- Amillennialists do not believe that the millennium refers to a literal 1,000 year reign of Jesus on the earth. Instead they believe that the millennium is primarily a spiritual reality
- Do not deny the millennium but interpret it as allegorically
- Amillenninalists tend to focus on a heavenly kingdom rather than an earthly one because they see Jesus as already ruling and reigning
- One of the biggest factors in the development of the initial amillennial view was the theology of Augustine of Hippo
- Amillennialism has been the traditional belief of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches. It is also very common in Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, and other protestant denominations.
- Proponents of Amillennialism include Augustine, Louis Berkhof, Anthony Hoekema, John Murray, Vern Poythress, Geerhardus Vos, Greg Beale, J. I. Packer, and Sam Storms.
Key Points Amillennialism
- Amillennialism embraces an allegorical interpretation of passages that premillennialists take literally.
- This is because Amillennialism provides an eschatological framework for the idea that the full power of “the Kingdom” is presently available to believers. This is sometimes referred to as “Kingdom Now” theology.
- Many Amillennialists hope for and believe in a future salvation of many or even all Jews, but they do not believe that God needs to fulfill any remaining promises to the Jewish people. Amillennialists are supersessionists who believe that the church has replaced Israel as God’s covenant people on the earth.
- Spiritual Triumph over sin Some amillennialists believe in a victorious end times church
- Some amillennialists believe in a victorious end times church
- Prophetic scriptures are interpreted symbolically or figurative.
- Embraces replacement theology. The Church replaces Isreal.
- Matthew 24 and Luke 21 are completely fulfilled in Romes siege of Jerusalem in 70AD
- Postmillennialism “understands the Messianic kingdom to have been founded upon the earth during the earthly ministry and through the redemptive labors of the Lord Jesus Christ…the Church becomes the transformed Israel.”
- the fundamental nature of that kingdom is essentially redemptive and spiritual…Christ rules His kingdom spiritually in and through His people in the world.
- Postmillennialism expects the gradual, developmental expansion of the kingdom of Christ in time and on earth. . . . Christ’s personal presence on earth is not needed for the expansion of His kingdom.”
- Key proponents of the postmillennial view include Rousas J. Rushdoony, Greg Bahnsen, Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., David Chilton, R.C. Sproul and Gary North.
Pietistic postmillennialism – denies that the postmillennial advance of the kingdom involves the total transformation of culture through the application of biblical law
Theonomic postmillennialism – Believes in the Christianization of most of the nations before christs return.
Key Points Post Millennialism
- Postmillennialists often point back to God’s original mandate to man in the Garden Genesis 1:26–28
- Postmillennialists emphasize Jesus’ restoration of the mandate given to man in the garden
- They emphasize man’s role in cooperating with God’s intention and laboring with Him for the gradual transformation of society and of the earth
- While most modern believers tend to take a pessimistic view of the world, Postmillennialists take an optimistic view. Postmillennialists will point to various statistics relating to health, science, and the increase in Christians as a percentage of the global population over the last 2,000 years as evidence that the gospel is advancing and that things are getting “better.”
- Most postmillennialists adopt a form of preterism and believe that many key prophecies in the Scripture were fulfilled in the first century. Particularly 70AD.
- The most popular postmillennial view is Preterism and or partial preterism. Partial preterism still believes parts of the book of Revelation have not yet taken place, however the events in the Book of Revelation are interpreted symbolically and not literal.
- The postmillennial approach shares the premillennial value for earthly processes and the restoration of the earth as opposed to amillennialism which tends to emphasize spiritual realities over earthly ones.
- Zeal for the Cultural Mandate working to see every area of society transformed (government, economy, education, media, arts, etc.)
End time prophecies are usually interpreted symbolically instead of literally
Embraces replacement theology
- Postmillennialism is an overly optimistic eschatology. Society will be fully Christianized before the return of Jesus.Wheaton College was founded with postmillennial views but switched to premillennialism after two world wars proved postmillennial optimism to be wrong.
- Interprets end time prophecy as literal.
- Two covenants of salvation one for Israel Earthly Victory and one for the Church Spiritual Victory
- The church will not transform society
- Imminency that sees the possibility of an “any moment” and secret rapture.
- Escapism – Secret Rapture.
- Fatalism – Society will not be transformed in a noticable way.
- Some dispensationalists only emphasize the negative dimensions of the end of the age and some see the kingdom as only a future reality. This view can leave people unprepared for the unique dynamics of the end times because of an expectation of a pre-tribulational rapture. Historically dispensationalism has taught too much separation in the purposes of God for Israel and the gentile church.
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
Originated in the 1800’s in the Plymouth Brethren movement with John Darby and popularized in 1909 with the publication of the Scofield Reference Bible by cyrus scofield
The Seven Dispensations:
- Innocence – Adam under probation prior to the Fall. Ends with expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Some refer to this period as the Adamic period or the dispensation of the Adamic covenant or Adamic law.
- Conscience – From the Fall to the Great Flood. Ends with the worldwide deluge.
- Human Government – After the Great Flood, humanity responsible to enact the death penalty. Ends with the dispersion at the Tower of Babel. Some use the term Noahide law in reference to this period of dispensation.
- Promise – From Abraham to Moses. Ends with the refusal to enter Canaan and the 40 years of unbelief in the wilderness. Some use the terms Abrahamic law or Abrahamic covenant in reference to this period of dispensation.
- Law – From Moses to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Ends with the scattering of Israel in AD70. Some use the term Mosaic law in reference to this period of dispensation.
- Grace – From the cross to the rapture of the church. The rapture is followed by the wrath of God comprising the Great Tribulation. Some use the terms Age of grace or the church age for this dispensation.
- Millennial Kingdom – A 1000 year reign of Christ on earth centered in Jerusalem. Ends with God’s judgment on the final rebellion.
Scofield believed certain bible verses applied to the church and others verses to Jews and Gentiles.
- Divided the Scriptures in terms of categories of people: Jew, Gentile, and Christian
- taught that only books authored to Christians were relevant to Christians ie: John, Acts, and the Epistles.
- Justified by 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) “rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Historic Premillennialism Traditional
- Interprets end time prophecy as literal.
- The church has a responsibility to provoke Isreal to salvation
- Some with this view do not believe the church will operate in prayer and victory at the end of the age
Historic Apostolic Premillennialism (Victorious Church)
- The premillennial view typically holds to a literal fulfillment of Scripture. Premillennialists emphasize the significance of the original meaning of Scripture and God’s commitment to fulfill Old Testament promises literally.
- Because premillennialists expect a physical, future kingdom they expect Jesus to rule over and reform the earth at His coming rather than destroy the earth and just create a new one.
- It is important that historic Premillennialism is combined with a victorious view of the church. There is unparalleled trouble at the end of the age, but God also plans to release great glory and power on the church
- It combines the strengths of postmillennialism and millennialism with historic premillennialism
A wholehearted Church: walks in “Sermon on the Mount lifestyles” of self-denial and serving, giving, blessing, praying, and fasting as seen in the New Testament Church Matthew 5-7
A relevant Church: sees the continuity of some of our labors in impacting society now (righteous legislation, education, etc.) with the work of Jesus in the Millennium. All that isunrighteous will be dismantled and then re-established in righteousness in the Millennium.