would sit as judges over the twelve tribes of Israel. These truths are in perfect harmony with Old Testament prophecy concerning the kingdom.
24 Therefore the Lord says,
The LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel,
“Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries,
And take vengeance on My enemies.
25 I will turn My hand against you,
And thoroughly purge away your dross,
And take away all your alloy.
26 I will restore your judges as at the first,
And your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.”
27 Zion shall be redeemed with justice,
And her penitents with righteousness. Isaiah 1
Who are the faithful judges mentioned by Isaiah? They can only be the apostles according to the Words of Jesus. This is also in perfect agreement with later teaching in the New Testament:
2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? 1 Corinthians 6
Jesus spoke of the exclusion of the unbelieving Jews and the inclusion of believing Gentiles in the kingdom in Matthew 8.
10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!
11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
In this passage, the “sons of the kingdom” are the Jews to whom the covenants and promises belonged. But they excluded themselves through unbelief. Those who come “from east and west” are Gentiles who obey the Gospel. Jesus said the very same thing in Luke 13.
24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’
26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’
27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’
28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.
29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.
30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”
Notice that the Gentiles and Jews who believe will inherit the kingdom of God promised to Israel in the Old Testament. We will share this inheritance with the saints of the Old Testament. What inheritance was promised to the saints in the Old Testament? It was a land inheritance within the context of a restored creation after the Day of the Lord. None of this is new. Jesus simply reaffirmed the Old Testament teaching regarding the kingdom of God.
At the last Passover supper, Jesus again confirmed the promise of the eschatological kingdom with these words.
14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.
15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves;
18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you…
28 “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials.
29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me,
30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
The apostles, to whom Jesus said, “Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” (Luke 12:32) received the New Covenant and were promised the most honorable place in the coming Kingdom of Christ, ruling beside Him from His Temple. The church’s firm foundation is Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. After His resurrection, Luke’s Gospel closes with the following scenes:
25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”
27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself…
44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”
45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 And you are witnesses of these things.
49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.
51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen. Luke 24
The expressions “to have suffered” and “to enter into His glory” (verse 26) refer to the two advents of the Messiah. All that the prophets have spoken concerning both advents will surely be fulfilled!
Thus far, we find perfect unity rather than conflict between the Old Testament, the birth narratives in the Gospels and the teaching of Christ regarding the Kingdom of God. Jesus' teaching assumes a literal reading of the Old Testament prophecies of the Kingdom.
The Kingdom Hope in Acts
The Book of Acts opens where the Book of Luke left off.
1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,
3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me;
5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
7 And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1
After His resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days teaching His disciples about the kingdom of God. He assured them that all things that were spoken in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms would be fulfilled. And He expounded these things to them concerning the kingdom. Just when He was about to leave them, they asked Him if it would come immediately – a very similar question to that which was addressed in the parable quoted in the previous section. Rather than telling them that they were mistaken in their expectation, He told them that it wasn’t for them to know ‘times and seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.’ They were not mistaken in their expectation for the kingdom to be restored to Israel, with Jesus ruling as Messiah. But they had forgotten that there was a job to do first. It was to preach the Gospel to the whole world. As they preached the Gospel, the kingdom was an integral part of their message. The kingdom they preached was future and it was their hope. They explained and reasoned that the prophets spoke of two advents of the Messiah. The first, to suffer and die for sins had been fulfilled. The second, to come in glory and establish the kingdom was yet to be fulfilled.
17 “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.
18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,
21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3
But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Acts 8:12
21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch,
22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14
And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. Acts 19
25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more…
27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God...
32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20
14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.
15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.
16 This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. Acts 25
6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers.
7 To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews...
15 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.
17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,
18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.
21 For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.
22 Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come—
23 that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26
The apostles preached the kingdom of God as the hope of the saints. They preached it as having been spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. They preached it as the time when we would receive our inheritance. They preached as the hope of the promise made by God to the fathers. And Paul affirmed that he spoke no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come.
Thus, we find perfect harmony between the Old Testament Scriptures, the Gospels and the preaching of the apostles in the Book of Acts. We still have found no place where the hope of the saints has been changed from what was proclaimed by the prophets. Let us now turn to the Epistles.
The Kingdom Hope in the Epistles
There are several passages with very stern warnings to believers concerning the kingdom. Those who live in an immoral, ungodly way, practicing sin, will not inherit the kingdom. See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21; and Eph 5:3-7. We dealt with the concept of “inheriting the kingdom” in our closing statement in Topic 2. We demonstrated that this expression has the same meaning in both Testaments, that is, receiving an allotted portion of land for a possession on the restored earth, and that it is the Old Testament that provides the contextual basis for understand the teaching in the New Testament.
This serves as powerful motivation to shun a sinful lifestyle while we await the return of Christ who will give us a share in His inheritance. On the other hand, this is also the motivation to actively pursue godliness and good works. It is the active pursuit of good works that stores up our ‘treasure in heaven’, which is reserved for us until the time that we will receive it. When Jesus comes, He will judge and reward each one of us for the things we have done.
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,
6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1
When we pursue good works and abound in them, we lay up for ourselves ‘treasure in heaven’ which affords us an abundant reward in the Kingdom. There is no profit in expending one’s life storing up earthly riches, which will be left behind at death. We should rather be expending our lives storing up heavenly riches which will be ours in the resurrection and for eternity. Each person will be judged individually, and will be rewarded accordingly.
Paul spoke of our reward for faithful service in Colossians 3.
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
Both “reward” and “inheritance” are marked with the definite article emphasizing specific identity. It is the reward and the inheritance. This refers to the promise of eternal inheritance in the kingdom. There is no other inheritance. There is no other reward. This concept is stated in connection with the clause, “for you serve the Lord Christ,” and the significance of this expression is not to be overlooked. As a servant, the one whom one serves is a master or lord. We are servants serving Jesus as our Lord. But this Lord is none other than the Christ, that is, the Messiah, the King of the Jews. Thus, our reward from the Lord Messiah will be in His Kingdom.
Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to walk worthy of God who has called us into His kingdom and glory. This is powerful motivation to endure suffering and persecution.
10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe;
11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,
12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2
Paul reiterated this in the second epistle.
3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,
4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,
5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer…
In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul spoke about the Kingdom (future), and the current role of believers as being humble servants rather than kings. He was rebuking the Corinthians because they were “puffed up” and behaving as though they were already reigning. He indicates that this is not the time to reign, but to be tried and tested, proven faithful first.
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
8 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!
2 Timothy 2 also speaks about our reign with Christ as a future hope, not a present possession.
11 This is a faithful saying: for if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.
12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, he also will deny us.
The entire Book of Hebrews is a treatise on the Kingdom Hope in harmony with the Old Testament Scriptures. Tim Warner recently wrote an exegetical commentary on the Book of Hebrews, published by PFRS, which we consider to be the magnum opus of a man who has produced a wealth of fine articles, and which the Amillennial team condemned as “bordering on blasphemy” and “an assault on the work of Christ.” This highlights just how wide and unbridgeable the chasm is between Amillennialism and Chiliasm. We do not have the space to go into the depth with the Book of Hebrews that is called for in this Topic, but we will provide a synopsis of Tim’s paper.
