Importance of a Premillennial
like aluminum, has a nice resonant ring to it.
Say it aloud and hear the reverberations-MILLENNIUM.
And, sadly, some people think that is about the extent
of the significance of the word.
They proudly proclaim, I am not premillennialist, postmillennialist,
or amillennialist; I am a panmillennialist-it will all "pan
out" in the end.
These people suggest that the Millennium is a confusing
subject with many varying views.
And since scholars stand on both sides of the issue,
like the proverbial ostrich, they respond by putting their
heads in the sand and pretend the issue doesn't exist.
That kind of attitude is not a "pan out" but a "cop
out" that dishonors the Lord.
Premillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Amillennialism
are three distinct approaches to theology, and as such, they
impact a great portion of God's Word. To treat the issue with a cavalier attitude
is, therefore, a terrible mistake.
Postmillennialism: Postmillennialism proclaims that the gospel will one
day permeate the entire world and bring the Kingdom-that man,
unaided by the direct divine intervention, will usher in the
golden age, and that following man's achievement, through
the spread of the gospel, Christ will physically return to
the earth. At least
6,000 years of history cry aloud and placard boldly-IMPOSSIBLE!
Notwithstanding some past postmillennial theologians
like Jonathan Edwards and Charles Hodge, as well as some present
advocates, Postmillennialism is fatally flawed. Nowhere does a proper exegesis of the Word of
God teach that the gospel will successfully permeate the world.
Such an optimistic view is biblically unwarranted and
historically naïve. The very concept of the Church is that it is
an assembly of believes called out of the world and placed
by the Spirit into the Body of Christ-not an instrument to
live within the world to make it suitable for Christ's return.
Man's scientific and technological advances have been
impressive. In space, he can place a man on the moon.
On earth, he can "bypass" the heart, "transplant" the
heart, and "counterfeit" the heart, but man will never be
able to make a "bad heart" good and equip it for heaven. And the overwhelming majority of men will never
accept the gospel [in this age of man].
Notwithstanding all of man's advances in every area
of physical endeavor, in the spiritual realm he has not moved
himself one inch closer to heaven, nor has he become a more
moral being. This world
is no friend of grace; this world is under divine judgment.
The gospel will not transform the world and bring the
Kingdom to which Jesus will one day give His stamp of approval
and then return to rule. Even if it could be successfully argued that
the gospel is going to permeate the world, it must be remembered
that Christians are sinners saved by grace, still possessing
sinful nature. Believers have problems enough trying to bring
unity and tranquility to the local church, where turmoil and
splits too frequently occur, let alone trying to establish
the glorious, worldwide Kingdom of which the prophets spoke
(Isaiah 11-12), and to which Christ will one day return to
establish and rule (Revelation 20:1-6).
Postmillennialism, in the final analysis, is simply
a veiled form of humanism. It is man supposedly doing through the gospel
what only the Son of Man can do at His return and assigning
to the Church a task (bringing in the Kingdom) which God never
by its very designation, cries, No millennium. The letter
"A" negates, and prefixed to the word millennium says "no
millennium." According to this view, there will be no literal,
physical, visible Kingdom on the earth established by Christ
and over which He will rule.
Amillennialism teaches that the Kingdom
exists now in the hearts of redeemed men.
[There are a couple passages in the Epistles that state
this, but these few passages in no way negate the huge number
of literal prophecies about the literal coming Kingdom of
God. They merely indicate
that we now have the Spirit of the coming kingdom in our hearts
now, which we do, the Holy Spirit.]
Originally and fundamentally, Amillennialism was a
reaction against Premillennialism rather than a conclusion
reached through exposition of the Word of God.
First, to reach such a conclusion, amillennialists
suggest that the myriad of future messianic blessings promised
were preconditioned promises. The nation did not keep the
preconditions and thereby forfeited the promises.
Such a view flies callously and unforgivably into the
vast amount of biblical truth stretching from Genesis to Revelation,
authenticating the unconditional character of the Abrahamic
Covenant and its future Kingdom-blessing components.
The Abrahamic Covenant was no more conditioned, once
inaugurated, than the message of salvation by grace through
faith is conditioned, once appropriated.
Secondly, amillennialists have historically brought
chaos to an understanding of the doctrine of the Church.
To confuse ancient Israel
with the true Church, which began at Pentecost, is to obscure
and confuse a great body of biblical truth.
Promises made to Israel
are for Israel. Promises made to the Church are for the Church.
Blend these two divinely instituted, separate entities
into one; deny a literal future Kingdom established by Christ
and over which He will one day rule; and the Old Testament
prophets, the Gospels, portions of Romans and Acts and the
books of Galatians, Hebrews, and Revelation in particular,
[and all these] become a patchwork of illogical, unrelated,
often-noncohesive facts. Thus, God's outworking of human history is totally
Thirdly, amillennialists are inconsistent in their
adherence to the laws of biblical interpretation.
