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Why I Am An Amillennialist

5

Before I begin let me say with all sincerity that the debate over the millennium is a secondary issue. It should never divide Christians. What unites us is our common confession that Jesus is coming back! Let that be the basis for our unity.

My departure from premillennialism was gradual and came as a result of two discoveries as I studied Scripture. In this article I will only deal with one. My change came about as I devoted myself to a thorough examination of what the NT said would occur at the time of Christ’s second coming (or parousia). What I found was a consistent witness concerning what would either end or begin as a result of our Lord’s return to the earth. Sin in the lives of God’s people, corruption of the natural creation, and the experience of physical death would terminate upon the appearance of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, and the inauguration of the New Heavens and New Earth would ensue. But why is this a problem for premillennialism? Good question.

If you are a premillennialist, whether dispensational or not, there are several things with which you must reckon:

You must necessarily believe that physical death will continue to exist beyond the time of Christ’s second coming. The reason for this is that all premillennialists must account for the rebellious and unbelieving nations in Revelation 20:7-10 who launch an assault against Christ and his people at the end of what they believe is the millennial age. Where did these people come from? They must be the unbelieving progeny born to those believers who entered the millennial age in physical, un-glorified bodies. Not only they, but also the believing progeny born to those believers will be subject to physical death (notwithstanding the alleged prolonged life spans experienced by those who live during the millennial reign of Christ).

You must necessarily believe that the natural creation will continue, beyond the time of Christ’s second coming, to be subjected to the curse imposed by the fall of man. The reason for this is that all premillennialists must concede that unbelievers will continue to populate and infect the earth during the millennial reign of Christ. Notwithstanding the presence of Christ himself, as premillennialists argue, the earth will continue to be ravaged by war and sin and death, even if only at the millennium’s end (Revelation 20:7-10). As a premillennialist, you must necessarily believe that the redemption of the natural creation and its being set free from bondage to corruption does not occur, at least in its consummate expression, until 1,000 years subsequent to Christ’s return.

You must necessarily believe that the New Heavens and New Earth will not be introduced until 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ. This is not in itself problematic, except for the fact that the NT appears to teach that the New Heavens and New Earth are inaugurated at the time of Christ’s second coming, not 1,000 years thereafter (2 Peter 3:8-13).

You must necessarily believe that unbelieving men and women will still have the opportunity to come to saving faith in Christ for at least 1,000 years subsequent to his return. The reason for this is that, according to premillennialism, countless millions of people will be born during the course of the millennial reign of Christ. Are premillennialists asking us to believe that upon their attaining to an age when they are capable of understanding and responding to the revelation of God and the personal, physical presence of the risen and glorified Christ Jesus himself, that none of them will be given the opportunity to respond in faith to the claims of the gospel?

You must necessarily believe that unbelievers will not be finally resurrected until at least 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ. All premillennialists affirm that the final resurrection of the unsaved occurs at the close of the millennial kingdom.

You must necessarily believe that unbelievers will not be finally judged and cast into eternal punishment until at least 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ.

So, what’s wrong with believing these things, asks the premillennialist? What’s wrong is that these many things that premillennialists must believe (because of the way they interpret Scripture), the NT explicitly denies. In other words, in my study of the second coming of Christ I discovered that, contrary to what premillennialism requires us to believe (see above), physical death is defeated and swallowed up in victory at the Parousia (1 Cor. 15:22-28, 50-57), the natural creation is set free from its bondage to corruption at the Parousia (Rom. 8:18-23), the New Heavens and the New Earth are introduced immediately following the Parousia (2 Pet. 3:8-13), all opportunity to receive Christ as savior terminates at the Parousia (2 Cor. 6:1-2; Heb. 9:27), and both the final resurrection and eternal judgment of unbelievers will occur at the time of the Parousia (Matt. 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; 2 Thess. 1:5-10).

Simply put, the NT portrayals of the second coming of Christ forced me to conclude that a millennial age, subsequent to Christ’s return, of the sort proposed by premillennialism was impossible.

5 Comments

hi sam,

the problem with amillenialism is that The over-arching structure is linear and sequential AND the events that are depicted are mostly literal… So you have to say thwn that amill… contradicts the testimony of Revelation.

j-m
I am so glad to have found you! Calvanistic, and ''speaks in tongues? Spirit filled? ...need to know something...is the only evidence of ''Spirit Filled'', speaking in tongues...Charles Finney does not come out and say so....neither A.B.Simpson...and Tozer says he has not seen where speaking in tongues is the ''only sign'' of ''being spiritfilled''...what is your take?.
While I concur thoroughly with Dr. Storm's insights, I find it necessary to point out, that while eschatology is a secondary issue, to be sure, I would hasten to point out that as I embraced Amillennialism, my view as to the nature of the Kingdom of God changed, my understanding concerning spiritual warfare was deeply affected, as well as a theological reshaping of my philosophy of history and its monolithic structure took on a more Biblical resemblance than I ever contemplatively considered before as either a Premillenialst or a Postmil idealist.
The issues stated above are provided to the reader as a means of attaching whatever value such issues carry in their hearts and minds.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Kingdom Come and found it very helpful. Thank you.
I have been against Pre-millennial doctrine since I expected Christ to return in May, 1988 as forecast by Tim LaHaye/Hal Lindsey. I had invested all I could believing Jesus would return as forecast. Since questioning them, I have believed as Ern Baxter taught in “Thy Kingdom. Come” in 1976. I fully expect Jesus to be in the heavens “retained until the restoration of all things.” I have lately been studying your book “kingdom Come: an Amillenium Alternative” and am grateful for the blessings I have received so far, especially in exposition against Pre-mill teaching. I found more evidence recently for the AD 70 writing of Revelation. I have not finished your book, but I am blessed by your reasoning to read other passages before the Revelation to establish a base the John’s Revelation has to be built upon. Thank you again.
BTW I have been praying for you since you have not updated your “Exploring Word and Spirit” since August 19. I trust you are well and soon able to catch us up on the Kansas City prophets series.
Jack

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