Chapter 1 of Hebrews deals with the superiority of Christ to the angels. This superiority is demonstrated by the prophecies of His coming Kingdom and His destiny to rule the nations as King. All of the Old Testament quotations about Him are passages regarding Christ is the Davidic King and refer to His coming Kingdom.
Chapter 2 continues to contrast Christ’s rule as King in the “the world to come” with the inferior role of the angels. The phrase “the world to come of which we speak” in verse 5 literally means “…the land, the coming one, about which we speak” confirming that the subject of the Book of Hebrews is the coming Messianic Kingdom. Chapter 2 also introduces the theme of the saints ruling with Christ in His Kingdom and the necessity of enduring.
Chapters 3 and 4 expound on Psalm 95, which was an exhortation to Israel not to follow the example of their forefathers who failed the test at Kadesh Barnea. The promise of entering the true Sabbath Rest in the Kingdom and obtaining the reward of the inheritance has never been fulfilled. Joshua did NOT give the people this rest. But it still remains for the people of God who persevere.
Chapter 6 continues the exhortation to perseverance. Only those who persevere will receive the promise that God made to Abraham. This promise consisted of two major things. First, that He would make from Abraham’s seed a great nation. Secondly, that He would give to Abraham and his offspring the Land of Canaan, from the Nile to the Euphrates as an everlasting possession. Paul exhorted his Jewish readers to persevere in placing their hope in the future fulfillment of this promise. This is the inheritance and the Sabbath rest mentioned in Chapter 4.
Chapter 7 ties the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants together using Psalm 110 and holds up Jesus as the Savior, the Priest of His people and also as the King who will rule the nations. The two covenants are inextricably bound together in the Person of Christ. It is through this Priest-King that Israel can have hope of receiving the everlasting inheritance in His coming Kingdom.
Chapter 8 shows that the inheritance is not through the Old Covenant but through the New. This chapter shows three things: 1. The temporary nature of the Law of Moses, 2. the New Covenant has come rendering the Old Covenant obsolete, and 3. the superiority of the New Covenant to the Old Covenant.
Chapter 9 contrasts the priestly rituals under the Law of Moses with the heavenly Priestly ministry of Christ under the New Covenant. The New Covenant Priesthood is as far superior to the Old Covenant priesthood as the heavenly Temple is to the earthly tabernacle. This Priesthood of Christ, according to Psalm 110, takes place during the time when “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” This necessarily anticipates the fulfillment of the remainder of the Psalm which concerns His kingly reign when He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
Chapter 10 continues to illustrate the temporary nature of the Old Covenant and the superiority of the New Covenant. The promise is held out in verses 35-39 that those who persevere will receive the promise but those who draw back through apostasy will be eternally condemned.
Chapter 11 states by way of word and example the necessity of enduring faith as the prerequisite to receiving the inheritance. It also clearly states that the future inheritance of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the resurrection is the Land of Canaan in which they formerly dwelt as mere strangers and pilgrims.
Chapter 12 ties everything together with exhortations to perseverance in view of the scene described in Isaiah 65-66 when the general assembly of the saints of Israel and the innumerable company of messengers who will proclaim the Lords fame to all the Gentiles who have not yet heard, gathers in Jerusalem upon the return of Christ. This gathering will take place in the Temple according to Haggai 2. The chapter closes as stated by Tim in his paper,
“The central focus of this passage is the final Temple in Jerusalem, which will far surpass even Solomon's Temple in its greatness. It is the Kingdom Temple. It will be constructed when Christ returns to overthrow "the power of the kings of the nations (ethnos - Gentiles)." This great "shaking" is the great tribulation and the Day of the Lord, when Christ returns to overthrow the Kingdoms of this world, and establish His glorious Kingdom. Only what cannot be shaken will remain, according to Paul. He then made this revealing statement: "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire." The "kingdom" for which Paul and his Jewish readers awaited was the one prophesied by Haggai, when "I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord Almighty. Mine is the silver, and mine the gold, saith the Lord Almighty. For the glory of this house shall be great, the latter more than the former, saith the Lord Almighty: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord Almighty."”
A Word About Hermeneutics
The Amillennial team could not address the Old Testament passages in Topic 1 except to interpret them allegorically. In their view, if the Old Testament were interpreted literally, and believed, it would be “blasphemous” and “an assault on the work of Christ.” They find it necessary, therefore, to reinterpret virtually every word in the Scriptures. According to them, all of the following words must be reinterpreted and stripped of their literal meaning to arrive at the truth: Temple, Jerusalem, Kingdom, King, Israel, Jews, Nation, Seed, Priesthood, Sacrifices, Ordinances, Circumcision, Fire, Enemy, Battles, Wars, Plagues, Wilderness, Land, Inheritance, Messiah, and numerous others. Their position effectively pits the Old Testament Scriptures versus the New Testament and they seem to think that the New Testament was written to refute the Old Testament. Even though Jesus said to the Father, “Thy Word is Truth,” Amillennialists do not believe it is truth if it is interpreted literally. They believe it is “blasphemous” and “an assault on the work of Christ” if it is interpreted literally. They believe their system is more true than the truth itself!
However they respond, we predict that they will continue to declare their system to be the truth but they will never tell us at what point in time all these words were reinterpreted. When did “inheritance” cease to mean obtaining a portion of land for an eternal possession? When did Kingdom cease to be a physical realm on this planet ruled by a King? When did “land” cease to be geographical? Thus far, they have employed the following apparent “rules” for interpretation and we exhort the reader to watch for these specific flaws in their response:
Rule 1, the Rule of OT Obsolescence: The Old Testament Scriptures are undependable as a source for doctrine because they have been superceded. They admit that they do not know what they mean and suggest that it is wrong to “speculate” on their meaning. They are best left ignored.
Rule 2, the Rule of Audience Misunderstanding in Christ’s Ministry: The Gospels are undependable as a source for doctrine because things were still being revealed in mystical language - much as in the Old Testament. Thus, audience understanding is irrelevant.
Rule 3, the Rule of Apocalyptic Triple Redundancy: Because it is so symbolic, the Apocalypse is undependable as a source for doctrine unless its details are confirmed both by the Old Testament and the Epistles.
Rule 4, the Rule of Epistolary Supremacy: The Epistles are the only dependable source for doctrine, but they can only be understood when large portions of their vocabulary are assigned meanings that are different than their meanings in other parts of the Bible. The natural approach of interpreting them in the light of prior revelation in the OT and the Gospels inevitably leads to error in their view.
Rule 5, the Rule of Reformed Enlightenment. Every prophecy in the OT that does not fit with Amillennialism has already been fulfilled mystically by Christ in his first advent.
We do not know of a single Old Testament prophecy that is contradicted or repudiated in the New Testament and hundreds are repeated and confirmed – many more than we can possible cover in this short paper. From the Gospels through the Epistles, we have observed perfect harmony and continuity and a single hope for the saints presented in both Testaments. That hope is the earthly reign of the Messiah in Jerusalem, sitting on the throne of David and ruling over the nations after His Second Coming.
