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Premillennialism vs. Amillennialism

Sunday, May 4, 2008 24 comments

We had a guest speaker at my church today who specializes in eschatology. When I say specializes, I mean he has had years of studies in the area. He mainly talked about different theological teachings such as premillennialism, amillennialism, postmillennialism, dispensationalism, covenant theology, and replacement theology. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, I encourage you to look them up because they are important and it would take up too much space to define them all.

The main point was premillennialism vs amillennialism, not to be confused with pre-tribulation and post-tribulation. This is an interpretation about Revelation chapter 20 when it talks about Christ reigning for 1,000 years. Premillennialist believe that is a literal 1,000 years and that in order for it to happen Jesus Christ has to return. In contrast, amillenialists believe that it is not a literal 1,000 years and that it has already happened. They believe it is a spiritual reign not physical.

He then raised an interesting question. Do we put too much emphasis on heaven? It sounds like a ridiculous question, but let me explain. If a believer dies, he goes to heaven and everything is good for him, but there is still evil on earth. If this doesn't sound important take a look at Jesus' model for prayer in Matthew chapter 6.

Matthew 6:10

"Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven."


Should we really be anticipating God's kingdom instead? Premillennialist believe that Jesus' 1,000 year reign is the first step.

1 Corinthians 15:24-25
"Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. (25) For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet."


I know this is deep stuff and I by no means consider myself an expert, but I am starting to become more interested in this. In my opinion this makes sense because while evangelism is great and commanded by God, the overall purpose is to give God Glory.

24 comments: to “ Premillennialism vs. Amillennialism so far...

  • Elusive Wapiti May 5, 2008 at 1:06 AM
     

    Craig, which interpretation do you subscribe to? Am I correct in inferring premillenialism?

  • Craig May 5, 2008 at 9:27 AM
     

    Thanks for commenting Elusive Wapiti. I do subscribe to premillennialism. My reasoning is that I tend to interpret the Bible literally. So when it says 1,000 years repeatedly, I believe it. However, as I said in my post, I am just begining to look at this more in depth and wouldn't rule out hearing a case for amillenniallism. Thanks again.

  • j razz May 6, 2008 at 11:26 AM
     

    I tend to swing towards the amill position although I sway between the two in your title (Amillennialism & Classic Premillennialism).

    We have gone over this twice now in one of our Sunday School classes (in about a 5 year period) and it has been immensely beneficial. The different views are laid out and we go through them in depth and lay out the major arguments from each and then explain how each competing position answers the charges and we go through their weaknesses as well.

    Here is a "brief" outline if you would like it.

  • Geppy May 6, 2008 at 2:57 PM
     

    My personal view.... There are many promises in the OT that have not been fulfilled. Psalms 2 even speaks of something that has not even been fulfilled.

    I don't know if the 1000 years will be literally 1000 years - nor do I think that is the point. But even at the ascension Jesus was promised to return to this earth in the exact same manner. To my knowledge this return has not yet happened.

    Therefore, I either have to believe that he will fulfill this promise and all the others in the OT - or there is no reason to believe in the promise of salvation. It is an either/or condition. Either God keeps his promises, or he is a lier and there are no promises to trust in.

  • Craig May 6, 2008 at 10:29 PM
     

    Geppy and j razz,

    Your responses go together. I say this because according to j razz's reference (which I enjoyed) I would fall under the category of dispensationalism premillennialism.

    I fall under this category because like Geppy mentioned the promises of the O.T. and the classical premillennialism takes on replacement theology. In case someone doesn't know what replacement theology is it is where believers believe that the church receives the promises of the Jews. I take the position that the gentile and Jew are separate.

    This verse comes to mind about God keeping His promise to Israel.

    Jeremiah 31:35-36 "Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day, The ordinances of the moon and the starts for light by night, Who disturbs the sea, And its waves roar (The LORD of hosts is His name): (36) If those ordinances depart From before Me, says the LORD, Then the seed of Israel shall also cease From being a nation before Me forever."

  • Geppy May 6, 2008 at 10:40 PM
     

    I just read the link that j razz provided. I would not fall under any of those categories and would personally believe that they do not cover all possibilities.

  • j razz May 7, 2008 at 12:39 AM
     

    I would make the argument that all the promises that were made to Israel will be kept and will be fulfilled in Israel. However, I would also make the case that we need to understand who is really Israel. Hint: the New Testament authors held that Israel was none other than Christ Himself. He was the true Israel. Just think: What Adam failed to do in the garden, Christ succeeded. What Israel failed to do over and over again (be God's perfect example to the nations) Christ accomplished. Paul makes the case that Christ is the true Israel and all promises promised to Isreal are in fact fulfilled in Christ and bestowed to us; heirs of that promise.

