THE MILLENNIAL POSITIONS:
I would like to begin with a quote from Boettner in Tan's book (Tan,
Paul L.; "THE INTERPRETATION OF PROPHECY"; Rockville, MD: Assurance Publishing,
1974, p 269-270) "'There is a logical connection between Premillennialism
and Dispensationalism. Most of those who take Premillennialism seriously
and become enthusiastic about it go on to adopt Dispensationalism. Conversely,
we believe that most of those who becomes convinced of the errors of Dispensationalism
proceed to throw Premillennialism overboard to.'" (Boettner/MILLENNIUM
PREMILLENNIALISM (as we see it)
A. The Basis: The basis of premillennialism is found in the Old Testament
Covenants given to Israel. The premillennialist sees these covenants as
yet unfulfilled. These covenants will find their complete fulfillment during
the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth.
"Premillennialism insists that all the provisions of the Abrahamic Covenant
must be fulfilled since the covenant was made without conditions. Much
of the covenant has already been fulfilled and fulfilled literally; therefore,
what remains to be fulfilled will also be fulfilled literally. This brings
the focus on the yet-unfulfilled land promise." (Reprinted by permission:
Ryrie, Charles C.; "BASIC THEOLOGY"; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 457)
B. The definition: "Premillennialism is the view that holds that the
second coming of Christ will occur prior to the Millennium which will see
the establishment of Christ's kingdom on this earth for a literal 1,000
years. It also understands there will be several occasions when resurrections
and judgments will take place. Eternity will begin after the 1,000 years
are concluded. Within premillennialism there are those who hold differing
views as to the time of the Rapture." (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie,
Charles C.; "BASIC THEOLOGY"; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 450/Ryrie
has a brief history of premillennialism on p 451-452.)
C. The System:
1. They believe in a literal historical grammatical system of interpretation.
2. They believe that today is not a golden age. (Corruption is the norm
in our day and things are not getting better and better. We are pessimists
according to the present day lingo - 1990.)
3. There is a definite distinction between Israel and the Church.
4. Prophecies concerning Israel were fulfilled literally to this point
and will one day be completely fulfilled - literally.
5. They hold to a literal, visible, bodily and glorious return of Christ
in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
6. They hold to a literal Abrahamic Covenant which was extended into
7. They recognize the Church as the spiritual seed of Abraham. Gal 3:29
8. They recognize the difference between physical and spiritual seed
of Abraham. Rom. 9:6-8
9. The Abrahamic covenant was unconditional.
10. They use a Dispensational approach to Scripture.
11. The Church was formed separate from Israel. (Although early Christians
were Jews.) I Cor. 10:32 and Rom. 11:26 shows this distinction between
12. An overview of the system's teaching. They hold to the following
a. Soteriological program (God is in the process of providing salvation
for accepting mankind.) Gen. 3:15
b. Promises given to Abram that were to find fulfillment in his life
and his people. Gen. 12
c. Palestinian Covenant Deut. 30:1-10
d. Davidic Covenant II Sam. 7:12-16
e. New Covenant Jer. 31:31-24
f. Kingdom prophesied by the Old Testament Prophets.
g. Kingdom offered and rejected by Christ at His first advent. Matt.
h. Church was indicated in Matt. 16 -- Church was started in Acts 2
j. God will again deal with Israel. (They are only set aside at this
time. This is national Israel. Individual Jews may and do come to the Lord
for Salvation through the Messiah that has come.)
k. The Millennial kingdom is yet future. (Rev. 20:1-6 and Old Testament
references to future kingdom)
l. Final resurrection and judgment. This will follow the kingdom and
will deal with all unsaved of all time. Rev. 20: 11-15
D. Problems of the system (from those outside the system)
1. Premillennialists are accused of not being scientific in their study
of the Scripture. This would have reference to the not using of the liberal's
methods of criticism and interpretation. To this the premill suggests,
they lack of knowledge of the system.
2. Premillennialists base their whole system on one text, Rev. 20:1-7.
The fact that Scripture mentions a 1000 years is disputed by the other
positions. Some feel that the 1000 years is not to be taken as a literal
1000 years, but rather be viewed as a period of time. They would suggest
that we are in that period of time now. The truth is that this text fits
only to the Old Testament Kingdom when you use a literal framework of interpretation.