When words and expressions are allowed to retain their normal meanings, and the New Testament is interpreted objectively and literally, no difficulties or contradictions arise, the New Testament passages make perfect sense and this sense harmonizes with the Old Testament Scriptures. We believe the Word of God (both Old and New Testaments) to be the literal truth. The Amillennial team does not believe this. They denounce the literal interpretation of the Scriptures as a blasphemous lie. Does it not seem strange that God should conceal the truth in the form of a lie? And a “blasphemous” lie at that? Yet that is the inevitable conclusion of Amillennialism. To them, the Bible only becomes the truth after it is mystically reinterpreted. This is the unbridgeable chasm that exists between our two systems.
Posted 01 April 2006 - 04:03 PM
The Premillennial team entitled this topic in such a way as to give the impression that it contained the long-awaited biblical evidence of a future 1,000 yrs period following the Second Coming of the Lord that sees the continuation of the curse in all its varying facets. After reading their introduction, the reader would have expected NT passages that supported their theory of a millennial kingdom after the Coming of Christ. However, they failed to present one single passage to support their elaborate hypothesis.
There were no ‘1,000 years passages' or proof that all the bondage of corruption (in the form of sin, death and decay) survives the Second Advent.
There was no evidence that the wicked and this current corrupt earth will endure beyond the Second Advent.
Consequently, there was no evidence provided that would suggest that mortals will continue to thrive upon this glorified earth following the Second Coming.
All they proved was that Christ is coming in all His glory to set up His kingdom upon a renewed earth. Much of their post was in proving that a glorious kingdom would arrive at the Second Advent that would see the kingship of Christ upon the earth. This is something that the Amillennial team also believes, and which the New Testament passages they presented confirm. We have no issue with them in relation to the impending hope of Christ setting up his righteous rule on this earth after His appearing. The passages speaking of the kingdom in all its glory and the judgment of the redeemed over the wicked (that they quote) are fundamental tenets of Amillennial teaching.
The Premils have only presented vague points of consideration favoring a partial freedom, a local removal of the curse, a limited lifting of the bondage of corruption, and a for the most part, an earthly environment that is pretty much similar to what we have today. From our perspective, we see the new earth as a place where every enemy of God’s perfect righteous order will be eliminated with the fiery regeneration of this earth and the final destruction of the wicked at His appearing. Premillennialism rejects this wonderful scriptural hope as occurring at His return. They look for an earth that has an environment little better than this current one. However, we believe, the Coming of the Lord will usher in the full manifestation of the glorified kingdom on a renewed earth in all its wonderful and glorious perfection. The earth will be eternally freed from all the bondage of corruption.
The kingdom Premillennialists speak of bares no resemblance to that as outlined in Scripture. In fact, the Premill Kingdom with its characteristics and detail are in complete contradiction to that taught in the New Testament. The kingdom that the premillennial team describes is not found in any of the passages they present. They simply outline the glorious hope that Amillennialists desire of the glorious appearing of Christ’s perfect, pristine, peaceful, harmonious, bondage-free kingdom, although, despite their best efforts, they fail to find any NT coat-peg to hang their flawed premillennial coat. Consequently, they advance no NT passage (including Revelation 20) that shows the re-introduction of the old covenant system of worship and mode of administration that they long for. Neither do they present any proof texts to show the age to come will be spoiled by the bondage of corruption. They fail to show the slightest passage that would suggest the wicked will inhabit the new earth, yet, they imagine that the NT supports their paradign.
In Topic 1, we presented a case for Chiliasm from the harmony of the Old Testament Scriptures. Every detail of every event prophesied in these Scriptures, when interpreted literally, harmonize together perfectly without contradiction and are fully accounted for within the Chiliast position. What we propose to do in this paper is to show that the harmony contained in the Old Testament flows with seamless continuity into New Testament.
We cannot disregard the Premillennial team’s continued use of the Chiliast title. We find this remarkable, especially after the last topic so conclusively showed the Premillennial team’s lack of evidence to support this opinion. In fact, the only Early Church Fathers they could present in the whole discussion that in any way supported their paradigm was Lactantius, who we discovered based his Premillennialism solely upon the manuscripts of the Sibyl prophetesses. The only other early writer that supported modern-day Premillennialism was the heretic Cerinthus.
Whilst we can understand their desperate (and persistent) efforts to parade themselves as Chiliasts we equally find their boast wrong and even misleading. We also find their persistence ironic because if they were in fact what they claimed to be then they would immediately have to abandon their Dispensationalism and their modern-day Premillennialism. They would indeed believe, like the Amillennial team, in a climactic Coming of Christ that sees the eternal elimination of every last vestige of the fall. But they don’t. They believe the opposite. They believe in a millennial kingdom that grows in sin, death and rebellion culminating in wickedness and the wicked surrounding the saints of God. Moreover, and most concerning they re-introduce the old covenant after its abolishment for nearly 2,000 yrs.
Our premise is simply this: The hope and the expectation of the saints is the same in both Testaments.
The Scriptures make it clear that the hope for them is:
"the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel" (Colossians 1:5).
Premillennialism is constantly looking to an earthly temporal inheritance, whereas Scripture tells us to look to a heavenly eternal one. Our hope is found in heaven. Our hope is Christ and the spiritual life we find in Him. Where do the Scriptures correctly place the hope of any human being? We believe it is in knowing that:
"being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:7).
That eternal life is not an abstract possession, it is Christ. Jesus said in John 14:6,
"I am the way, the truth, and the life"
I Peter 1:3 declares,
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you."
Again, our hope is found in Christ and what He has secured for us. Again, our hope is found in heaven.
I Peter 1:23-25 tells us that we are
"born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever."
So you can see, our hope according to the Scriptures is in what Christ has done for us. It is "our hope in eternal life" and "our lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away," and that "our hope might be in God," and of things that are incorruptible "which liveth and abideth for ever" not of "corruptible seed" nor glory in temporal, corruptible things like land or grass or flowers that withereth or falleth away. We will continue to affirm this hope and remind the reader themselves, to continue in the "lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" as opposed to the Premillennial inheritence that will continue to focus on a corruptible, defiled, and fading temporal inheritance where sin and death still plague humanity upon the earth following the Second Coming. The Premil team is looking for and allotment of land in physical Israel, we are looking for Christ and all the eternal blessings that will emanate from Him. He is our inheritance, He is our peace, He is our Promised Land.
In the old economy, Canaan was viewed as the Promised Land the earthly place of rest of the people of God. However, it only served as an imperfect temporal signpost to the eternal rest that is found in Christ. This is seen in Hebrews 3:14, 4:1-3, 9-11. The writer contrasts the physical land in the OT to the spiritual land in the NT, saying, "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end ... For we which have believed do enter into rest ... There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his (Christ's) rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."
For anyone to possess a land everlasting, they themselves must be everlasting, and they must have possession of that land without interruption. Only Christ has everlasting possession, because only Christ is eternal and all omnipotent. Through Christ, were the promises given and were the promises fulfilled. The everlasting promises to Abraham and to his descendants were not of a physical nature that corrupts and fades away, where moth doth eat and rust doth corrode; no, they were spiritual in nature; for the Spirit of Christ is everlasting, and as Christ gives "everlasting life" so does He give everlasting possessions. If these geographical boundaries are still in place and are eternal then they must remain for all eternity – even after the conflagration and the introduction of the eternal state (the New Heavens and the New Earth). Is that not what eternal means?
