The Dangers of Amillennialism
In the landscape of Christian eschatology, the debate between amillennialism and premillennialism is more than a theological dispute—it represents a critical juncture in our understanding of Scripture, prophecy, and the very nature of the Church’s mission. Premillennialism not only aligns more faithfully with Scripture but also guards against the doctrinal pitfalls inherent in amillennialism.
The Core of Amillennialism and Its Flaws
Amillennialism posits that the millennium—a thousand-year reign of Christ mentioned in Revelation 20—is symbolic rather than literal. This view interprets much of biblical prophecy allegorically, especially concerning Israel and the end times. However, this approach, while seemingly harmless, veers dangerously into several critical errors.
1. Spiritualizing Scripture Diminishes Its Authority: By turning concrete prophecies into metaphors, amillennialism undermines the integrity of the Bible. This approach can lead to a slippery slope where the clear teachings of Scripture are subject to reinterpretation based on contemporary ideologies or philosophical trends.
2. Neglecting Israel’s Prophetic Role: Central to amillennialism is the belief that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. This stance ignores explicit promises made to Israel in Scripture. Romans 11:1-2a, 29 states, “I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means!… For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” The literal fulfillment of prophecies regarding Israel, such as their gathering back to their land, underscores the importance of Israel in God’s eschatological blueprint.
3. Intellectual Dishonesty: One of the arguments put forth by amillennialists is that the concept of Christ’s thousand-year reign is mentioned only once in Revelation 20. This assertion, upon closer examination, appears intellectually dishonest for two primary reasons: first, the thousand-year reign is explicitly mentioned 5 times in 6 verses in Rev 20 (not once); second, the concept of a literal reign of Christ on earth resonates throughout Scripture, albeit not always using the specific term “thousand years.”
Revelation 20 is not vague or singular in its reference to the thousand-year reign of Christ. The term appears not just once, but five times in six verses:
- Revelation 20:2-3- describes Satan being bound for a thousand years.
- Revelation 20:4 – Mentions the saints reigning with Christ for a thousand years.
- Revelation 20:5 – Refers to the rest of the dead not coming to life until the thousand years were ended.
- Revelation 20:6 – Blessed and holy are those partaking in the first resurrection, over whom the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
- Revelation 20:7 – States that when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison.
To dismiss these repeated references as merely symbolic or to claim that they represent the only scriptural basis for Christ’s earthly reign is to overlook the consistent, emphatic nature of this prophecy in Revelation 20.
The Broader Scriptural Context
Beyond Revelation, the concept of a literal reign of Christ on earth is a theme interwoven throughout Scripture, underpinning the hope of a future, restored kingdom. Here are some key verses that reinforce this understanding:
- Isaiah 9:6-7 – speaks of a child born to us, a son given, who will have the government on his shoulders, and of the increase of his government and peace, there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne, establishing it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The reference to David’s throne speaks of a literal physical place.
- Daniel 7:13-14: Envisions one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven, to whom is given dominion, glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away. A direct parallel with Rev. 20.
- Luke 1:32-33: The angel Gabriel tells Mary about Jesus, “The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom, there will be no end.”
- Zechariah 14:4-9: This prophecy speaks of a future time when the Lord will physically put His feet on the Mt of Olives and begin his reign from Jerusalem.
- Acts 1:6-7: The disciples ask Jesus if he will at that time restore the kingdom to Israel, to which Jesus responds not by denying the restoration but by saying it is not for them to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority.
These passages, among others, speak about a time when Israel will literally be regathered (Ez 37, Matt 24:31, Zech 12:6-14) and restored. They also collectively underscore the expectation of a literal, physical reign of Christ. They speak to a fulfillment that extends beyond metaphorical interpretations, situating the promised reign in a tangible, historical, and future reality.