John The Baptist and Christ came on the scene preaching a kingdom, but
never defined it or told the Jews what it was. The only kingdom they would
know about is the promised Davidic kingdom of the Old Testament. The whole
of the New Testament is a continuation of the Old and its program. God
did not dump the Old Testament kingdom, just postponed it and mentioned
it through John to allow people to know that it is still coming.
3. They are inconsistent in their literal interpretation. (We are not
literal literalists.) This refers to the fact that the premillennialist
allows for the allegories, etc. of the Old Testament. They charge that
if we are going to be literal, then we should be literal in all passages.
In otherwords when the Psalmist mentions that David was the apple of God's
eye, we should see this as God having an apple in His eye named David.
Premillennialists recognize types, signs and other language oriented
quirks that literal interpretation would require.
4. They hold to a reinstitution of sacrifices and this contradicts Heb.
8:8-13. Yes, we see sacrifices in the Millennial kingdom because the Bible
prophecies this. We do realize there is no need for sacrifice for sin,
however there are other sacrifices, and these sacrifices in the Millennium
may be similar to the Lord's Table in meaning. They may have commemorative
The problem is that the objectors probably misinterpret Hebrews, and
ignore that the premill. always mentions that the Millennial sacrifices
are a memorial or some other form, rather than the sin sacrifices that
are no longer needed.
5. They interpret the Old Testament and fit the New Testament into it.
Amen. Since we believe in progressive revelation, we would certainly look
at the oldest and understand the new in light of that knowledge. This is
only logical and correct.
6. A future work with Israel (kingdom) is inconsistent because Jew and
Gentile are one now. Eph. 2:14-16 They do not see any distinction between
Israel and the Church, so this is a charge that is to be expected. The
two entities are separate and the Bible is clear on this.
They wrongfully mix Israel and the Church. They also wrongly interpret
the Eph. text along with all of the texts which show that the two are different
7. Literal interpretation is not a valid method.
This concept should turn their own minds to the illogical and profane.
How can we understand a message given to us unless we use the literal method?
If they were to receive a telegram from their Aunt Tilda, wouldn't they
use literal interpretation to understand it? God wanted to communicate
with man thus the literal method is the only logical method.
8. A difference between Israel and the church is inconsistent with Rom.
On the contrary, this text depicts clearly, if interpreted literally,
the distinction between Israel and the Church. They have a misconception
of the Romans illustration.
9. The New Testament doesn't interpret the Old Testament literal so
why should the premillennialists? James spiritualizes Amos 9:11 in Acts
True the New Testament writers do not always use the Old Testament literally,
however they do use it literally at times. They drew information from the
Old Testament to use for their own day much as we do. A spiritualizing
does not remove the need for a literal fulfillment. Peter in His first
sermon in Acts mentions the fulfillment on the day of Pentecost as a fulfillment
of Joel's prophecy, however that prophecy was not literally, completely
fulfilled. It will have a complete literal fulfillment yet future.
10. Premillennialists ignore Matt. 21:43 when Christ removed the kingdom
How can we have a millennium if God is not dealing with Israel? This
is the crux of the system. God is not dealing with Israel today, but will
one day resume His dealings with them. We do not ignore the removal of
the kingdom from Israel, we view it as a literal occurrence. Indeed, the
Matthew text is a precursor of the Romans 11:11ff text. The removal of
the kingdom is not ignored, it is recognized and this is an integrated
part of the system.
11. Gal. 3:28,29 says there is no difference between Jew and Greek.
Premillennialists should apply Jewish truth to Gentiles.
True, there is no difference, but this is speaking of the spiritual
realm and not the physical. (Rom. 9:6-8 show a difference between the two.)
In this age there is no difference between Jew and Gentile within the church
and indeed, within the need of salvation and its availability to all of
mankind. The phrase "in Christ Jesus" limits the thought to believers.
The whole problem of problems is that we cannot answer them adequately
enough to convince the other side. We can find no arguments strong enough
to convince them. We have no text good enough to stir their solidarity
in their position Why? Because they interpret differently than we do. If
they accept literal, historical, grammatical interpretation then they must,
by their own lips, accept Dispensational Premillennialism. They realize
that the Dispensational premillennial position is the end product of the
literal method of interpretation. We realize their position is due to their
method of interpretation, thus there is a great gulf fixed that no man
can cross (unless he changes his method of interpretation).