The Kingdom Hope in the Birth Narratives
Luke 1:68-69 declares, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David."
The Premil team realize that Jesus would fulfill the Davidic Covenant where God "promised one of his descendants will sit upon the Throne of David and rule over the nation of Israel." What they don’t realize is that Jesus assumed that at the resurrection.
Luke 1:32-33 also says, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
The millennium doctrine contradicts the above verse in that it teaches that the Lord's Kingdom will merely last exactly 1,000 years. Luke seems to feel that it will last much longer. They think Jesus will reign in earthly Jerusalem for the 1000 years, but Scripture indicates that Jesus actually reigns from the throne of David "forever." This is a major difference between Amil and Premil. Amils believe Christ's reign was to be eternal from His assumption of David's throne at the resurrection.
The Kingdom Hope in the Teachings of Jesus
Christ told us the kingdom was NOT of this world. John 18:36 records, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."
He told us the kingdom cannot be ‘observed’ but was rather within us. Luke 17:20-21 confirms, And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
He told us we must be born ‘of the spirit’ to enter it, not born of racial pedigree. John 3:5-6 says, "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
He told us that at His return, He will take the tares "from" out of the kingdom and cast them in a furnace of fire. Obviously the kingdom is in existance before His return. Matthew 13:41-43 says, "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
The Kingdom Hope in Acts
The book of Acts starts off with a bold statement about our hope, it tells humanity that our hope is in the resurrection of Christ. In fact, it is even more revealing than that. It tells us that King David of old held this too as his hope. His hope was not to be reinstituted as a monarch in Jerusalem. His hope was to partake of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Acts 2:22 says, "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. "
Acts 23:6, 24:14 says, "But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust."
Acts 26:6 records, "And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?"
It is clear that the hope found in the book of Acts is not an earthly political kingdom. It is not an earthly governmental rulership over unbelieving citizens. It is not a return to the Davidic Monarchy. It is the hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ so that all who follow and trust Him may enter like a little child into His Kingdom.
The Kingdom Hope in the Epistles
The Premill Team included in their initial post, a similarly titled section as this. However, they spent the initial portion of that section stating things that we, the Amill team would agree with such as:
"Those who live in an immoral, ungodly way, practicing sin, will not inherit the kingdom. "
"When Jesus comes, He will judge and reward each one of us for the things we have done."
"There is no profit in expending one’s life storing up earthly riches, which will be left behind at death. We should rather be expending our lives storing up heavenly riches which will be ours in the resurrection and for eternity."
"Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to walk worthy of God who has called us into His kingdom and glory. This is powerful motivation to endure suffering and persecution."
The Premill team wrote:
"We demonstrated that this expression ("inheriting the kingdom")has the same meaning in both Testaments, that is, receiving an allotted portion of land for a possession on the restored earth"
However, this type of short-sidedness puts God in a box, and relegates Him to a real-estate broker with limited vision and aspirations. The epistles constantly inform us that the kingdom relates to an eternal inheritance. It is never depicted as not an earthly parcel of land, a temporal inheritance - limited in size, scope, and allotment (as the Premill Team expect). Hebrews 9:15 confirms, "he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
John stated it even more clearly (removing all of the limits, weaknesses, shortcomings, and corruptibility that the Premill team define our inheritance by), as simply, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things"
Peter agrees, saying, "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:4)
Now, which inheritance is desirous?
(1) The true inheritance that Scripture describes and provides as its expectation (which is expressly an eternal inheritance), unlimited, that contains all things. An incorruptible, undefiled inheritance that fadeth not away.
(2) The inferior limited inheritance that the Premill team looks for (which is nothing but a temporal earthly kingdom that continues to contain sin, death, rebellion, and corruption) that is not much different than what we have today.
To continue what Peter, John, and the Hebrew writer told us above where we shall "shall inherit all things; the promise of eternal inheritance; an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away" we also find the Epistles describe an earthly kingdom where:
I Corinthians 6:9 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." This is starkly different than the Premil's earthly kingdom which will contain all of these things among its dissidents who escaped the winepress of the wrath of Almighty God at Christ's return.
I Corinthians 15:50 "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."
OK. The Premill team would say their Kingdom doesn't contain flesh and blood, and go into some contrived commentary on how the word inherit will allow both righteous Christians and wicked mortal sinners to co-exist upon the Premill earth after the 2nd Coming, and only 'the good guys' really inheriting the kingdom. But out of the other side of the Premill mouth on other occasions, they will claim that the entire Earth is the Premill Kingdom. Which is it? It depends. Premill is stuck whichever way it chooses, so it waffles and shifts and dodges this verse. Bottom-line, Premill at times talks about the kingdom and the earthly reign of Christ, then at other times limits Christ's kingdom not to the earth as the inheritance (since it is full of wicked mortal sinners), but only Jerusalem or the borders of Israel. Premill simply cannot be consistent with its kingdom borders, albeit it must continuously limit them to some degree or another; depending on which O.T. prophecy it is misusing to bolster itself at the time.
Ephesians 1:13 says, "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
Paul tells us here, that the earnest of our inheritance is "the gospel of your salvation ... the Holy Spirit of promise" Premils disagree, saying, it is a few thousand acres in northwest of Egypt where the bulls and goats will be slaughtered for the sin offerings of the mortals living there. Also, the biblical inheritance and kingdom which Paul says in the Colossians is only concerned with the blood of His dear Son, not Premill animal sacrificial blood for sin offerings and purification.
Colossians 1:12 declares, Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins"
Romans 14:17 tells us, "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
Paul instructed Timothy in 4:1: "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom "
Premillenialism postpones the judgment of Christ from His appearing to a thousand years later (or 1007 depending on the flavor of Premillennialism) in direct conflict with this verse. Never mind that Christ throughout the gospels told the judgment would accompany His return, and John likewise, throughout Revelation. Premillenialism must split the judgment up - one little judgement for a small subset of humanity at Christ's Appearing, and another judgment for all of the wicked who populated the earthly kingdom as sand of the sea. This last judgment occurs after the failed Premill kingdom of peace and prosperity era is over.
When does Timothy's account above, tell you, the reader, that Christ's judgment will occur?
James gives the lie to the claim of wicked mortals inhabiting the kingdom, and the inheritance relating to dirt-soil. He says, "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?"
Do those that love Him, who He promised His kingdom to be heirs of inherit the entire earth. Remember Matthew 5:5 says, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." So do the heirs above who have inherited the earth have to move in next-door to all of the wicked sinners who populate the nations surrounding the globe. Or do they not really inherit the earth, but are relegated into staying within the safe and pristine confines of Israel only?
The Kingdom Characteristics at/after the Second Coming
There are vast differences in the characteristics of the Kingdom at/after the Second Coming when contrasting the Premillennial expectations with the biblical and ECF expectations. The Premillennial kingdom on the earth at/after the Second Coming allows sin, death, rebellion, wars, and bondage to continue. Moreso, it grows amongst the population of those living on planet earth so that by the end of the Premill Kingdom, it encompasses billions of people. People on earth are subjegated against their will and are punished and forced to be obedient to Christ, or be dealt with harshly, tortured, if not outright slain for disobedience.
