A Millennial or A-Millennial Future: Which? (1)
A big thank you to you for reading this far! Perhaps some readers did not even get to the opening sentence – the title itself may be enough to send them rapidly on their way towards the “Tidings” part of the magazine! Does it really make much difference whether, in moving from the word “A” to the word “Millennial,” one types a space bar or a hyphen on one’s keyboard?
Yes, it does make a difference, a difference of 1000 years! But the issue goes beyond a debate over time. It involves some questions which are very important for us as believers, such as: How do we read the Bible, and how do we interpret what we read? Can we really trust what the Bible says? Can we really take God at His Word or not? What is the character of God? Does the Bible distinguish between subjects, and, if so, do we take care to give heed to those distinctions? What does the future hold for this world? Are those who say that the present world is doomed, or could end at any time, correct? What is going to happen in the Middle East, and to the nation of Israel in particular? Is she going to be wiped out by her “neighbors”? What does the future hold for us as believers?
All these issues, and many more, are involved in this subject. Please read on.
In Revelation 20:1-7, we read about a period of “a thousand years,” from which we obtain the word “Millennium.” These verses tell us that, for that period, Satan will be bound, and the saints will reign with Christ. Now, the question is this: Are those 1,000 years literal, referring to a time in the future, when there will be a literal reign of Christ on the earth? Or are they symbolic, speaking of the present age, with Christ reigning in the hearts of His people, and His people, in a spiritual sense, reigning with Him in heaven? Those who take the former view believe that there really will be a Millennial reign of Christ. The latter view is referred to as “amillennial” (the prefix “a” having the effect of negating what follows it).
We believe the former to be the true view. Having already, at least seven years earlier at the “Rapture” (1 Thess 4:13-18), come to the air to take the Church to heaven, Christ will return to the earth, and will reign over the world for a period of 1,000 years, when the nation of Israel will be restored to its place of privilege over the nations, and when the many Scriptures promising peace and prosperity will be fulfilled. There are many reasons why we take this view, but in this series of articles we will explore eight.
Content of Scripture
We will seek to show that the fact of a future, literal Millennium, here on earth, is the clear and consistent teaching of the Bible, both in the OT and the NT.
Conditions in the present time
We will look at the amillennialist claims that the OT prophecies regarding a blessed future for Israel and the world are fulfilled in the present (by the believers reigning with Christ in heaven). Present conditions do not answer to this interpretation.
Consistency of interpretation
We will see that it is only by holding to a future, literal Millennium that Scriptures can be interpreted in a consistent manner, and that the amillennial view uses an inconsistent and unreliable mix of interpretative methods.
Contrast between Israel and the Church
The references in the Scriptures to “Israel” and “the Church” are distinct from one another. The amillennial view obliterates this distinction.
Covenants with the fathers
We will consider the solemn covenants which God made with the great fathers of the nation of Israel, and how that fulfillment of them demands a literal, future Millennium.
Completeness of the divine program
We will refer to Scriptures which show that, before the future “new heavens and new earth,” God has a blessed future planned for this present earth, in which there will be peace and righteousness; we will see how this can only come about by the rule of Christ on the earth.
Character of God
To deny a literal Millennium is, in effect, to deny that God speaks the truth, that He keeps His promises, or that He is able to carry out what He has foretold.
Context of Quotations
We will examine passages which are often quoted to support the amillennial position, and seek to show that, seen in their right context, they do not support that idea at all.
In Acts 17:10, 11, there is commendation of people who “received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” As we go through this series together, this is the desire of the writer: that the reader would not either blindly accept or reject what is being written in the articles, but that he or she would go humbly to the Scriptures, and seek, before God, to ascertain what the Word of God teaches. Many Scripture references will be given and these should be read along with the articles. Many more references could have been given, but space considerations prevent this. If these articles succeed in encouraging some to “search the Scriptures” in order to know “those things which are most surely believed among us” (Luke 1:1), then they will have been worthwhile.