Pre or Post-Millennialism
In our previous article we dealt with the desolation of Israel, as prophesied by Jesus in His Olivet Discourse, in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.
Note the questions of His Disciples.
1. When will the temple be destroyed?
2. What will be the signs of Jesus’ return to earth?
Jesus does not answer the WHEN question, but warns them to not be deceived by false teachers.
In Luke 21:7. we find Jesus’ Disciples confused and concerned with the timing of the establishment of Christ’s Millennial reign over the earth. We Christians continue to be confused and divided over it even to this present time. Prophetically, we all fall into one of three camps: Pre-Millennialists, Post-Millennialists or A-Millennialists.
The A-Millennialists are not looking for any Millennial reign of Christ.
The Post-Millennialists believe Jesus’ Millennium has been in force ever since Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven and that He is building His Kingdom through His Church. They believe Jesus will return when His Kingdom is fully established. They believe the Bible does not teach the Rapture of the Church. As for the Tribulation, they believe that it took place in 70 AD when Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the temple. The A-Millennialists, as the Post-Millennialists, believe the Kingdom is totally spiritual and not a literal, physical one thousand year reign of Jesus from Jerusalem over this earth.
Most of us Pre-Millennialists agree with Post-Millennialists, as well as the A-Millennialists, that Christ’s Kingdom is spiritual. However, we Pre-Millennialists also believe that Christ will return to earth in His glorified body to establish his literal, Millennial Kingdom (one thousand years reign) over the earth.
The Last Days
Prior to the Kingdom Age is a period known as “The Last Days” These are the days that precede Jesus’ Millennium.
The entire 2000 plus years of the Church Age, beginning at Pentecost and ending with the Rapture of the Saints, are described by Peter in his sermon in Acts 2:14-21 as “The Last Days”
Hebrews 10:25 tells us, Christ’s Church, that we can see the day approaching.
In I John 2:18 John clearly announces to us that we are in “the Last Time”.
Jude 14-15 prophecies that Christ will come with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment on the earth. Again, he is speaking of the Millennial reign of Christ.
Before Jesus returns publicly in great glory to reign, He is returning suddenly, unexpectedly and secretly to catch up His own to Himself. The Christian dead will be raised first in glorified bodies, then we Christians who remain alive at that moment, will also be changed and given glorified bodies to meet the Lord in the air. See John 14:1-3, I Corinthians 15:51-58, I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and I John 3:1-3 for the details concerning this event. The unsaved will not see Jesus when He comes, but will note the sudden absence of all Christians from this earth.
Once we are gone from this earth, along with the sin-restraining work of the Holy Spirit, all hell will break loose on this earth as the Anti-christ is revealed and takes over the control of the world in what is described as The Tribulation, or the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy. You can read prophecies of this period of 70 weeks of Daniel in Daniel 9, Matthew 24, Luke 21, II Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 13:8. The seven years of Tribulation on this earth are described in Revelation 6-18.
At the end of the seven years of Tribulation, Jesus will return publicly in great glory to destroy the Anti-christ and his false prophet and his armies. We will follow Him and witness the destruction. Jude 14-15, Revelation 19:11-21 Then Jesus will establish His Millennial reign from the city of Jerusalem, as clearly shown in. Zechariah 14 and Micah 4. From there, Isaiah 9:6-7 tells us, He will reign on David’s throne. Christians who have lived and suffered for Him in this life, will reign with Him then, II Timothy 2:12 promises us.
His Millennium will be; not for an unspecified period of time, but for one thousand years. Describing the length of Christ’s Kingdom, Revelation 20:1-7 repeats the number one thousand six times.
Christ’s Kingdom will be characterized by peace, good health and prosperity and holiness for all who submit to Him. A description of life on earth during that reign is found in Isaiah 11, 35 and Micah 4 as well as other Old Testament passages.
Again, I remind you that Post-Millennialists believe that we have been in Christ’s Kingdom ever since the resurrection of Christ and that it has lasted now for over two thousand years.