A. Basis: This system is based on the Old Testament Covenants which
are now being fulfilled in and by the Church.
B. The System:
Tan defines the system as follows: "A system of eschatology which attempts
to reconcile premillennialism with covenantism while avoiding dispensationalism
and pretribulationism. (P 364; THE INTERPRETATION OF PROPHECY.)
He mentions (p 269) that, "They want what one writer describes as 'amillennial
covenantism with a premillennial topping.'"
They view the program as beginning at Genesis 3:15 in the promise of
one that will overcome evil. From that point forward there is a kingdom
rule by God, over man. This rule takes different shades of meaning as time
passes. In the Old Testament it was a direct rule through the judges, kings,
and prophets. When Christ came to earth and died, then ascended to the
Father the Kingdom took on a spiritual aspect. He is now reigning from
heaven and will continue to do so until the end times. At the end, there
will be a literal kingdom over Israel, yet they do not see it as an all
It seems that they view much of prophecy allegorically, yet when it
comes to Revelation 20 and the 1000 year kingdom, they turn to literalism.
The position views the second coming as the introduction to the kingdom
on earth. The Devil will be bound during this time of the kingdom while
Christ will be ruling here on earth. They view the church age as a kingdom
which is ruled from heaven. The tribulation also occurs prior to the kingdom.
They would view the kingdom in the book of Matthew as this spiritual
kingdom. They would view all the book as applying to that kingdom - today.
This has been taught in many churches over many years. I was raised on
this idea in a church where the Gospel was seldom taught. I have heard
it taught in Evangelical churches as well.
It seems that they view things very similarly to us, however there is
one distinction. They believe that the covenants are being fulfilled in
the church today. They want to have covenantism but remain premillennial.
1. Their system views the Church as spiritual Israel. Rom. 9:24
2. Abraham is the Father of all believers. Rom. 4:11
3. They view Jer. 31 as fulfilled in this age. They see the Hebrews
8 passage as contradictory to the thought of a religious system for the
Jews in the kingdom future.
4. They do accept a literal Israel. Rom. 11:26
5. They do differ with premillennialism about the prophesied sacrifices
of Ezek. 40-48. They view them fulfilled by Christ completely with no future
fulfillment. Heb. 8
6. They believe in a literal national future salvation for Israel.
7. A literal 1000 years is recognized, however this is not taught in
the Old Testament or the Gospels, only Rev. 20:1-6. It is some new kingdom
that was never mentioned, or indicated prior to Rev. 20.
8. Christ preached a salvation message. He was not preaching a kingdom
9. Today we are in the mystery or spiritual form of the kingdom.
10. Christ reigns in heaven today, but on earth during the 1000 years.
11. The covenants and the kingdom find their fulfillment in this mystery
form of the kingdom today.
12. The kingdom was promised in the Old Testament. This would be the
mystery form - the church.
13. The kingdom is being fulfilled today.
14. The kingdom will be concluded at the 2nd return of Christ for a
1000 year earthly reign.
15. They hold to a resurrection of the saved premillennium, and unsaved
post millennium for judgment.
16. It would seem that they reject a literal tribulation.
17. Tan submits that they affirm, "that the church and Israel are somewhat
blended, though not fully amalgamated." (p 246; THE INTERPRETATION OF PROPHECY.)
C. Problems of the system.
1. They deny the dispensational system yet operate within one. They
view different governing relationships between God and man thus accepting
one of the basics of dispensationalism.
2. They improperly view Rom. 9:24 and see the Church as spiritual Israel.
3. They reject literal fulfillment of Ezek. 40-48 because of not viewing
Heb. 8 properly. They feel there cannot be a new temple in the future because
the Lord's sacrifice in the heavenly tabernacle was once and for all.
4. They fail to relate the Rev. 20:1-6 1000 years to the Old Testament
Kingdom. It is hard to conceive why they would find a new - unrevealed
kingdom in the book of Revelation. The easiest and most logical view is
that this is the kingdom prophesied.
5. They spiritualize most of the Bible's prophecy yet take Rev. 20 literally.
Tan in THE INTERPRETATION OF PROPHECY, mentions that they spiritualize
the 144,000 to be the church while holding to a literal 1,000 year kingdom.
He terms their interpretation as "selectively inconsistent" (p 268).
