A Millennial or A-Millennial Future: Which? (7)
6. Completeness of the Divine Program
We believe that a future literal reign of 1,000 years, on earth, is necessary in order that God’s plans for this earth be brought to fulfillment. When God made the world and everything in it, it was all “good” (Gen 1). He put a man as head over the creation (Gen 1:26, 28). This is described in Psalm 8:6: “Thou madest him [man] to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet.” However, sin came in, so, quoting and commenting on this Psalm, the writer to the Hebrews says that, in the present, we do not see all things under a man (Heb 2:8). However, this passage (by using the words “not yet”) shows that a time is coming when we will. This he calls “the age to come” (v 5). And certainly the Man in Whom this will be fulfilled is the Lord Jesus Christ (vv 9, 10).
How and when will this take place? Under the amillennial scheme, there will not be a time when this earth will see its former glory restored, for according to this, things will continue as they are now, until the end, when there will be a general resurrection, a general judgment, the destruction of the earth, and the bringing in of the eternal state. Thus, according to this scheme, the words of the Lord’s pattern prayer (Luke 11:2), “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth,” will never be answered, as far as this present earth is concerned.
However, not only does the OT abound with references to future blessing on earth (we have already considered some of the well-known ones in a previous article, so will not repeat them here), but the NT affirms them. The “whole creation,” which “groaneth and travaileth in pain” shall be “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21, 22). Such a wonderful prophecy could scarcely be fulfilled by the “fervent heat” of 2 Peter 3:10, which describes dissolution of the present creation, rather than its deliverance! The conflagration which Peter describes here will surely take place, but not until the glorious period of the 1,000-year rule of Christ on earth has been completed. No, the will of God will be done on this very earth, for 1,000 years, before the dissolution of the elements occurs, resulting in the new heavens and the new earth.
Passages such as Zechariah 14 would be meaningless if they did not refer to the literal earth. It is stated that the Lord will stand upon the mount of Olives (v 4), and Zechariah describes major topographical changes that will take place then: the mountain splitting in two (v 4), a great movement of waters (v 8), and the formation of a plain (v 10). If it was true that the coming of the Lord was immediately going to result in the dissolution of everything, Zechariah could have said so, without giving details of specific geographical places and events, which, if the amillennialist is right, will not take place. Surely it is better to take Zechariah’s words as they stand. At the Lord’s return to earth, there will be changes, but they will take place on the same earth we are living on now, in places that can be identified on the present globe. Moreover, since Zechariah describes topographical changes, not atomization, we would be wise to accept that what will happen at the Lord’s return is just that, and keep the atomization and reconstitution (of 2 Peter 3) for when it belongs – much later.
When the Lord was here, He was crucified. He left as a rejected King. He is still rejected. Is this the end of things as far as this world is concerned? Is He never going to reign on this present earth where He was rejected? Yes He will! How blessed are the words of Zechariah 9:10: “His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.” He will reign over this very world where He was rejected.
Psalm 2:1-3 describes the hatred of the nations against the Lord. The psalmist expresses the futility of their opposition: “Yet have I set my King upon My holy hill of Zion” (v 6). This is doubtless referring to the future reign of the Lord Jesus Christ (the words in v 7: “Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee” quoted in Acts 13:33; Heb 1:5; 5:5, and the quotation from Psalm 2 in Acts 4:25-27, confirm that the passage refers to Him). The readers of this psalm would have had no doubt that “Zion” was the hill on which Jerusalem was built (Psa 48:12), and they would certainly have understood the statement in verse six to refer to the Messiah reigning in the earthly city of Jerusalem. There is no reason for anyone to jettison the literal fulfillment of this beautiful Messianic prophecy. The statement in Hebrews 12:22: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” shows us that we, as believers in the present day, come into the spiritual blessings associated with heaven, God’s dwelling place, of which Zion and the earthly Jerusalem are a picture. This does not negate the Scripture references to Him reigning as King in the literal city of Jerusalem.
When the Lord Jesus last walked the streets of Jerusalem, the people cried, “Away with this man” (Luke 23:18). But when they see Him again, they will say, “Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord” (Matt 23:39). The same city that rejected Him will receive Him gladly. He will establish His throne right there, and from it blessing will flow out to the nations.
By denying a future reign of Christ, centered in Jerusalem over the earth, the amillennialist is denying a vital part of God’s program for the present earth. Only by a literal, future rule of Christ on earth can all God’s promises for this world be fulfilled.