I would agree that the Church is the expression of Christ’s spiritual Kingdom in the world today. We are moving forward and making progress against the Kingdom of darkness, as Christ promised would happen in Matthew 16:18. However, Christ’s spiritual Kingdom over His Church, does not nullify His promised Millennial Kingdom from Jerusalem over the whole world
Isaac Watts 1674-1748 is a beloved hymn writer of the church. Christians, both Post-Millennialists and Pre-Millennialists, sing together hymns such as Jesus Shall Reign. As a Pre-Millennialist, I sing that song, rejoicing that as the church evangelizes the world, Christ’s spiritual kingdom continues to grow. However, I also understand that we are singing about a future event when Jesus shall reign for one thousand years over the whole world as king on David’s throne, as promised in the Davidic Covenant in II Samuel 7.
Jesus Shall Reign where’er the sun
Does its successive journeys run.
His Kingdom spread from shore to shore
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
From north to south the princes meet
To pay their homage at His feet.
While western empires own their Lord,
And savage tribes attend His Word.
To Him shall endless prayers be made,
And endless praises crown His head.
His name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.
People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song,
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His Name.
Another well known Christmas carol, “Joy to the World”, another of Isaac Watt’s hymns, not only celebrates the birth of Jesus, the new Born King; but it also describes His coming Millennial Kingdom.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing.
And Heaven and Heaven and nature sing.
Joy to the earth, the Saviour reigns,
Let men, their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains,
Repeat the sounding joy.
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
No more let sin and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make His blessings flow,
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as, the curse is found.
As people are saved and submit to Christ’s Lordship, His spiritual kingdom continues to grow; but Christ’s Millennial Kingdom has not yet come.
In the meantime, in this Church Age, I must agree with Scripture, such as II Timothy 3 and 4, and II Peter 3 that this world system is not getting better and but is growing worse and worse.
Perhaps the strongest argument for the Pre-Millennial position is the description of the Tribulation in Revelation 6-18, which will be the worst years in all of world history, This Tribulation followed by the return of Christ in His glory to this earth precedes the inauguration of His Millennial Kingdom in Revelation 19-20.
But before all of this happens; the Church, described in Revelation 3 is caught up into Heaven in chapter 4 before the Tribulation is unleashed. This is the time of the Rapture of the Church, as described in I Corinthians 15:51-58 and I Thessalonians 4:13-18. In Revelation 4 and 5 we see the Church in Heaven worshipping the Lord Jesus.
No, Christ’s Kingdom is not prospering today. Rather, Satan is working to destroy Christ’s Church as we draw closer to the end of this Church Age. The Apostasy which began two thousands years ago, is continuing to accelerate and deepen as we draw nearer to the return of Christ. Christ will soon come to fight and annihilate Anti-christ and his forces in the Battle of Armageddon and then set up His glorious Kingdom and reign from Jerusalem for one thousand years.
How do Bible believing Christians become Post or A-Millennialists? It happens as they use a non-literal, symbolic method of interpreting unfulfilled prophecy, assigning their own meaning to words. The problem with this is that when one starts assigning meaning to words other than their normal meanings, one can decide that a word, phrase or sentence can mean whatever one wants it to mean. All objectivity concerning the meaning of words is lost. For example, to the Post-Millennialist, the term 1000 years used six times in Revelation 20:1-7 does not mean one thousand years. To them, it only means a long time. Of course, if we have been in Christ’s Kingdom ever since Christ’s resurrection, then the Post Millennialist is forced to conclude that one thousand years doesn’t really mean one thousand years. That seems to me a dangerous road to start down.
Am I pessimistic about the future? Absolutely not! These are exciting days to be a Christian. Based just on the deepening apostasy and the dangerous situation of Israel today, I believe the rapture is very close at hand.
Are you ready for His return? Remember the warning of II Thess. 2:1-2 that those who knowingly reject Christ in this church age because they love their sins, will believe the lie of the Anti-Christ and follow him to destruction. Read it there in II Thessalonians 2:8-12 and make your decision for or against Christ. The decision you make will be eternal with eternal consequences. To attempt to make no decision concerning Him is to reject Him.
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