6. Someone that believes Satan is being plundered today has a problem.
A look at any city newspaper will show the decadence of our society and
world. To say that Satan is bound in this age is to attribute all evil
that goes on to God and his kingdom that is being ruled from heaven by
Christ. Satan and evil are free and active in this present age.
7. They see no distinction between the Kingdom and Soteriological programs.
The kingdom is a program in and of itself to bring man to God.
8. Their system requires a non-chronological book of Revelation. Passages
showing saints in heaven will be out of sequence if it is chronological
in their system.
9. They mix Israel and the Church.
A. The Basis: Amillennialism is based on the Old Testament covenants
which were transferred over to the Church for fulfillment.
B. The System:
In a nutshell the position views the world ruled by the one that is
in a position to do so. Adam was the ruler until his fall into sin when
the Devil took over the rulership of the earth. He ruled throughout the
Old Testament period. His rule was interrupted when the Lord came to earth
to setup His kingdom. Not only did Christ set up His kingdom - the millennium
- the Davidic kingdom - the 1000 years - but He also bound Satan for the
duration of this new kingdom.
Their view of Daniel is that the kingdoms that are mentioned are Satans
kingdoms here on earth (Babylon, Media Persia, Greece). The 70th week,
or tribulation is past and it ended in A.D. 70 with the destruction of
Christ is now ruling from the heavenly Jerusalem. When Christ returns
to earth at the second coming he will introduce eternity in which the Old
Testament will be fulfilled.
Tan suggests that amillennialism is, "A system of eschatology which,
among other things, interprets the millennium as symbolical of present
life in heaven." (P 363; THE INTERPRETATION OF PROPHECY.)
THE PRINCIPLES OF THE SYSTEM:
1. The seed of Abraham is equal to all of God's people. Israel and the
Church age people are one.
2. God dispensed with the Land and Promise. The promises are no longer
to be considered. This is due to the following: a. The Jews have lost their
lineage; b. The promise was fulfilled literally in the past; c. The promises
were conditional and Israel didn't meet the requirements.
3. The promise was for any group of God's people in any age. (If this
is correct, then why don't we go claim Israel for the Christians in the
4. Israel lost their promises and the Church inherited them. (Church
If the promises have been dispensed with, how can any group of God's
people claim them? Illogical.
5. They see no justification for a total literal interpretation of Scripture.
6. They agree with Covenant Premillennialists that Rev. 20:1-6 is the
Millennial Kingdom, but disagree as to what it is.
7. They feel Rev. 20:1-3 is today. Satan is now bound. (He can't prevent
spread of the Gospel however.)
8. Rev. 20:4 is speaking of martyred saints.
9. Christ reigning literally 1000 years is not required. This would
indicate that the millennial kingdom to them may be quite different from
the kingdom of the Old Testament.
10. The Old Testament Kingdom came in Christ's time. Matt. 12:28
11. They do allow for a future phase of some sort. (This would be the
Revelation Millennium, even if they don't define what it is.)
12. Overview of their teachings.
a. Satan has a series of kingdoms Dan. 9 (Babylon, Medio-
Persia, Greece and Rome)
b. God's kingdom takes over. (Fall of Rome)
c. Satan cast out of Heaven at the cross.
d. Satan bound at fall of Rome.
e. Kingdom offered by Christ.
f. Kingdom set up A.D. 70. (fulfilled at fall of Rome.)
g. Resurrections and judgment just prior to eternity.
h. Jesus reigns in Heavenly Jerusalem Gal. 4:26.
i. The book of Revelation deals with the fall of Jerusalem and
fall of Rome.
j. The 1000 years is only representative of an ideal time.
1. They interpret literally in theology but allegorically in prophecy.
Any system that switches between methods of interpretation should be suspect
of interpreting to show their position rather than to see what God has
to say. The person who believes in allegorical interpretation is much more
honest in what he is doing.
2. All prophecy is fulfilled in this current age. Anyone reading through
the Old Testament would realize that some prophecies are not fulfilled,
and a look around our world would show that this is not a golden age.
3. Today is a golden age with Satan bound. How can anyone believe Satan
is bound today.
4. They reject dispensations even though they have them in their system.
Any system that does not offer blood sacrifices today is a quasi-dispensational
system. They must realize there are differences in how the Lord deals with
5. Their arguments are very weak, and their textual interpretations
are very stretched.
