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The danger of spiritualizing the End Times

Premillennialism: The belief that the 7 year tribulation period occurs BEFORE the 1,000 year Millennium.


Amillennialism: The belief that there will be NO Millennium period. Many prophetic things should be interpreted spiritually rather than literally.


Postmillennialism: The belief that the 7 year tribulation period occurs AFTER the 1,000 year Millennium.
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Amillennialism: Refuted By the Word of God
By the late T. P. Simmons (edited by CJ Visser)


The Early Church Premillennial


Premillennialism was the original faith of Christendom. Charles Feinberg, in Premillennialism or Amillennialism, says: “Every book that we have read and studied on the question of the millennium, whether it was favorable or unfavorable to the doctrine, or whether it gave full force and value to the testimony or tried to dissipate its implications, admitted freely that the entire Church of the first three centuries was premillennial, almost to a man.” This is admitted by Harnack, Mosheim, Geisler, Chillingworth, Stackhouse, Bishop Newton, Bishop Russell, Gibbon, and even by Daniel Whitby. Not only was Montanus a premillennialist, but so also were Justin Martyr, Polycarp, Papias, and Irenaeus.


The History of Amillennialism


Premillennialism was first. Amillennialism came next. It had its source in the “philosophy of vain deceit,” against which Paul warned the Colossians (Col. 2:8). Philo, a Jewish contemporary of Jesus, set out to blend Hebrew and Greek thought. By the allegorical method of interpretation he explained away everything in the Old Testament that was not in harmony with the philosophy of Plato. In doing this, Philo was simply applying to the Old Testament the principle that the Greeks had employed for centuries in the interpretation of Homer.


This allegorizing method of interpretation of Scripture (spiritualizing things and not taking it literally) was established in the great center of learning at Alexandria. Here it was passed on to Clement of Alexandria, Dionysus and Origen. It was Origen that did more than any other to popularize this method. Of course we know that these men were also involved in strongly influencing the early corrupt development of Bible texts.


Whilst Premillennialism has always been around since the early Church, Amillennialism came afterwards, yet went dormant for about 200 years when Postmillennialism arrived. Postmillennialism had so many advocates (such as Broadus, Carroll, Boyce, Pendleton and Mullins) that Amillennialism was smothered. But with the passing of Postmillennialism, it was rejuvenated. It received a shot-in-the-arm.


Why the Early Church Was Premillennial


The early church was Premillennial because early Christians believed in a characteristically literal interpretation of the Word of God. The departure from the truth of Premillennialism on the part of the Catholic church, which is so well inscribed on the pages of history, came as a result of the adoption of the allegorizing or spiritualizing method of interpreting the Scripture already referred to. Because of Origen’s influence in this respect, Milner, the great English historian, said: “No man, not altogether unsound and hypocritical, ever injured the Church more than Origen did.” Other so-called “church fathers” took up this method. From them it passed on to scholastic theologians and was carried over by some Protestant dogmatists.


Amillennialists are not consistent


The Amillennialist takes the most positive promises of God to Israel, such as Isaiah 2:1-5 and Micah 4:1-7, and makes them conditional insofar as they are thought to apply to national Israel. If I could consider these positive promises conditional, then I should treat likewise such promises as found in Jeremiah 32:40; Romans 8:29-30; and John 20:27-29.


Yet Amillennialists would accuse Premillennialists of being inconsistent in, for example, saying that the Mark of the Beast (Rev 13) should be taken as a literal mark on the right hand or forehead, but the Mark of God (Deut 6:8 and Rev 14) should be taken as spiritual. Firstly, Deut 6 talks about a “sign” upon the hand or forehead. Rev 14:1 talks about the Father’s “name written in their foreheads”. Neither of these passages talk of a MARK of God.


Secondly, Satan is a counterfeiter, he can never be original. He knows he cannot, like God, seal his people spiritually, so he comes with a counterfeit- on the same place as where God seals His people (Deut 6:8). We find this in idol worship as well. Satan cannot reproduce God Himself, so he makes an IMAGE/ a PHYSICAL REPRESENTATION of God (in the form of idols), and people bow before it and worship it. So the Mark of the Beast will be Satan’s PHYSICAL REPRESENTATION of God’s seal upon His own.


Denies God’s Word Concerning the Binding of Satan


God’s Word pictures in Revelation 20 the complete restraint of Satan during the millennium, but Amillennialists say the restraint is only partial. That is just a plain, outright, blatant denial of the Word of God.


Denies God’s Word About the Kingdom of the Beast


No doubt A. Pieters represents the consensus of opinion among Amillennialists when he says: “The Battle of Armageddon, in the nineteenth chapter (of Revelation) means the victory of Christianity over Roman paganism, in the first three centuries of our era.” But the Bible describes the pagan Roman Empire when it says, “and one is,” that is, one of the seven kings or kingdoms. Then it is said of the beast “he is the eighth” (See Rev. 17:10,11). By no sort of mental gymnastics can any honest man make out to himself that the empire of the beast was pagan Rome. Pagan Rome was in existence when John wrote and he plainly says that after it another was to come; and that the beast was to come still later. The one that was to come in John’s day is plainly Papal Rome. And the empire of the beast is still to come. John plainly said in his day that the beast “is not” (Rev. 17:8).