No true period of peace, no true escape from bondage, no true restitution of all things, nor a true return to a pristine earth can occur in this environment within the Premillennial Kingdom.
The Premill team has spoken in prior debate submissions of their vision of the Kingdom as being:
"the material world was created perfect, was cursed because of sin, but will one day be restored to the state that God originally designed it"
"the physical creation will be redeemed from the bondage of corruption"
"The material world in which we live was created perfect but fell under a curse because of man's sin. Our earnest expectation is that according to God's promise, it will one day be restored to the state in which God originally designed it. Man was created to dwell on this earth and the destiny and hope of believers is Christ's coming eschatological Kingdom in which the physical creation will be redeemed from the bondage of corruption. When Christ returns, we will be judged and given our reward and inheritance in His kingdom."
The Premill team in some of their writings even attempt to portray the concept that the plant and animal kingom as being restored at the Second Coming. They are certainly doing their best to find some aspect of creation that is restored and redeemed at the Second Coming so to minimize the many passages that portray this. They even go so far in their writings to envision the earth itself, along with its plant and animal life, to be thoroughly purged of the curse at the Second Coming. (as is cited below) (They have this part right, and we praise them for it!)
However, humanity alone, in their model, remains under bodage to sin, death and the curse. (Supposedly, however, getting better and better as the 1000 year period goes by, with more peace, more serenity, no disease, no sickness, expanded lifespans, and more restoration within humanity culminating at the end of that 1000 year period.
There immediate removal of the curse upon plant and animal, upon the physical earth itself and their delayed yet progressive removal of the curse upon humanity is seen clearly in their own writings:
"there will apparently be great changes in the instinctive natures and in the organic physiology of the beasts of the earth. They will no longer hurt or destroy. Indeed, it is barely possible to imagine to what extent the animal and plant kingdoms have been affected by the curse. But both will be restored to their pristine state at the Second Coming of Christ. "
"Upon His return, He will redeem more of His creation, including the removal of the curse from the physical earth and the elimination of sickness and disease."
"Our view is that Jesus rules during the millennial kingdom with a rod of iron, and we rule with Him during the kingdom while mortals are under subjection. Sin and evil, while potential, are deeply under suppression"
"the hope and destiny of believers is the coming eschatological Kingdom of Christ in which the restoration of all things, including the physical creation, will occur. This restoration of all things will first be manifested in a 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth in literal fulfillment of the prophecies, covenants and promises to Israel "
"in the Millennium, children will be born into a perfect world because the curse will have been removed."
"At the end of the Millennium, whatever remains of the curse will be removed "
What is troubling however, in taking that type of a isolated view upon humanity, is that as the Premill view waffles on the restoration, the redemption from bondage, and the removal of the curse upon creation. Premillennialism does not allow it to occur at the Second Coming; but claims rather, it occurs over a long period of time, a 1000 year process of 'cleaning up the world' so to speak, in which peace, a pristine society, and harmony will eventually be learned and arrived at -- culminating (not at the Second Coming) but 1000 years later, after their process has completed its duration and course. This is more reminiscent to the popular 19th century Whitby Utopian Postmillennial view, but not all of the peaceful, restored, and harmonious claims are what they truly appear to be when you look at all of the inhabitants of the earth during the Premil kingdom.
With sin, death, oppression, and rebellion still plaguing humanity within the Premill kingdom earth's realm....they have created a society that is fundamentally no different that the society that is present today upon the earth, and has always existed. They have found no glorious age, no restoration from the bondage of corruption, no time of peace and learning and instruction that the so dearly want to supplant within their Premill Kingdom expectations.
A simple application of scripture onto their vision of the Premill Kingdom has exactly the opposite effect. We don't see a society of peace at the end of the Premill Kingdom. We don't see humanity reaping the benefits of a 1000 year restoration towards peace and harmony.We don't see humanity that has forgotten to make war, and that is no longer rebellious against God. What do we see at the end of the 1000 year Premill Kingdom, according to their interpretation of Scriptures? We see this:
Revelation 20:7 records, "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them."
The entire Premill Kingdom thesis dies at the hands of its placement of Revelation 20:7-9 because to muster a wicked army that large from a supposedly peaceful, Christ-following utopianly restored, pristine kingdom as it is portrayed to be, is two-faced and completely in opposition to the type of Kingdom Premillennialism attempts to paint itself as. What the Premill Kingdom ends up being is an outward looking veneer that seems to be finished in peace and harmony and servanthood and obedience, but under the skin, is plagued by sin, and rebellion, and contempt and hatred of the Lord and Christ.
Matthew 13:41 says, "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. "
This passage isn't compatible with the Premill kingdom view. The earth shall continue to harbor 'them which do iniquity' and shall continue to be an abode for 'all things that offend' during the Premill Kingdom.
Matthew 13:49 says, "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
This passage isn't compatible with the Premill Kingdom view. Because the wicked are not 'severed from among the just'; but allowed to thrive among them (or at least be subjegated underneath them) to one day rebel and uprise to muster the cast wicked army at the end of the Premill Kingdom that is numbered as the sands of the seas.
Matthew 25:31 says, "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"
This passage isn't compatible with the Premill Kingdom view. For the Premill Kingdom has an earthly kingdom with an 'open borders policy' where the goats too are found throughout its kingdom throughout the 1000 year period.
The Premil team outlined some general statements in their intro that we fully concur with. Where we find disagreement with the Premill view is when we carefully examine the Premillennial method of interpretation in the light of such commendable principles. We witness time after time how Premillennialism misapplies OT passages by forcing an old covenant understanding upon them, even though they relate to a period after Calvary. The Premillennial interpretations therefore become and remain in constant conflict with the meaning placed upon them by the NT writers.
The Bible says, "And he (God) shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution (or reconstitution) of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:20-21)
The Premillennial team believe that, ‘the heaven must receive Jesus Christ until the times of restitution of some things’.
The Bible says, "the end of all things is at hand" 1 Peter 4:7).
The Premillennial team holds that, "the end of some things is at hand."
The Bible confirms, the heavenly Jerusalem will descend to a new regenerated earth "wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13).
The Premillennial team believe, the heavenly Jerusalem will descend to a new regenerated earth "wherein dwelleth righteousness and unrighteousness"
The Bible makes it explicitly clear, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption" (I Corinthians 15:50).
The Premillennial team holds "flesh and blood can inherit the kingdom of God; and corruption doth inherit incorruption."
The Bible says, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
The Premillennial argue, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God?"
Posted 10 May 2006 - 09:59 AM
Chiliasm holds that the material world was created perfect, was cursed because of sin, but will one day be restored to the state that God originally designed it. Chiliasts believe that man was created to dwell on this earth and that the destiny and hope of believers is Christ's coming eschatological Kingdom in which the physical creation will be redeemed from the bondage of corruption, our vile bodies will be resurrected and glorified and the Messiah will reign over this world in a Kingdom that will never pass away…
The curse will be lifted from the physical earth and consequently there will be no thorns or briars and the desert will blossom as the rose (Is 35).
