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Sermon No: 45



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SERMON TOPIC: Different viewpoints - The millennium - Part 2

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 27 July 2007

Topic Groups: MILLENNIUM, PROPHECY

Sermon synopsis: What is the difference between Amillennialism, Postmillennialism and Premillennialism? Should we interpret the Bible literally or allegorically? Is Satan bound now (with a very long chain) or is this a future event? Will Jesus literally reign in the future for 1000 literal years in Jerusalem?
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SERMON OVERVIEW:

Literal

or

Allegorical?

The Millennium

PART 2

Literal

or

Allegorical?

Athanasius of Alexandria, in his battle defending the doctrine of the Trinity in the 4th century, at one stage faced over- whelming odds. When Athanasius argued that Christ was God, his foes said, “The world is against you, Athanasius!” But Athanasius said, “If the world is against Athanasius, then Athanasius is against the world.”

He also made the following notable quote, “Miserable are those who measure the authority of a doctrine by the numbers receiving it. Truth always overcomes, though for a time it may be found among the few. He, who for proof, betakes himself to numbers, confesses himself conquered. Let me see the beauty of truth and immediately I am persuaded. A multitude may overawe but cannot persuade. How many myriads could persuade me to believe that day is night, that poison is food? In determining earthly things we do not regard numbers; shall we do so in heavenly things?”

Truth is more important than sincerity. You can be sincerely wrong. Francis Bacon said, “A cripple on the right way will beat a racer on the wrong one. The faster the runner is, who has at some point missed his way, the further he goes wrong.”

Do numbers matter?

Athanasius AD 296-373

Francis Bacon 1561-1626

In Part 1 of this study we saw that Premillennialism is the belief that (A) Christ himself will (B) literally reign (C) on the earth (D) from Jerusalem (E) with His saints (F) for a literal 1000 years (G) after his second coming (H) with a renewed covenant with a restored Israel.

It is distinct from the other forms of Christian eschatology such as Amillennialism or Postmillennialism, which view the Millennium occurring prior to the second coming, Christians ruling in place of Christ, the Church replacing Israel, and the Millennium length as (optionally) figurative.

Premillennialism views this future age as a time of fulfillment for the prophetic hope of God’s people as given in the Old Testament. It adapts the approach that the covenant with Israel is distinct and irrevocable, rather than replaced by the New Covenant.

The chronology of Premillennialism is largely based upon a literal interpretation of Revelation 20 which describes Christ’s coming to the earth and subsequent reign at the end of an apocalyptic period of tribulation and Armageddon.

However we shall see that the OT writings and the teachings of Jesus make frequent reference to this Millennial period.

Premillennialism doctrine

Literal

Allegorical

1000 (years) =

1000

Very long time

2 (resurrections) =

2

1

Jerusalem =

Jerusalem

Anywhere you like

On earth =

On earth

In heaven

Israel =

Israel

The Church

Jesus (ruling) =

Jesus (ruling)

Christians (ruling)

Terrible times (in last days) =

Terrible times (in last days)

Golden age of Christian domination (in last days)

1+ 1 =

2

Pick any number (besides 2)

Black =

Black

White, or maybe blue, green, red …

As the heart of the Premillennial versus Amillennial / Postmillennial debate is whether we should interpret the Bible literally or allegorically, let’s address that question first.

Firstly, ask yourself, does 2=2 or does 2=1?

Literal or allegorical?

In some of their more candid moments, even opponents of Premillennialism admit that if a literal interpretation is adapted, that it does indeed lead to Premillennial theology.

Floyd Hamilton said the following: Now we must frankly admit that a literal interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies gives us just such a picture of an earthly reign of the Messiah as the Premillennialist pictures. That was the kind of Messianic kingdom that the Jews of the time of Christ were looking for, on the basis of a literal interpretation of the Old Testament promises.

In the same vein, Oswald Allis admits that “the Old Testament prophecies if literally interpreted cannot be regarded as having been yet fulfilled or as being capable of fulfilment in this present age.”