6. They admit Scripture doesn't say the Promise was conditional, but
they assume that it was. To assume that something is true where the Bible
is silent opens us to any man's assumption as truth. I might well assume
that I am free to murder since the Scripture does not state, "Stanley shalt
not kill." I could easily say that the "thou" of Scripture is everyone
7. They make no difference between Israel and the Church. This does
an injustice to the Scriptures.
8. The land and promise are not out of the picture. Israel has never
occupied the total promised land. All this is yet future when the Lord
returns to his dealings with Israel.
9. Basically the whole system is a problem in that it is not consistent
with literal interpretation.
10. They tend to stretch your imagination. (Acts 1:6 Christ's answer
to disciples' question is turning their attention from a Kingdom that is
already set up to their coming responsibility of witnessing. To premillennialists
he is saying the millennium is yet future.)
Among the amillennialists is the Roman Catholic Church.
A. The system defined: Tan suggests: "A system of theology which, among
other things, explains all relationship between God and man from the beginning
to the end of time under the Covenant of Works, the Covenant of Grace,
and (sometimes) the Covenant of Redemption." p 364; THE INTERPRETATION
B. The system explained:
The system operates on the basis of two covenants. The first is the
covenant of works which ended at the fall of Adam. Genesis 3:15 is the
second covenant in cryptic form. The covenant is the covenant of grace.
This covenant covers all of time since the fall.
Some add a third covenant of redemption which is introduced at the cross,
but it is viewed as an integrated part of the covenant of grace.
The people holding to this position interpret Scripture very differently
than we do. They use figurative, or allegorical views of Scripture and
find new, deeper meanings behind the words of the Scriptures.
They see two covenants neither of which appear in Scripture. The covenant
of works and the covenant of grace. The covenant of works carried mankind
all the way to the fall.
The verse they use to show the covenant of works is Rom. 2:7-9, "To
them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor
and immortality, eternal life; But unto them that are contentious, and
do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the
Jew first, and also of the Greek." (It is strange that they give a New
Testament reference to back up a system that occurred hundreds of years
before.) They also use Psalm one as proof text. (This is at least a little
closer in proximity.)
The covenant of grace was given in cryptic form in Gen. 3:15. At the
time of Abraham, God instituted the covenant of grace which has other covenants
or administrations within it. A Covenant has three elements to it: Parties,
Promises, and Conditions.
The covenant of works, I gather, is the fact that Adam and Eve could
live in the garden as long as they worked in the garden and kept their
noses clean. This is also called by other names such as, Edenic covenant,
and covenant of life.
This covenant had three stipulations. THE EVANGELICAL DICTIONARY OF
THEOLOGY, lists them as follows: "(1) a promise of eternal life upon the
condition of perfect obedience throughout a probationary period; (2) the
threat of death upon disobedience; and (3) the sacraments of paradise and
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." (Elwell, Walter A. Ed.; "EVANGELICAL
DICTIONARY OF THEOLOGY"; Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984, p 279)
The covenant of grace is really poorly named because it is actually
a second covenant of works. God in this new covenant requires obedience
to His revealed will. As He sees obedience, then He will bless the person.
This covenant is between God and the elect, for it is God's promise to
save the person who believes.
As you can see, the Covenant Theologian is required to mix the Church
and Israel into one large group of God's people where there are no distinctions.
The mixing of Testaments can be seen in the fact that they use Rom. 2:7-9
to show the covenant of works which ended at the fall. All of Scripture
as now complete is the basis for their system. It would seem to me that
no person prior to the completion of Scripture could really know what God
wanted because all Revelation was not given.
In keeping with this they would view all promises of both testaments
as theirs for the choosing. A further mixing of the testaments results
in some cases with infant baptism. The rite of Old Testament circumcision
for babies is carried over into the thought of baptism. Both being a sign
of the covenant. (A note of interest: Circumcision was a male right, so
how can it be a precursor for baptism, a male and female right?)
Ryrie quotes Allis's book "PROPHECY AND THE CHURCH," "The law is a declaration
of the will of God for man's salvation." They feel that we are to be obedient
to the revealed will of God so that He will bless us.
Amillennialists and their books:
Jay Adams, "THE TIME IS AT HAND"
O. T. Allis, "PROPHECY AND THE CHURCH"
William E. Cox, "AMILLENNIALISM TODAY"
Floyd E. Hamilton, "THE BASIS OF MILLENNIAL FAITH"
As I understand their thinking, the first covenant was given to carry
man through time, but Adam blew it. Finally God found Abraham, a man that
would obey, and so God set the second covenant, out of His grace, another
covenant of works to carry man through.