Among other details of this passage, we are told of changes that will occur in the natural order. Verses 6-9 tell us that the venom and fierceness now part of the animal kingdom will be no more. In “the restoration of all things” there will apparently be great changes in the instinctive natures and in the organic physiology of the beasts of the earth. They will no longer hurt or destroy. Indeed, it is barely possible to imagine to what extent the animal and plant kingdoms have been affected by the curse. But both will be restored to their pristine state at the Second Coming of Christ…
The curse on the physical world and the animal kingdom will be removed…
We know of no Premillennialist, ancient or modern, who taught that the curse and corruption would continue on the earth after the Second Coming. This is a distortion of our view…
Biblical history is the history of redemption and this redemption takes place in stages. Every age is a progressive unfolding of this plan. It started when God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals before they left the Garden. We see it when Noah find’s grace in the eyes of the Lord. God’s ultimate plan for redemption begins to be manifested with the call of Abraham. When Christ came, He redeemed a remnant called to proclaim “the Gospel of the Kingdom.” Upon His return, He will redeem more of His creation, including the removal of the curse from the physical earth and the elimination of sickness and disease. At the end of the Millennium, whatever remains of the curse will be removed when the final enemy, death, is abolished.
When Adam sinned, the whole creation was subjected by God to futility. But in the Millennium, children will be born into a perfect world because the curse will have been removed. One who sins will be accursed and suffer death, but the earth will not be cursed as a result.
Despite this crystal clarity, the Amillennial team opened their last submission with this rant…
There were no ‘1,000 years passages' or proof that all the bondage of corruption (in the form of sin, death and decay) survives the Second Advent.
This is a excellent example of why there will be no Topic 4 in this debate. It seems that no matter what we say or how clearly we say it, the Amillennial team continually distorts and misrepresents us (just as they are now doing with the ECFs) and thus we are forced to constantly restate our position to correct these mischaracterizations. This is the tactic of desperation. Because they cannot deal forthrightly with our position or with the passages with which we have explained and defended it, they must first distort it and set up their straw men.
This debate could have been an edifying exercise for both sides, as well as potential readers, stimulating better understanding of the two positions and providing a serious tool for objective comparison. Instead it has become a shameful display and we believe no godly purpose would be served by continuing it. So we will content ourselves to finish this round and allow them to have the last word.
No. What we clearly proved was that the kingdom He is coming to set up is the very same kingdom prophesied in the OT, thus there is continuity and harmony between the two Testaments. Furthermore, we proved that the hope of the NT saints is the same as that of the OT saints. This showed that there wasn’t a sudden transition from a literal to a mystical interpretation of the Messianic Kingdom.
Premillennialists believe in a continuity and harmony between the hope expressed in the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures. Amillennialists are the ones who believe in a discontinuity. Our purpose in this topic was to explain why we believe in this continuity. It is incumbent on them, if they wish to seriously address this topic, to explain when, why, how and by whom the discontinuity was introduced. They have not done that.
Actually, the Amillennial presentation of our position is a straw man, which they have erected, so that they could make this claim. They have not yet attempted to refute what we believe. They only try to refute the straw man.
We have repeatedly affirmed that the Mosaiac Covenant (which is the only covenant the Scriptures ever call “old”) has been abolished and will never be reinstituted. The New Covenant (prophesied in the Old Testament Scriptures and instituted in the New) has entirely superceded it. But besides being a distortion, these types of comments are offensive and make it very difficult to want to read through their posts. Only people who are already prejudiced against the Premillennial view could read such a thing without taking offense.
Of course, we have never said or implied that the Millennial Kingdom “grows in sin, death… etc” This is one of many examples of how they mischaracterize Premillennialism. Satan is bound and righteousness flourishes in the kingdom. Any sin that occurs is immediately punished; there is no growth or proliferation of any of this stuff. It is only when Satan is released after the 1,000 years is finished, and he deceives people, that a final rebellion occurs.
However, we do in fact believe that there is growth or progress in the kingdom. What kind of growth is this? It is mentioned in Isaiah 9:7.
Of the increase of His dominion and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
What will grow and increase during the coming kingdom age are His dominion and peace. In stark contrast, what grows and increases during the present age in which we live are deception and corruption.
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
5 having a form of godliness but denying its power…
13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3
So how can His dominion or rule increase in the Kingdom age? How can peace increase? These can only increase if the inhabitants of the earth are learning righteousness and if his foes are being subdued. This is in harmony with every Scripture we have presented, which all describe Him as coming to rule the nations “with a rod of iron.”
Of course, for this very reason, they cannot admit that this passage (Isaiah 9:7) refers to the second coming of Christ to establish His kingdom, because there is no room for “growth and increase” in their concept of the kingdom. In their view, everything is instantly realized in the “one future, all-consummating, climactic etc…” Thus, they will be forced to conclude that Isaiah 9:7 refers to the first coming, which makes for great Christmas music, but is woefully superficial and completely ignores the context.
Of course, we do not hold any such view and have never said anything remotely like that. Our view is one of increasing glory, increasing dominion and increasing peace. There was the glory of Jesus when He came to earth, and more glory after He rose from the dead. There will be more glory at the Second Coming, when Jesus comes to reign on the earth, and finally at the end, when Jesus destroys the last enemy and delivers all to the Father, there will be even more glory.
For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
27 For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.
28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. 1 Co 15:25-28
Statements like this imply that we care nothing for the presence of our Lord. This is extremely offensive and intentionally misleading. We are not looking for an allotment of land – we are looking for Jesus. The allotment of land relates to the inheritance, but it isn’t as if we’re longing for a piece of land rather than the presence of Jesus Christ. This kind of language is designed to incite disgust toward our view, but it is misleading.
It also gives the appearance of saying something when in fact it is meaningless. What exactly do they mean when they say, “Jesus is our inheritance … He is our promised land”? The word “land” implies a place. But Jesus is a Person, not a place. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5). He did not supplement this promise with any statement like, “By the way, I am the earth.” So, the Amillennial team’s assertion that “Jesus is our promised land” is unintelligible.
Is this the doctrine that we have expressed? No, it is not. This is yet another gross mischaracterization. Here is what we have said in this debate.
Chiliasts believe that man was created to dwell on this earth and that the destiny and hope of believers is Christ's coming eschatological Kingdom in which the physical creation will be redeemed from the bondage of corruption, our vile bodies will be resurrected and glorified and the Messiah will reign over this world in a Kingdom that will never pass away.
In Topic 1
Moreover, our vile bodies will be resurrected and glorified and the Messiah will reign over this world in a Kingdom that will never pass away.
The 1,000 years is a particular dispensation of the reign of Christ, not the whole of His reign. Jesus reigns now, He will reign during the Millennium, and He will reign forever and ever. The purpose of the millennium is to fulfill particular promises given in Scripture, including the promise that Messiah would rule the nations with a rod of iron. Additionally, according to Revelation 20, the period of 1000 years is the length of time between the resurrection of the just and the general resurrection immediately preceding the Great White Throne Judgment.