Literal or allegorical?

Oswald Allis (1880-1973)

Premillennialism is literally taught in Revelation 20. In fact, that is why we have the terms Premillennialism and Postmillennialism; because Revelation 20 speaks of a 1000 year reign of Christ that will take place after His return in Revelation 19.

Amillennialists and Postmillennialists are forced to adapt an allegorical method of interpreting prophecy in order to ‘get around’ the literal teaching of the Bible.

Since sound theology should be developed from the Bible itself, and since the Bible teaches only a single viewpoint on this issue, surely Premillennialism is the logical prophetic world view to hold?

The literal method is “the only sane and safe check on the imaginations of man.” * Otherwise you potentially have as many interpretations as you have interpreters.

* Bernard Ramm (The interpretation of the Bible)

Literal or allegorical?

Premil

Amil

Postmil

“The allegorical method was not born, out of the study of the Scriptures, but rather out of the desire to unite Greek philosophy and the Word of God.” (J. Dwight Pentecost – ‘Things to come’)

Literal or allegorical?

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Allegory

+

=

The influence of Greek Philosophy on Biblical interpretation:

The Platonic Jews of Egypt began, in the 1st century, in imitation of the heathen Greeks, to interpret the OT allegorically. The Alexandrian Jew, Philo was distinguished among those who practiced this method.

In the 3rd century the Alexandrian Christian, Origen was the first to lay down a formal theory of interpretation based on the allegorical method of Philo.

Origen had succeeded Clement as head of the Alexandrian school. Clement believed in the divine origin of Greek philosophy, and openly propounded that all Scripture must be allegorically understood.

Like Origen, Augustine had been schooled in Greek philosophy. Augustine popularized the views of Amillennialism based on an allegorical view on prophecy. In so doing he influenced over 11 centuries of thought on the issue.

Literal or allegorical?

Origen (185-254)

Clement (155-220)

Literal or allegorical?

It worthwhile noting that the adoption of the allegorical approach (by Augustine) ushered in the Dark Ages, while the Reformation was characterized by a return to the literal approach.

Safeguard against heresy

Luther noted, “I have observed this, that all heresies and errors have originated, not from the simple words of Scripture, as is so universally accepted, but from neglecting the simple words of Scripture, and from the affection of purely subjective… tropes and inferences.”

Calvin states in his commentary to Galatians, “Let us know then, that the true meaning of Scripture is the natural and obvious meaning, and let us embrace and abide by it resolutely.”

In his preface to Romans, Calvin says, “It is the first business of an interpreter to let his author say what he does say, instead of attributing to him what we think he ought to say.”

John Calvin (1509-1564)

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Literal or allegorical?

All the great reformers such as William Tyndale, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther and John Calvin adopted the literal method of translating. The dark ages had been characterised by the belief that all scripture had a fourfold sense: literal, tropological, allegorical and analogical.

The argument of the allegorical translators was that theirs was the ‘spiritual’ way of translating. To which Tyndale replied, “God is a spirit and all His words are spiritual, and His literal sense is spiritual.”

Tyndale added, “You should understand, therefore, that Scripture has only one sense, which is the literal sense. And that literal sense is the root and ground of all, and the anchor that never fails; and if you cling to it, you can never go into error. However, the Scripture does at times use proverbs, similitudes, riddles or allegories, as does all other speech; but that which the proverb, similitude, riddle or allegory signifies; is over the literal sense, which you must seek out diligently.”

William Tyndale (c. 1494-1536) : This great English reformer was eventually strangled and burnt at the stake for the ‘crime’ of translating the Bible into then-modern English.

Literal or allegorical?

GOLDEN RULE WHEN INTERPRETING SCRIPTURE:

While the Bible does at times use figures of speech and metaphors, IF THE LITERAL TRANSLATION MAKES SENSE DON’T SEEK A DEEPER OR FIGURATIVE MEANING.

For example, a phrase like “the trees... shall clap their hands” is obviously metaphoric. However a 1000 year Millennium with Jesus ruling on earth makes sense in the literal, so there is no need to seek another meaning.