Some see a third covenant, a covenant of redemption -- I have not done
any research on those that present this. Elwell in his "THE EVANGELICAL
DICTIONARY OF THEOLOGY"; p 279-280, shows this covenant to be as follows:
"According to covenant theology, the covenant of grace, established in
history, is founded on still another covenant, the covenant of redemption,
which is defined as the eternal pact between God the Father and God the
Son concerning the salvation of mankind."
"The Father loves the Son, commissions him, gives him a people, the
right to judge, and authority over all mankind... the Son loves the Father,
delights to do his will, and has shared his glory forever...."
"On this foundation covenant theology affirms that God the Father and
God the Son covenanted together for the redemption of the human race, the
Father appointing the Son to be the mediator, the Second Adam, whose life
would be given for the salvation of the world, and the Son accepting the
commission, promising that he would do the work which the Father had given
him to do and fulfill all righteousness by obeying the law of God."
A. The system defined: Tan suggests: "A system of eschatology which,
among other things, sees the millennium ushered in through a gradually
Christianized world. Christ comes at the end of this 'millennium.'" ("THE
INTERPRETATION OF PROPHECY" P 367)
In recent days there have been many taking on this line of thinking.
Ten years ago Boettner and J.M. Kik were the only men alive that seemed
to hold this position. In recent days many in the Charismatic movement
have been accepting this thinking and teaching it. They see the Church
as the power to bring in the Millennium.
They see that the Church is responsible to reach all peoples of the
earth with the Gospel and then the kingdom will be set up. Rev. 7:9a is
used to help show that the earth must be reached before the Kingdom can
come into existence. You will be seeing more and more about this in the
future. This is behind many of the evangelism movements of our day.
They are calling this the "Kingdom Theology." Some fear that this theology
is playing into the hands of the New Age Movement which is teaching a very
similar philosophy. They feel that the new Christ is about to be revealed
and that he will soon set things right here on earth for his rule over
We will have a serious look at Kingdom Theology in a future section.
PRINCIPLES OF THE SYSTEM:
1. The preaching of the Gospel to the world will bring mass world wide
conversions which will usher in the 1000 years of peace. Sound like any
recent evangelism push? 2000 for example.
2. Christ will return at the end of the 1000 years of peace.
3. There is one large general resurrection of all the dead of all times.
4. There will be a general judgment of all those raised and those living
at the coming of Christ.
In the past the main deterrent to this position was the advent of the
World Wars. Prior to the wars there seemed to be a peace coming, and people
were coming to the Lord. Since the wars this position had little to offer.
It may well be that the new crumbling of communism and the appearance of
peace over the earth will bring forth a new movement toward this system
They deny Christ's reign on earth, and spiritualize the tribulation
information. The idea of world evangelism was not a possibility until the
80's when the kingdom theology came into focus.
Many evangelical groups have taken up the 2000 concept which teaches
that we will reach the world by the year 2000. Many have spent millions
on strategy and labor to accomplish this goal. There is nothing wrong with
the labor and investment of money to evangelize, however the goal of 2000
is foolish at best. When we evangelize the world, Christ can come according
to the ologies of today. God will, however choose that time, not man, not
man's plans, not man's efforts!
There is a real redefinition in world evangelization becoming popular
today because of this thinking. They are now saying that if a people group
has one church in it, then that people group has been evangelized. Based
on this misconception they have announced that world evangelization is
nearing a reality. Imagine, if there is one church in the Afro-American
people group then that group of millions is considered evangelized!
"This viewpoint teaches that the second coming of Christ will occur
after (post) the millennium. Postmillennialists look for a utopian state
on earth to be brought about through the efforts of the church, and during
this golden age the church, not Israel, will experience the fulfillment
of the promises to Abraham and David. The kingdom will be on earth, but
it will be a "church kingdom" not a Jewish kingdom, and the King, Christ,
will be absent from the earth, not present on it. He will rule in the hearts
of the people and return to the earth only after the millennium is complete.
then will follow a general resurrection of all the dead, a general judgment
of all people, and eternity will begin.
"Postmillennialism conceives of the unfulfilled Abrahamic promises as
being fulfilled by the church and, of course, not in any literal sense.