The Amillennialist here is overlooking one glaring fact, and that is that the Resurrection is physical. One cannot separate a physical resurrection from a physical inheritance because the two are inextricably bound together in both Testaments. We demonstrated this extensively in Topic 2. This is where the allotment of land comes in. The Amillennialist cannot get away from the fact that the inheritance and the kingdom, is spiritual and physical, not mystical.
Once again, Amil team continues to mischaracterize Premillennialism. The inheritance is eternal, not temporal! As for the size, scope and allotment, this is determined at the judgment seat of Christ. We will not all receive the same reward. Some will be rewarded richly and some will be saved “yet so as through fire.” To deny this is to argue against a major theme of Scripture:
11 For He repays man according to his work,
And makes man to find a reward according to his way.
12 Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy;
For You render to each one according to his work.
12 If you say, "Surely we did not know this,"
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
10 "Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them,
For they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him,
For the reward of his hands shall be given him.
10 I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.
19 You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.
41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward."
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds"
1 Corinthians 3:8
8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15
Each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward . 15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
2 Corinthians 5:10
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
1 Peter 1:17
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
12 Jesus Testifies to the Churches
"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
All believers receive eternal life. The overcomers receive ‘all things’ collectively, not each one individually. Each believer receives specific additional reward (or losses!) for his own works. The rewards received are incorruptible, eternal, undefiled, and reserved in heaven until the day of Judgment when each one of us will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and give an account for our deeds, then receive what is due us for what we have done. Those who presume to teach the Word are specifically warned in this regard. And for this reason, all the current parties should all take special heed:
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
(1) The true inheritance that Scripture describes and provides as its expectation (which is expressly an eternal inheritance), unlimited, that contains all things. An incorruptible, undefiled inheritance that fadeth not away.
(2) The inferior limited inheritance that the Premill team looks for (which is nothing but a temporal earthly kingdom that continues to contain sin, death, rebellion, and corruption) that is not much different than what we have today.
This is an egregious mischaracterization of the Premillennial position, and one that the Amillennial team persists and insists on repeating. The Premillennial position is not that we hope for the shoddy sort of straw man that they continually present. We have repeatedly corrected their false claims about Premillennialism. At this point we can only assume that they are deliberately mischaracterizing our position for the express purpose of caricaturing it, in order that the Premillennial view will look as bad as possible so that their view will have more credibility to their readers. One has to ask why such a mischaracterization would be necessary if they are so confident their position is the true one? Persisting in this type of behavior reflects on their character as much as on their exegesis.
The Amillennial (Calvinistic) view is that everyone is guilty of such crimes whether they have committed them or not. But this is not supposed to be a debate over Calvinism. The Premillennial view does not hold that the unrighteous will inherit the kingdom. Only those who are believers will inherit the kingdom. The wicked will be destroyed at Christ’s coming. But the Scriptures do not sum up the entire population of the world under these two categories. This is simply the assumption of Calvinism.
Those mortals who are in ignorance - rather than willful rebellion against God - who have not heard the gospel or were too young to understand it, will populate the new earth in the Millennium. These are not wicked people who will grow in evil until the final rebellion. Their eyes will be open and they will live in an Edenic world, like what Adam and Eve knew before the fall. They will be surrounded by the teaching of God’s truth and Satan will be unable to deceive them. He will not be able to “take away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). He will not be able to “blind their minds, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:4). They will not be “taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). These conditions will prevail throughout the Millennium with the result that the vast majority of the world’s people will joyfully turn to the Lord and seek Him in humility and in truth. In contrast to the Amillennial team’s caricature, here is how the Scriptures describe it:
20 “Thus says the LORD of hosts:
‘ Peoples shall yet come,
Inhabitants of many cities;
21 The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying,
“ Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD,
And seek the LORD of hosts.
I myself will go also.”
22 Yes, many peoples and strong nations
Shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem,
And to pray before the LORD.’
23 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’” Zechariah 8
This state will prevail until after the 1,000 years are finished, and only then will Satan be released to once again deceive the nations “for a short time.”
Paul tells us here, that the earnest of our inheritance is "the gospel of your salvation ... the Holy Spirit of promise" Premils disagree, saying, it is a few thousand acres in northwest of Egypt where the bulls and goats will be slaughtered for the sin offerings of the mortals living there
The Amillennial team misunderstands this passage. “The earnest of our inheritance” is a way of saying, “the guarantee that we shall receive our inheritance.” An “earnest” is a deposit. We received the Holy Spirit as a deposit, as a guarantee. We received the Holy Spirit because we believed the gospel of our salvation. Salvation alone is not the inheritance. Every believer receives eternal life, but each person’s individual inheritance in addition to his salvation, is given according to his works. Once again, the Amillennial team does not honestly address the issue but chooses rather to mischaracterize the Premillennial position in order to make a caricature of it and ridicule it.
Premillenialism postpones the judgment of Christ from His appearing to a thousand years later (or 1007 depending on the flavor of Premillennialism) in direct conflict with this verse…. Premillenialism must split the judgment up - one little judgement for a small subset of humanity at Christ's Appearing, and another judgment for all of the wicked who populated the earthly kingdom as sand of the sea.
This is not correct. The Premillennial view has two judgments, corresponding to the two resurrections. The First resurrection is the resurrection of the just, who are raised to stand before the Judgment seat of Christ. This includes every believer from Adam to the last martyr of the Tribulation, in addition to all believers who are alive and remain at His coming. The general resurrection occurs after the millennium. This resurrection includes all the wicked including any who died during the Millennium or the rebellion at the end. All who are alive at that time will also be judged. In each case, people are judged for their works, but those who are raised at the First Resurrection and judged at that time will not be subject to the Second Death. Those who are judged at the Great White Throne are subject to the second death.
The Amillennial team knows this is the Premillennial view but seems unwilling to acknowledge it, in order to mischaracterize and present the Premillennial view in as poor a light as possible. This is not honest debate, and it is not Christian. The Apostle teaches:
Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. Eph 4:25
6 These are the things you shall do:
Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;
Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace;
17 Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor;
And do not love a false oath.
For all these are things that I hate,'
Says the LORD." Zec 8:16-17
This has become exceedingly tiresome and this is precisely why we choose to end our participation in this debate. According to the Scriptures we have quoted, sin and death are rare, and there is no rebellion or war. The great blessings of the kingdom are a joy and a rejoicing! It is at the end of the 1,000 years that Satan is released to deceive and to instigate a rebellion, as described in Revelation 20. The Amillennial team continues to dishonestly misrepresent the Premillennial view, and does so in a nearly slanderous fashion throughout this entire post.
More misrepresentation, in order to make the Premil view look evil, in order to slander it. This is not the view we have presented.
This straw man argument is so very tiresome. The Amil team conveniently leaves out the fact that according to the passage they brought up (Revelation 20), Satan is bound during the millennium and unable to deceive. Satan is released from his imprisonment in the Abyss 1000 years after the resurrection of the just. He then goes out to deceive the people into rebelling against Christ. The Amillennial team’s thesis is what dies at Revelation 20.
The Scriptures never describe the Kingdom the way the Amillennial team portrays it. According to the Scriptures, the peace, justice and righteousness that characterize that age will not be just “an outward looking veneer” any more than the elimination of disease and infirmity will be phony or the removal of the bondage of corruption will be a sham. According to Scripture, these blessings will be real and genuine.