Richard Hooker said, “I hold as an infallible rule in the exposition of sacred Scriptures, that when a literal interpretation makes sense, the furthest from the letter is usually the worst. There is nothing more dangerous than this deluding art which changes the meaning of words as alchemy does, or attempts to do, the substance of metals, making of it anything it wishes, and in the end bringing all truth to nothing.”

Richard Hooker (1553-1600)

With the allegorical method of translating “the literal and historical sense of Scripture is completely ignored, and every word and event is made an allegory of some kind either to escape theological difficulties or to maintain certain peculiar religious views…” *

Pentecost** lists 3 dangers of the allegorical method:

It does not actually interpret Scripture and there is “unlimited scope for fancy”.

The basic authority ceases to be the Scripture, but the mind of the interpreter.

One is left without any means by which the conclusions of the interpreter may be tested.

He concludes, “Thus the great dangers inherent in this system are that it takes away the authority of Scripture, leaves us without any basis on which interpretations may be tested, reduced Scripture to what seems reasonable to the interpreter, and, as a result, makes true interpretation of Scripture impossible.”

* Charles T. Fritsch (Biblical Typology) ** J. Dwight Pentecost (Things to Come)

Literal or allegorical?

J. Dwight Pentecost (b. 1915)

Kenneth Kantzer* has said: “The only way to appropriate biblical authority and to refrain from reducing the Bible to a book of mere suggestions and optional opinions is to understand the Bible in the plain, normal sense intended by the authors.”

Bernard Ramm says, “… to state that the principle meaning of the Bible is a second-sense meaning, and that the principal method of interpretation is ‘spiritualizing,’ is to open the door to almost uncontrolled speculation and imagination.”

All the OT prophecies concerning the first coming of Jesus were fulfilled literally. Matthew makes frequent references to prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. No mention is made of an allegorical prophecy which was fulfilled.

The Jews at the time of Christ saw no other option but literal fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies. When Herod called the chief priests and teachers of the law in order to locate the whereabouts of the Jewish king, they in unison told him that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (in literal fulfillment of Micah 5:2).

* Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology and Academic Dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School from 1960-1978.

Literal or allegorical?

K. Kantzer (1917-2002)

The ‘Ages’

In the early 20th century Clarence Larkin published many books and charts that have been extremely helpful to students of prophecy. Clarence Larkin illustrated the Jewish, Postmillennial and Premillennial view of the Ages as follows:

CLARENCE LARKIN (1850-1924)

What about the

Jews & Jesus?

The ‘Ages’

CLARENCE LARKIN (1850-1924)

In the early 20th century Clarence Larkin published many books and charts that have been extremely helpful to students of prophecy. Clarence Larkin illustrated the Jewish, Postmillennial and Premillennial view of the Ages as follows:

The ‘Ages’

As the Postmillennialists see them

ETERN I TY

ETERN I TY

ETERN I TY

ETERN I TY

As the Premillennialists see them

As the Jews saw them

While on the Mount of Olives (outside Jerusalem) just before His ascension, this prompts the disciples to question Jesus about the timing of the Messianic kingdom (in Jerusalem). In line with the thinking of their day and unaware of the coming ‘Church Age’ with the gospel going to the Gentiles, they expected the Messianic reign to come immediately, Notice that in response, Jesus doesn’t reprimand the disciples for believing in a Jerusalem-based Kingdom Age, but simply tells them that it’s not for them to know the timing:

So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” (Acts 1:6-7)

Jewish Antecedents to Premillennialism

We have already seen how Premillennialism dominated the first 3 centuries of the Church. However the concept of a temporary earthly messianic kingdom at the coming of the Messiah was not new to Christianity, but was predated by views expressed in the OT and inter-testament Judaism.

We will see how many of the doctrines around the Millennium come from the writings of Isaiah, David, Ezekiel, Zechariah & Malachi.