    See the below quote and the link below that.

    ...The ramifications for this upon one’s millennial view should now be obvious. If Jesus is the true Israel of God, and if the New Testament writers apply to Jesus those Old Testament prophecies referring to Israel as God’s son or servant, then what remains of the dispensationalist’s case that these prophecies remain yet to be fulfilled in a future millennium? They vanish in Jesus Christ, who has fulfilled them!

    You can read the rest here.

    P.S. I would also say that there are places in all of the views that cause one to stretch how they view scripture. So, since it is not clear, I would further submit this is not an issue over which I would be willing to put up a fight. It is not a salvation issue although it is something for us to study and live out the implications thereof.

    j razz

  • MikeT May 7, 2008 at 10:14 AM
     

    My view is rarely popular, but to me the end times is just an academic point of no practical importance for the individual believer. If you are a believer, then try to live like one, including by sharing the gospel. It is clearly written that the true end times will come upon us like a "thief in the night," taking most of us by surprise.

  • Geppy May 8, 2008 at 2:01 PM
     

    miket,

    I believe the "thief in the night" reference acually states something to the effect of so that it will not come upon you like a theif in the night. The "thief" concept is for those without knowledge and understanding (unbelievers) and those with should see the signs of the times and know that their Lord is coming.

  • Craig May 8, 2008 at 2:19 PM
     

    I actually take the thief in the night as a analogy of not knowing the exact time Jesus will return.

  • Geppy May 8, 2008 at 3:56 PM
     

    I have just had a little time to research a little more.

    1 Thess 5:4 -> should not take you as a thief in the night

    2 Peter 3 -> speaks of the day as like a thief, but also then refers to what Paul says in his letters on this topic

    From this I take it to mean that there is some source for the terminology "thief in the night." My thought would be with research that it would probably be found in the OT.

  • Timm May 12, 2008 at 11:38 AM
     

    I still tend to think of this a lot like MikeT does.It hurts my head to try to figure out all the logistics, so I tend to not bother. I know that Jesus is coming because the Bible tells me so. That is good enough for me.

    The "thief in the night" bit seems a bit off topic, so I won't comment.

    I lean towards pre-millennialism. That being said, I really haven't studied it very much, (for the reason I just gave you, it hurts my head.) Like MikeT said, "the end times is just an academic point of no practical importance for the individual believer." It is just something for us to discuss, but the way the Lord chooses to do it is of little importance. All that REALLY matters is that it happens.

    I'm boring, I know.

  • Doorman-Priest May 13, 2008 at 2:53 PM
     

    Ah, the book of Revelation. Possibly one of the most dangerous religious books ever written!

  • layneh May 13, 2008 at 10:43 PM
     

    I would first like to point out that this speaker asks, as you said, "Do we put too much emphasis on heaven?" to which I would reference what he specializes in... Wouldnt that mean HE spends too much time on the topic, being a specialist/expert.

    Just found that irony quite humorous.

    I tend to agree with a few comments here. I take the Bible literally, but I dont know that these would "cover all possibilities" What about the whole idea that 1000 years is like a day, and vis versa? Couldnt that then be interpreted that Christ will be here for a day?

    While I love the "end time" topic, there is a point at which I must remind myself that, while I enjoy studying it, its my life here and now that is what matters, and directly impacts my life in heaven.

    I believe that God keeps all promises, whether we are able to fully comprehend how He answers them, would be a different story.

    The thief in the night reference, I agree with Geppy. It is important to try to understand the events of the end times, so that when it comes, no matter what generation, we can be more prepared. All that it is saying is dont go to bed with the doors and windows wide open. Thats not to say that we know when Christ will return, but be prepared. Why else would the Bible give us signs to look for???

    Lastly, I agree, Revelations can be dangerous, and is quite complicated to understand at times, but that doesnt mean we should avoid it.

  • Dan June 4, 2010 at 12:05 PM
     

    I have studied and taught and preached Eschatology for decades now and have been refreshed each time. Just a word of encouragement to those who find the book of Revelation "heavy" - there is a promise of blessing in 2:3; "Blessed is he that readeth...". Just for reading it, God promises a blessing. What a deal!

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