16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
And righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
17 The work of righteousness will be peace,
And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.
18 My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation,
In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. Isaiah 32
Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
“ Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
With the recompense of God;
He will come and save you.”
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the dumb sing.
For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,
And streams in the desert.
7 The parched ground shall become a pool,
And the thirsty land springs of water;
In the habitation of jackals, where each lay,
There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
8 A highway shall be there, and a road,
And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it,
But it shall be for others.
Whoever walks the road, although a fool,
Shall not go astray. Isaiah 35
There is a great irony in this debate. All the passages that we have been quoting throughout this debate speak of the Messiah’s reign on the throne of His glory; of righteousness, peace and justice; of the elimination of disease and infirmity; of the redemption of the creation from the bondage of corruption; of the restoration of the earth to Edenic conditions; of the binding of Satan and the elimination of deception. These passages are all interpreted by Amillennialists as referring to this present age. But isn’t the present age marked by deception, suffering, injustice, conflict, disease, apostasy and wickedness? So here is the irony: the Amillennialists apply these passages to the present age, which is truly “plagued by sin, and rebellion, and contempt and hatred of the Lord and Christ” and tell us that they cannot be applied to the Kingdom age because that would cause it to be “plagued by sin, and rebellion, and contempt and hatred of the Lord and Christ.” It would seem then, that no matter WHEN one takes the fulfillment of these passages, the Amillennialist cannot allow them to mean what they say! To him, they mean the exact opposite of what they say!
These passages speak of peace, justice and holiness, but he cannot accept that; he sees only war, injustice and wickedness in them, regardless of WHEN they are fulfilled. This is so deeply ingrained in him that he cannot even contemplate or imagine a world that looks like what these passages describe. That is why he has habitually distorted and misrepresented our position in this debate. In his mind, such a world as these passages describe simply CANNOT exist, not even for the hypothetical purpose of serious consideration or honest debate. Something in his theology prevents it from being imaginable. The problem here is a simple one. It is that of bending the Scriptures to fit one’s theology rather than bending one’s theology to fit the Scriptures.
Sigh… What the amillennial team ironically calls “short-sidedness” we call “faith.” And we define “faith” as simply believing that God means what He says. God says He will keep all His promises; that He will not alter the Word that has gone out of His lips. And according to the Amillennial team, because we believe this, we “put God in a box.” God says that He will redeem and restore His creation; that He will restore His chosen people to the Land He promised them; that He will give the meek an inheritance on the earth. And according to the Amillennial team, because we believe this, we “relegate Him to a real-estate broker with limited vision and aspirations.”
Well, that is enough for us. One can only endure so much mockery and scoffing. We are finished with this thing that has been called a debate. In closing, I (Roger) personally want to thank Tanya and Chris for their participation in this labor. I have learned a great deal from them and it has been a genuine pleasure working with them.
Posted 29 August 2006 - 06:24 PM
In Conclusion to this final debate point entitled, "The Harmony of the Scriptures", the Amill team believes that there is no better way to wrap up this point, and summarize the entire debate, than to remind the reader of what the scriptures themselves say regarding the important endtime events. We seek no glory. We seek no acclaim. We seek no personal vindication. We carry no agenda. Our desire solely, is that the word of God go out, as the Lord Himself gave to Isaiah, "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done" Isaiah 46:10
We believe fully, that the Scriptures are harmonious. They are our foundation, model, and framework. As Paul the Apostle stated - “what saith the scripture?” (Romans 4:3).
We do not approach them with a pre-defined framework, and then attempt to coherce the scriptures into fitting our framework, but rather, to simple receive the harmonious teachings of the scriptures, and allow them to determine our understanding, so that the true and faithful framework God has already supplied ring forth loudly and boldly from His Word. The only sure and acceptable interpreter of Scripture is Scripture. We believe we need to let Scripture interpret itself instead of letting man force his own opinions on the same.
We feel it is crucial as Biblical students that we heed the admonition that Paul gave to Timothy when he stated: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine " (2 Timothy 3:16-4:4).
For if we do not follow that example, we could find ourselves victims of the warning that Paul also gave, and that plagues many of the false modern (sometimes popular) endtime views of both Paul's day and our day: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
We most assuredly, do not want to follow after out own lusts, nor turn to fables....but rather, as Paul also prayed, "that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified" (2 Thess 3:1)
The true issue becomes:
What are the activities upon the earth after the Second Coming?
What are the characteristics and attributes of the earth after the Second Coming?
What are the characteristics of the people living on the earth after the Second Coming?
That is fundamentally what is important.
Premillennialism widely embraces the ideas that:
1. Christ's earthly kingdom will continue to be plagued by sin and death after the Second Coming (Premill interpretations of Zechariah 14, Ezekiel 40-48, and Isaiah 65)
2. Christ's earthly kingdom will be a place where Israel will rule over the Gentile Nations after the Second Coming (Premill interpretation of Zechariah 14)
3. The inhabitants of Christ's earthly kingdom will be required to be physically circumcised after the Second Coming (Premill interpretation of Ezekiel 44)
4. Their will be both glorified, sinless, and immortally resurrected people and unglorified, mortal, sinful people existing together at that time (Premill interpretation of the 2 separate resurrections of I Thess 4 and Rev 20)
5. Christ's earthly kingdom will fester rebels and dissenters and unbelievers in such a great magnitude, that by the end of His earthly kingdom reign, they will revolt as the numbers of the sands of the seas (Premill interpretation of Rev 20)
6. The mortals of the earth will be required to reinstitute animal sacrifices for sin offerings for the sanctification, purification, and cleansing of the people of Christ's earthly kingdom (Premill interpretation of Ezekiel 40-48)
Post/Amillennialism answers the same 6 expectations quite differently:
1. Christ's earthly kingdom will be freed and removed from sin and death (Amill interpretation of I Cor 15:23-26, 50-56, Rom 8:821)
2. Christ's earthly kingdom will be a place where no ethnic segregation and racial advantage exists, but redeemed human brothers and sisters are united in one family through Christ (Amill interpretation of Eph 2, Gal 3, Col 3)
3. There will be no return to circumcision of the flesh, for it is of the heart that matters to God (Amill interpretation of Rom 2, I Cor 7, Gal 5)
4. Flesh and blood shall not enter Christ's earthly kingdom, and all who enter in shall be glorified and immortal, with no sinners (Amill interpretation of 1 John 2:28-3:2, I Cor 50, Matt 7:20)
5. There will be no rebels grow out of Christ's earthly kingdom, but it will be a place of righteousness, where the wicked have been removed (Amill interpretation of 2 Peter 3:3:13, Matt 13:41, Matt 25:46)
6. No animal sacrifice will ever be offered in a rebuilt temple made with hands; for Jesus is the only temple, and Jesus is eternally the only sacrifice and sin offering (Amill interpretation of Calvary, Hebrews 9-10, Revelation 5:6, I Peter 1:19, Isaiah 53)
We will sum up this discussion with two questions:
Which earthly kingdom following the Second Coming do you want to belong to?
Which earthly kingdom following the Second Coming honors Jesus and Calvary?
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