In inter-testamental Judaism there was a distinction between the current age and the ‘age to come.’ The ‘age to come’ was commonly viewed as a nationalistic golden age in which the hopes of the prophets would become a reality for the nation of Israel.

As illustrated in Part 1 of this study, many anti-Premillennialists like Origen, Jerome, Heinrich Bullinger & Cranmer recognized and objected to the ‘Jewishness’ of Premillennialism.

The Ten Minas

The people of Jesus’ day were very aware of the OT prophecies about the Messiah ruling from Jerusalem.

While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. (Luke 19:11)

We see that the proximity of Jesus to Jerusalem led the people to think that He was going to set up the earthly Messianic kingdom (in Jerusalem) that they were expecting.

Luke informs us that it was this that prompted Jesus to tell the ‘Parable of the Ten Minas’. Here, for the first time, Jesus hints that the Kingdom Age will not follow immediately but that the king-to-be would go away (to a distant country) first. He tells a story about a king rejected by His subjects while away (fulfilled in the predominant Jewish rejection of Jesus). Notice that on returning (second coming) the king rewards his faithful followers by allowing them to rule over cities (we will rule with Jesus).

Luke 19:12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ 14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ 15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. 16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ 17 ”‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ 18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’ 19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’…”

The Ten Minas

Jesus & Premillennialism

Did Jesus say anything else about ruling on earth?

Jesus taught his disciples to pray:

“Our Father in heaven … your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:9-10)

Jesus explicitly confers a kingdom on His disciples which involves the twelve tribes of Israel.

And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:29-30)

Matt 19:27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” 28 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, 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 children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Jesus & Premillennialism

The Jews of Jesus’ day expected the Messiah to set up a kingdom and after he fed the 5000 they wanted to forcefully make Jesus king.

John 6:14 After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Jesus’ disciples not only expected an immediate Messianic rule on earth, James and John's mother wanted to reserve preferential positions for her sons in the kingdom.

Matt 20:20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21 “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”

Jesus & Premillennialism

In line with the Jewish understanding of the OT prophecies, Satan expected the Messiah to immediately try and take back the kingdoms of this world, which he had usurped. He offered Jesus an ‘easy’ solution.

Matt 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ”

Zechariah had prophesied the entry of Jerusalem’s king into the city, “Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you… gentle and riding on a donkey… (Zech 9:9)

Jesus fulfilled this prophecy, but when Pilate asks the Jews “Shall I crucify your king?”, they respond “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:15)

Earlier Jesus had prophesied the future destruction of Jerusalem because it did not recognize its King, who would bring them peace.

Matthew 21:41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 44 … They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Jerusalem’s King rejected

When Jesus again wept over Jerusalem and her pending judgment, He implied that He would enter Jerusalem at a later date. This time however, they would fulfill the rest of Zechariah’s prophecy and say “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Matt 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”

He in no way states that their chance of having him as king of the city is now gone forever… the date has simply shifted.

Jerusalem’s King rejected

The interim ‘Church Age’ is a period when Jesus has a kingdom ‘not of this world’, but Jesus’ use of the word ‘now’ when speaking to Pilate indicates that this is a temporary situation.

John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world… But now my kingdom is from another place.” 37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world…”

In John’s Apocalypse, he sees the day when the ‘kingdoms of the world’ ultimately become the kingdom of the Messiah (Christ):

… there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Rev 11:15)

Jerusalem’s King rejected

Sexta-septamillennial tradition

Peter wrote: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Pet 3:8)

The early church fathers expressed their belief in Premillennialism through their acceptance of the sexta-septamillennial tradition. Irenaeus held to the Jewish tradition that the first 6 days of creation week were typical of the first 6000 years of human history, with Antichrist manifesting himself in the 6th period. And he expected the millennial kingdom to begin with the second coming of Christ to destroy the wicked - and inaugurate, for the righteous, the reign of the kingdom of God during the seventh thousand year, the millennial Sabbath, as signified by the Sabbath of creation week.