They normally interpret the Word of God historically,
grammatically, and literally, as indeed they should.
But when the text relates to Israel and her
future Kingdom blessings, they withdraw from normative interpretation
Thus, when convenient, Israel does not mean Israel;
Jerusalem does not mean Jerusalem; the throne of David does
not mean the throne of David; Christ's future rule on earth
becomes His present rule in the hearts of men; and a one-thousand-year
Kingdom Age becomes a hodgepodge of conflicting interpretations.
Certainly there are figures of speech in the Bible.
But to support amillennial doctrine, amillennialists
take figures of speech to an extreme, unfounded position.
What good, then, is an inspired word from God if men
allegorize those words to fit their preconceived theological
It is a strange irony that when a text condemns Israel it is interpreted literally.
broke the Law-that is literal Israel. Israel
had their chance-that is literal Israel. Israel
rejected Christ-that is literal Israel. But when God says that Israel is the
apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8), somehow that becomes the
Church. When it is said that Israel will be
head of the nations and not the tail, that is interpreted
as the Church. When God declares, "I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel"
(Jeremiah 31:31), amillennialists say the covenant is with
the Church. With amazing, unfounded consistency, they blur
the distinction between physical Israel (the natural posterity
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), physical-spiritual Israel (the
descendants of Abraham, Isaac, And Jacob-the Jews who accepted
Christ), and spiritual Israelites (Gentiles who, by faith,
trusted Christ and thereby entered into the blessing of the
Abrahamic Covenant and can, therefore, rightly be called the
Israel of God without infringing on the covenant promises
to natural Israel).
There are glorious and eternal promises given to the
Church, but they are distinct and separate from those given
To interpret Israel's
promises for the Church or the Church's promises for Israel does irreparable harm to the
Word of God and the divine character itself.
It should not be inferred by the statement that follows
that the amillennialists are consciously anti-Semitic, but
it strongly and uncompromisingly stated that Amillennialism
has its fountainhead in Roman theology, which was irrefutably
anti-Semitic [read Cecil Roth's "A HISTORY OF THE JEWS From Earliest Times Through The
Six Day War" and/or Michael Brown's "Our Hands
Are Stained With Blood" For a book report on this one log onto: http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/blood.htm
] Therefore, it sought
to separate Israel from any promise of restoration at the
end of the age and ultimate divine blessing, and at the same
time to place on her head all of the divine cursings.
By the fourth century, emerging Roman theology sought
to distance itself from all Jewish culture and custom when
interpreting the Word of God.
Thus, for instance, the date of Easter was set in A.D.
325 at the Church Council of Nicene so that it would not coincide
with the Jewish Feast of Passover for centuries.
It wasn't until the sixteenth century that the Reformation
fathers broke with Rome over justification by faith and other doctrines.
So enmeshed were the Reformers in the battle over these
life and death issues [that the gospel of salvation hinges
on] that they paid little attention to prophetic matters.
And Amillennialism, as a system of interpretation forged
in the crucible of an anti-Semitic Roman environment, continued
largely uninterrupted on into Protestantism. These views are reflected in many of the old
classical commentaries and parroted in many of the new ones. Clearly, few doctrines taught within the Church
have done more harm to the cause of Christ.
is a system of theology which teaches that Jesus will return
at the end of this age to both initiate and rule a one-thousand-year,
literal, and physical Kingdom on the earth.
Satan will be bound [along with all the demons]; the
curse of sin will be lifted [end result of Satan no longer
being able to broadcast his evil attitudes in the air]; life
expectancy will be increased; animals will become benign;
the earth will give her full bounty; and peace will at last
become a reality in the earth.
The word "millennium" comes from two Latin words, mille meaning
"thousand" and annus meaning
"years"; thus, the concept of a thousand-year Kingdom Age.
Amillennialists often object to the concept of a literal
Kingdom on the grounds that a one-thousand-year Kingdom is
only mentioned in one chapter of the Bible; namely, Revelation
20. And to that they
hasten to add the observation that Revelation is a symbolic
book. However, the words "thousand years" are mentioned
six times in Revelation, Chapter 20 (vv. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). And of paramount importance, the concept of
a Kingdom Age permeates the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Revelation, Chapter 20, simply adds to the already
highly and repetitively established fact of a golden age-its
duration of one thousand years.
The ultimate overriding purpose of human history is
the glory of God. God was not created for man; man was created
for God. Men are not
saved primarily so that they can enjoy God in Heaven forever,
although, to be sure, that is why most people initially trust
Rather, they are redeemed through divine grace so that
God's glory will be manifested through men throughout the
endless ages. God's
glory is the sum total of His intrinsic, eternal perfections. Holiness, justice, truth, love, goodness, mercy,
longsuffering, faithfulness, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence-these
are some of the divine perfections. When these attributes are displayed, God receives
God's glory was manifested in creation: "The heavens
declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork"
(Psalm 19:1). God's glory was manifested in redemptive history.