To suggest that the thousand-year reign of Christ is a minor, scarcely mentioned concept in Scripture is to ignore the explicit emphasis found in Revelation 20 and to overlook the rich tapestry of prophetic expectation woven throughout the Bible. The literal reign of Christ on earth is a cornerstone of biblical eschatology, deeply rooted in both Old and New Testament writings. It is a hope that has captivated believers for centuries and continues to inspire those who anticipate the fulfillment of God’s promises in their most glorious and tangible form.
The Dangers of Amillennialism
Amillennialism’s allegorical approach has implications beyond eschatological perspectives. It opens doors to various contemporary errors:
1. Social and Political Errors: The conflation of the Church’s spiritual mission with temporal, political agendas can be traced back to the allegorizing tendencies of amillennialism which is found in the worst and darkest corners of church history. When the Church loses focus on its primary goal—salvation through Christ—social and political ideologies can fill the void, leading to a dilution of the Gospel message.
2. Vulnerability to Non-Biblical Ideologies: By diminishing the future, literal aspects of God’s plan, amillennialism inadvertently makes room for ideologies like socialism, which often emphasize collective salvation and utopian ideals at the expense of individual faith and reliance on God’s sovereignty.
There is not one verse that says that the Church will gradually transform the world for good and THEN Jesus will return. They would have you believe that the world will get better and better until Christ’s return.
Chico Marx famously said, “Who ya gonna believe? Me or your OWN eyes?”
Amillennials have taken a page from his comedic book and created this entire fantasy out of nothing. Here’s what the Bible actually says about the days leading up to Christ’s return:
- 1 Tim. 4:1 in the latter times some will depart from the faith giving heed…
- 2 Tim. 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
- John 9:4 As long as it is day we must do the work of Him who sent me. The night is coming when no one can work.
- 2 Tim. 3:1- Know this: in the last days, terrible times will come.
- Rev. 12:12 In the last of last days Satan will come down in great wrath bc he knows his time is short.
- Matt. 24:21 for at that time there will be great tribulation unmatched from the beginning of the world and never to be seen again.
As fanciful and interesting as some of their arguments may be, at its core amillennialism is an untenable position.
The Strength of Premillennialism
Contrastingly, premillennialism holds that Christ will return physically to earth before (pre-) the millennium, establishing a literal thousand-year reign as depicted in Revelation 20:1-6. This interpretation maintains the literal and historical reading of Scripture, ensuring consistency and upholding the integrity of God’s Word.
1. Upholding Scriptural Integrity: Premillennialism takes God’s promises at face value, whether they concern individual salvation, the Church, or Israel. Revelation 20:4-6 depicts the martyrs reigning with Christ for a thousand years, a clear indication of a literal future event.
2. Emphasizing the Imminency of Christ’s Return: Premillennialism keeps the Church in a state of watchful readiness for Christ’s return. Matthew 24:42-44 urges us to “keep watch because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” This sense of immediacy is a catalyst for evangelism and living a life in line with Christ’s teachings.
3. Recognizing the Role of Israel: Premillennialism acknowledges the unbroken promises to Israel. The literal interpretation of prophecies about Israel’s future glory, as seen in Zechariah 14:4, where the Lord will stand on the Mount of Olives, affirms God’s faithfulness and the reliability of His Word.
In embracing premillennialism, we anchor ourselves in a biblical understanding that is both historically consistent and prophetically sound. It reaffirms our commitment to the Great Commission, keeps us vigilant in our faith, and upholds the hope of Christ’s return.
As believers, our focus should be on the imminent return of Christ, the literal fulfillment of His promises, and the unshakeable truth of Scripture. Premillennialism does not just offer a more accurate interpretation of end-times events; it serves as a bulwark against the doctrinal drifts that can lead the Church away from its foundational truths.
Let us remain steadfast, looking forward to the glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will establish His kingdom on earth and reign with righteousness and justice. Let this hope inspire our mission, guide our understanding, and fortify our faith in these challenging times.
Thank you for your support.
If you appreciate the work we do to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, please consider giving a gift to help us continue this work. Maranatha!