Clarence Larkin illustrated the sexta-septamillennial view as follows, with the first and second day (2000 years) being the Age of Conscience, the third and fourth day (2000 years) being the Age of Law, the fifth and sixth day (2000 years) being the Age of Grace and the seventh Sabbatical day (1000 years) being the Millennium.

Irenaeus (140-202)

Sexta-septamillennial tradition

Age of Conscience

Age of Law

Age of Grace

If this view is correct, the appearance of the Antichrist is eminent.

The 6000th year is the 6th millennial ‘day’ and antichrist has the number 666 (number of man, who was created on the 6th day).

Millennium

Events immediately

preceding the Millennium

Resurrection of the righteous

The Millennium is preceded by the Rapture, then a 7-year tribulation, Armageddon, the Second Coming of Jesus and the last phase (there are 3) of the First Resurrection (i.e. the ‘gleanings’ or resurrection of the Tribulation saints).

Rev 20:5 … This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

Judgment

After Armageddon, the survivors of the Tribulation will be judged on their fitness to enter the Millennium.

The Valley of Jehoshaphat is only mentioned in the Book of Joel. There, after the northern army is repelled, God will gather all the heathen nations and sit in judgment on their misdeeds to Israel. The significance of the name Jehoshaphat is ‘Yahweh judges’. Some believe that this valley may be the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem.

Joel 3:2 I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of my people and my inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up my land… 12 ‘Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. (NASB)

Zech 14:16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty…

These “survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem” are the same as the ‘sheep’ of Matthew 25 and the ‘wheat’ and ‘good fish’ of Matthew 13.

Judgment

The parable of the ‘Wheat and Tares’ is about this judgment and not about the Rapture. The (A) angels gather (B) the wicked at (C) ‘the end of the age’ to weed them ‘out of his kingdom’, while at the Rapture the righteous are removed with no need for angelic assistance (we shall be equal to angels).

Matt 13:37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

Judgment

Likewise the parable of the net. Note the key phrases again, (A) ‘end of the age’, (B) the wicked are separated & (C) the angels are involved.

Matt 13:47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Daniel 12:11 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.

As the ‘Abomination that causes desolation’ is set up in the middle of the Tribulation and the second half of the Tribulation is 1260 (Rev 12:6) days, the phrase “Blessed is the one who … reaches the end of the 1,335 days” has led some to believe that the Sheep-Goat Nation Judgment may last 75 days (1335 – 1260 = 75).

Judgment

In the ‘Sheep-Goat’ judgment of the nations that Jesus described in Matthew 25:31-46, the criteria is how the nations have treated the people of Israel i.e. the ‘brothers’ of Jesus. Bearing mind that during the Tribulation, the antichrist will persecute the Jews in a similar way that Hitler persecuted them during the Holocaust. This judgment determines who is allowed to enter into the Millennial Earth. It is not the same as the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Millennium.

Matt 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

Judgment

Matt 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Satan is bound

Rev 20:1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended…

The Abyss is the current prison for the fallen ‘Watchers’ (angels) who fathered the ‘Nephilim’ (giants) and who are released on mankind in Revelation 9.

When Jesus returns he will take back the kingdom from Satan (the strong man), but will first ‘tie up’ the strong man.

Matt 12:29 Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.

Satan is bound

Rev 20:1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended…

The Abyss is the current prison for the fallen ‘Watchers’ (angels) who fathered the ‘Nephilim’ (giants) and who are released on mankind in Revelation 9.

When Jesus returns he will take back the kingdom from Satan (the strong man), but will first ‘tie up’ the strong man.

Matt 12:29 Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.

According to Amillennialism Satan is bound now? This belief that Satan was bound at the cross is contradicted by Scripture…

Satan hindered Paul from coming to Thessalonica (1 Thess 2:18).

He filled Ananias’ heart to lie to the Holy Spirit. (Acts 5:3).

He is ‘the god of this age’ who is currently blinding those who do not see the gospel. (2 Cor 4:4)

He has the ability to transform himself into an angel of light to deceive those on the earth. (2 Cor 11:14).