Its method of interpretation is generally to spiritualize prophecy." (Taken
from: "A SURVEY OF BIBLE DOCTRINE"; Ryrie, Charles C.; Copyright 1972,
Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission. pp 162-163.)
POST TRIB PREMILLINNARIANISM
Men holding to this position that I have run across are: George Ladd,
Mr. Krouse, and Mr. Kromminga.
Ladd wrote "THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM AND PRESENCE OF THE FUTURE." Walvoord
has a review of this book and says that the premillennial position was
totally left out and that he believes Ladd is closer to being Amillennial.
Ladd says no to this. (The review was in Dallas Seminary's theological
journal, Bib Sac. July 1974.)
They view the Rapture and 2nd Coming as one event between the Tribulation
and Millennium. The believers are resurrected and the living unrighteous
are judged at this point in time. This introduces Christ's literal rule
for 1000 years on earth. At the end of this time there is a general resurrection
and the unrighteous are judged. The righteous enter eternity.
They make no distinction between Israel and the Church. They feel that
God's Soteriological program is the Kingdom program. They feel literal
historical interpretation is wrong, thus arrive on the scene as Post Tribulational
Another group of postribulation people are the Seventh Day Adventists.
The 7th dayers got into trouble, predicting the second coming because they
were postrib and saw the Roman Church as the end times culprits. They figured
up with their trusty calculator and decided on 1844 and blew it. (They
viewed worship on Sunday from Rome and calculated the end of the spiritualized
tribulation that they were living through.
REVISED DISPENSATIONAL PREMILLINNARIANISM
This position seems to be a cross between dispensationalism and Covenant
Theology thus the name that has been given to them. There is little written
on their position that I have been able to find.
This view doubts the view which we have set forth, that Christ and John
the Baptist were offering a literal 1000 year kingdom. (Millennial kingdom
of the Old Testament.)
As I understand the view they see the dispensational approach, but instead
of viewing the church as parenthetical they see it as a grafting of the
gentiles into the kingdom that is ongoing in God's plan. When the gentiles
were grafted in they became the kingdom. The kingdom is one ongoing program
with God and there has just been a slight change in clientele during the
They view a pre-millennial return of Christ to fulfill the promises
of Israel in a 1000 year reign of Christ. I do not know what they do with
the tribulation for it does not appear on the charts I have seen.
There is strong reaction to the idea that Christ offered a kingdom and
that it was rejected. They feel that it was Christ's person that was rejected
rather than His kingdom. (We would agree that His person was rejected as
was His kingdom.)
They view the sermon on the mount and other teachings prior to the rejection
as the spiritual intent of the Mosaic law and that they are for this age
as well as the kingdom to come.
They make a very valid point to the thinking of some pre-trib. people.
They take issue with the thought that the church is a parenthesis. A period
which God Super Glued in, to fill the gap till the 2nd Coming. Some almost
make it appear that God didn't know that the kingdom was going to be rejected.
This is consistent with what has been presented in this work. The church
is a part of the ongoing program of God that was planned before the foundation
of the earth. The church is the kingdom in mystery form. In this they would
agree with our view.
Indeed, God did know the events coming, and had planned the church age
all along. He had just not revealed it as yet.
They see Christ's offer of a kingdom as a spiritual kingdom (salvation)
not the Davidic kingdom.
I'm not sure they are that far removed from Posttrib Premillennialism.
They see the church age as a phase of the kingdom - which seems to be consistent
with things. They keep Israel and the church separate except that we will
be with Israel in the tribulation if there is one.
Their disagreement with our position would be basically two fold. They
would believe that we are in a spiritual phase of the kingdom now and that
Christ was not offering the Millennial Kingdom when He was on earth.
That concludes our brief look at some of the other views of the end
times. It might be asked, "Does it matter what we hold?"
Yes, it does matter. If you are going to live life and declare that
the Bible is your guide to faith and practice, then you must look at what
It says and believe it.
When interpreted literally the Bible shows the Premillennial position
very clearly. The system fits the facts given. If you reject literal interpretation,
then you will find yourself in some other belief system. True, all systems
lead to righteous living and that is to be admired in all that believe
in any system.
The key in all of this is God's message. Did He deliver it in obscure
hard to understand methods, or did He deliver it in a very understandable
form? The latter seems most logical.