Thus, Moses, before going to Egypt to secure the release
of his people from Pharaoh, besought God: "Show me thy glory"
(Exodus 33:18). God's
glory was manifested in the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Thus, Israel would learn that their God was
a consuming fire (Exodus 24:17).
God's glory was manifested in the Church.
Jesus died on Calvary because God is just and must
judge sin. Jesus died because God is love and, though He
hates sin, He loves the sinner.
Jesus died because God is good and merciful and longsuffering. Calvary, properly understood, is a manifestation
of the glory of God; and the true Church has, by faith, been
Now the Church is called upon to reflect His glory,
to proclaim with words and to demonstrate by actions the intrinsic,
eternal perfections of God. Paul wrote to the Church: "Whatsoever you do,
do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).
God's glory was manifested, above all else, in the
person of the Son of God. The beloved apostle John wrote, "No man hath
seen God at any time; [but, in marked contrast] the only begotten
Son, who is in the bosom of the Father [the place of intimacy],
he hath declared him" (John 1:18).
Men can see the invisible God through the visible Son.
Jesus himself said to His Father, "I have glorified
thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest
me to do" (John 17:4).
God's glory is manifested in still another way, and
this bears strongly on the subject of this article.
Speaking through His prophet Isaiah, the Lord proclaimed,
"I will place salvation in Zion for Israel, my glory" (Isaiah
46:13). Israel is God's
glory, and if men want to see and know what God is like, they
should watch how He deals with Israel.
God calls Israel His "crown of glory" and His "royal
diadem" (Isaiah 62:3).
When the patriarch Jacob, whose name was changed to
Israel, was about to leave the land of promise, God said to
him, "And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all
the places to which thou goest, and will bring thee again
into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done
that which I have spoken to thee of" (Genesis 28:15).
And in these five promises the entire history of the
nation of Israel was kaleidoscoped:
am with thee"
will keep thee"
will bring thee again"
will not leave thee"
"until I have
done that which
I have spoken to thee of"
If God does not keep His word to Israel, He is not
true. If God does not have power to fulfill His purposes,
He is not omnipotent. If
God does not know that certain things are going to occur and
gets caught off guard, He is not omniscient.
If God wearied of Israel, He is not longsuffering.
If God has changed His mind He is not immutable.
And in this we must be clear-if God has changed His
mind in relation to His purpose for Israel, perhaps He will
change His mind concerning His purposes for the Church.
Perhaps we do not have a home of glory.
Perhaps He is going to rescind His grace toward us.
is holy, just, true, loving, good, longsuffering, faithful,
omnipotent, immutable, and infinitely more.
the first instance, the millennial issue is not prophetical,
it is theological. It is not so much a consideration of what will
happen tomorrow, it deals with what God's character is like
today. Because He is a faithful God, He will keep His
promises to Israel-that requires a literal, millennial Kingdom
established by the Lord Jesus Christ.
God will keep His promises to the believer-that requires
a home in glory in His presence forevermore.
Postmillennialism detracts from God's glory by attributing
to the Church a purpose God never intended-man through the
proclamation of the gospel will bring in the Kingdom.
[In a sense, the final and thorough worldwide proclamation
of the gospel of the kingdom Jesus said would be done in Matthew
24:14 will perhaps, due to a larger response we even now can
see to its saving message occurring in the 3rd
world countries, will trigger Satan to "lose it" mentally
and try for the second time to attempt to throw God off his
throne in heaven (cf. Revelation 12). For in Matthew 24:15, we see, right in chronological
order, the tribulation starts.
So in a nasty kind of way, the fulfillment of Matthew
24:14, worldwide proclamation of the gospel-brings on the
tribulation-which brings on the Day of the Lord, and the 2nd
coming of Jesus Christ, which brings on the literal arrival
of the Kingdom of God on earth.
But I don't think this is the way the postmillennialists
would like to see it happen.
Amillennialism infringes on God's glory by calling
into question His attributes-there will be no literal Kingdom.
Premillennialism acknowledges God's glory by taking
God at His word-Jesus will rule-on earth-for one thousand
years. Believe it! Put it in the bank! Live in the glorious reality of it!" Written
by Marvin Rosenthal. Copyright
© Zion's Fire, September-October 2005 issue.
My comments for clarification are in brackets [ ],
For a very thorough and interesting color-coded commentary
version of the book of Isaiah, which will show without a doubt,
that God intends to fully bless Israel during a coming Kingdom
of God set up by the Lord, the Messiah, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/kog.htm
and click on the particular version you would like, html or