He is a ruler over kingdoms of darkness, waging war against the saints. (Eph 6:12)

He is walking about as a lion “seeking whom he may devour”. (1 Peter 5:8)

He is “the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” (Eph 2:1-3)

Satan being crushed is viewed in Romans 16:20 as a future event.

AS SOMEONE WELL SAID: “IF SATAN IS BOUND TODAY, THE CHAIN IS TOO LONG.”

The well-known passage in Isaiah 14 about Satan actually refers to this time of judgment on Satan and the ‘king of Babylon’ (antichrist).

Isa 14:1 When the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land… 4 … you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, “How the oppressor has ceased, and how fury has ceased!” … 7 The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they break forth into shouts of joy… 9 Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; it arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; it raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones. 10 They will all respond and say to you, “Even you have been made weak as we, you have become like us.” 11 Your pomp and the music of your harps have been brought down to Sheol; maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you and worms are your covering. 12 How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! 13 But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” 15 Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit. 16 Those who see you will gaze at you, they will ponder over you, saying, “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, 17 who made the world like a wilderness and overthrew its cities, who did not allow his prisoners to go home?” (NASB)

The kingdom of God on earth

In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue which represented the kingdoms of the world, the statue is finally destroyed by a rock which subsequently fills the whole earth. Daniel explains how this represents the final earthly kingdom that will be established by God.

Dan 2:34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth…

Dan 2:44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands - a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.”

The kingdom of God on earth

THE SON OF MAN COMING WITH THE CLOUDS

Daniel has a vision of a ‘son of man’ who is given authority by the Ancient of Days (God the Father) and authority over all peoples and nations.

Dan 7:13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

The kingdom of God on earth

THE SON OF MAN COMING WITH THE CLOUDS

Both Jesus and the religious leaders of his day identified this portion in Daniel with the Messiah (Christ) and in applying it to himself, Jesus was accused of blasphemy.

Matt 26:63 … The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy!”

The kingdom of God on earth

The government on the earth will be a theocracy, with Christ as King of the earth. When Jesus returns he has the titles ‘King of Kings’ and ‘Lord of Lords’ (Rev 19:16).

God will reign through Jesus on earth.

Zech 14:9 The LORD will be king over the whole earth.

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he 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. He will reign on David’s throne* and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.

* i.e. in Jerusalem

The kingdom of God on earth

The scriptures mean what they say, and should be read literally.

Revelation 20 teaches Premillennialism.

The term ‘Thousand years’ repeated 6 times in the Revelation 20 reinforces its literal meaning.

There are multiple resurrections taught in Scripture.

This view is the oldest view, held by the OT prophets and the early church.

The apostles expected an earthly kingdom of God. (Acts 1:6)

Christ also supported a future earthly kingdom.

The unconditional nature of the covenants (Abrahamic & Davidic). God made promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the 12 tribes of Israel. Some of these promises are not fulfilled yet.

Peace in the world is unattainable without Jesus, ‘the Prince of Peace’.

The historic failure of Amillennialism and Postmillennialism.

Premillennialism harmonizes the entire Bible (OT & NT).

Summarized support for Premillennialism

During the first 3 centuries of the apostolic Church, which was clearly Premillennial not Postmillennial, ‘reconstructing society’ was never entertained. Christ clearly taught “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). The Bible teaches us that the world will become more corrupt in the last days, then after the Tribulation period Christ will return and establish His Millennial kingdom. Reigning over the whole earth from Jerusalem, His Capital, Israel will be made the leader of the nations, and the Church will reign with Him for a literal thousand years.

The Church is never commanded to subdue the earth on its own, this simply will not happen until Christ returns.

The Church's main responsibility is evangelism and discipleship, NOT political activism. (This doesn’t however mean that we don’t speak out against social evils and injustices.) Our call as believers is to change ‘people’ through the gospel of Jesus Christ, NOT to change ‘society’ through social reformation.

Summarized support for Premillennialism

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture taken from The Message (www.biblegateway.com/ versions/ Message-MSG-Bible)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.


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