Denies the Teaching of God’s Word That the Beast Is a Man


The Bible teaches unmistakably that the beast is a man by declaring his number is “the number of a man” (Rev. 13:18) and by revealing that he will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10). Only a man who is more interested in maintaining his own notion than in accepting the Word of God would ever dream that the Bible here has reference to anything other than a man. But Amillennialism says the beast only represents a system or abstract conception. Thus again it flatly denies the Word of God.


Must Distinguish Between Beast and Man of Sin


Since Amillennialists do not believe that the second coming of Christ is pictured in Revelation 19, saying that the destruction of the beast portrayed therein is but the triumph of Christianity over Roman paganism, they are logically forced to deny that the man of sin in II Thessalonians 2:3-8, is the same as the beast of Revelation because the man of sin is to be destroyed with the brightness of Christ’s coming. Yet nothing is plainer than that the man of sin and the Beast are identical.


Rejects God’s Place For the Second Coming of Christ


Amillennialism rejects God’s place for the second coming of Christ and then substitutes its own. This is typical of Amillennialism as a whole. It says that we have not the second coming of Christ in revelation 19, where that coming is plainly pictured to all except those who have blinded their eyes by becoming victims of the “philosophy of vain deceit;” and then places the second coming in the latter part of Revelation 20, where God makes no mention of it. God has plainly indicated that Revelation 19 sets forth the second coming of Christ by revealing in Zechariah 14:1-4 that at the time when Christ takes vengeance against all nations in the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:13-16; 19:17-21), “his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives.” How pitiable it is when one Amillennialist says of Zechariah 14:4 “Some one’s feet are to ‘stand upon the mount of Olives;’ but it is not certain who the person is.”


Nullifies the Urgency for Readiness for Christ’s Coming


New Testament Christians were commanded to “watch” and Christ’s coming was revealed as always impending. After revealing the millennium, John represents Jesus as saying again: “Surely I come quickly” (Rev. 21:20), which means soon rather than suddenly. This represents the coming of Jesus as the next thing in the prophetic program. This is what the Bible always means by “at hand” or “draweth nigh.” But Amillennialism, by representing the thousand years of Revelation 20 as being before Christ’s coming and as having extended now for much more than one thousand years, takes all the meaning out of such representation as noted. I doubt that any Amillennialist can say that he is expecting Christ at any moment.


One Amillennialist says that the loosing of Satan (Rev. 20:7), which he puts, of course, before the second advent, will be the revival of paganism; and he says that there will emerge “some kind of collectivism whose paganism embodied in some kind of world state of government will vent its wrath against the saints to stamp out the remembrance of them and historic Christianity in the earth.” Certainly then he cannot believe that Christ’s coming is imminent.

Teaching a General Resurrection


As plainly as language can express it God’s Word describes a resurrection in which only the righteous take part. (See I Thess. 4:15-16; I Cor. 15:21-23; Rev. 20:5-6). Then it tells of another resurrection in which only the wicked have part (Rev. 20:11,15). But Amillennialists put the two together.


Accuses God of Changing His mind


God says He does not repent of His gifts and calling (Rom. 11:29) but Amillennialism says that He does. They admit that God once called national Israel and bestowed national blessings upon them, but they say that these have now been forfeited forever. Thus, according to Amillennialism, there is no such thing as an unchanging God. Yet Heb 13:8 says “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever”


Accuse Jesus and the Prophets of Lying


Amillennialists say that when Jesus comes again He will not re-establish the Jewish nation at earthly Jerusalem. Jesus and the prophets said that He would. In Matthew 19:28 Jesus said: “Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Now let not any Amillennialist expose his ignorance by saying that the “regeneration” here is the triumph of Christianity over paganism in the first three centuries or at any other time. The apostles have not yet sat on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Moreover the “regeneration” is represented as coinciding in time with the sitting of Christ on the throne of His glory, and this is to be when he returns (Mt. 25:31). This regeneration connects with the “restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21) and with Isaiah 65:17-25, where we have described a state of affairs in Jerusalem that could exist only in earthly Jerusalem. It is a state that will involve death, sinners, building houses, planting, working, and prayer.


Conclusion


Amillennialism, which believes in a spiritual interpretation of things in the End times, comes from Jewish and Greek philosophers that twisted and so corrupted God’s Words during the time of the early church. It is generally accepted that for the first three centuries Premillenianism was the faith of the believers, until corruption crept in.



Amillennialism is not consistent in its application of Scripture, wrongly preaches only a partial restraint of Satan during the Millennium, a twisted interpretation of the Battle of Armageddon, Denies that the Beast is a human, Denies that the Beast and the “Man of Sin” is one and the same Antichrist, rejects God’s place in the Second coming of Christ, takes away the urgency of readiness for Christ’s return, teaches a general resurrection, accuses God of changing His mind, and accuse Jesus and the prophets that they lied.


Those who believe in Amillennialism should examine the Scriptures and return to the Church’s first love, Premillennialism.