The Truth about Premillennialism
The belief in the literal 1, 000 year reign of Christ is the hope of teeming thousands of religious people. The doctrine that Jesus is going to return to Jerusalem, establish an earthly, political kingdom over which he will reside as the King is presently shaping politics in many countries. The 1, 000 year reign of Christ on earth is usually designated by the broad term "Premillennialism."
Premillennialism contains about 20 related and sequential doctrines. As a matter of fact, there are numerous conflicting views within the climate of Premillennialism. A few positions which are generally true of "Premillennialism" are: The kingdom is not presently in the world, the church/gospel age (in which we now live) is a substitution arrangement (Jesus failed to set-up his kingdom and was crucified) and it is not the purpose of the substitute system to convert the world, and we are now in the latter stages of the church age, Etc. (please see the sequential list at the end of this article, addendum ). One basic tenet of this system is when Jesus returns to Jerusalem and begins a literal and political 1, 000 year reign, there will be universal Christianity. At different stages and times, there will be the "rapture," and "tribulation period," these events vary depending on which type Premillennial advocate is interviewed.
The proof text for the literal thousand year reign belief. The proof text is Revelation 20: 4. It reads, "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years" (please read the entirety of the verse in your Bible). For a proof verse, it is obviously lacking some essential teachings. Revelation 20: 4 does not even mention the second coming of Christ, a bodily resurrection, a reign on earth, a literal throne of David, Jerusalem, Christians in general, and it does not mention Christ being on earth to mention a few omissions. Moreover, those mentioned as reigning with Christ constitute a special class - beheaded martyrs.
Premillennialism is a doctrine borne out of imagination. The more one studies this system, the more one realizes the speculative nature of this belief. This system is popular today, I am convinced, because it appeals to the physical - a physical reign, not a spiritual.
Beloved, the kingdom has already been established and Jesus is now reigning as Lord, Christ, and King (Col. 1: 13, Acts 2: 23-33, I Tim. 6: 15). Jesus' reign, you see, is spiritual. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world " (Jn. 18: 36). Jesus never intended to set up a physical and political kingdom on earth. He was no threat to Pilate (Jn. 18). Furthermore, we are in the last dispensation, no more ages, dispensations, or opportunities will be given to man (Acts 2: 14 ff). The gospel is now extended to all men with the attached urgent message of "now is the day of salvation" (Matt. 28: 18 ff, 2 Cor. 6: 2). Hence, not only is the system of Premillennialism a false system, but it extends to man a false hope and offers man opportunities for later salvation which God has never offered! (Click on "Jesus, the King of kings" to read more about Jesus' present Kingship and spiritual reign.)
Addendum: Premillennialism is defined as, "The doctrine of a thousand year reign of Christ on earth preceding the millennium" (Concise Dictionary of Religion, pg. 204). The following constitute, as a rule, the points and sequential events generally associated with Premillennialism:
1. The kingdom is not now in the world, and will not be till Christ returns.
2. It is not the purpose of the gospel age (present age) to convert the world to Christianity, but to preach the gospel as a witness to the nations.
3. Immediately prior to Christ's return there will be a period of general apostasy or falling away.
4. We are now living in the latter stages of the church age, Christ will probably come in our life time.
5. At Christ's coming the righteous dead of all ages will be raised in the "first resurrection."
6. The resurrected dead together with the transfigured living saints are to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
7. The judgment of all the righteous will then take place.
8. Before and during the tribulation period, the Jews are to be restored to the land of Palestine.
9. At the mere sight of their Messiah, the Jews are to turn to Him in a national conversion.
10. Christ, at his coming, will destroy the anti-Christ and all his forces in the battle of Armageddon.
11. After this battle, Christ will establish a world wide Kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital, in which He and the resurrected and transfigured saints will rule for a literal thousand years in peace.
12. During this Jerusalem reign, the temple, feasts, fasts, priesthood, and sacrificial system are to be reinstituted, though performed in a "Christian" spirit and by "Christian" worshippers.
13. During the golden age, nature's curse is to be removed. The desert will bloom as a rose; wild beasts are to be tamed.
14. At this time, great numbers of the Gentiles will turn to God and be in His Kingdom.
15. During the Millennium, Satan will be bound and cast in the abyss.
16. At the close of the Millennium, Satan will be loosed for a short time.
17. The Millennium is to be followed by a short but violent outbreak of wickedness, headed by Satan, which all but overwhelms the Saints and Jerusalem.
18. Forces of wickedness are to be destroyed by fire which is cast down from heaven.
19. The wicked dead of all ages are then to be raised in the "second resurrection," judged, and with the Devil and the wicked angels cast into hell.
20. Heaven and hell are then introduced in their fullness as the future homes eternally. (The foregoing events are taken from The Millennium, pgs. 142, 143, by Loraine Boettner.)
Additional passages to consider: John 5: 28, 29 (all the dead shall be simultaneously resurrected, see events 5, 19), Matthew 25: 31-46 (all, righteous and wicked, shall be judged together, see events 7, 19), Romans 2 and eleven (no recognition of an outward Jew and only a remnant of Jews will be saved, see event 9), and Hebrews 8-10 (animal sacrifices, etc. cannot remit sin, Jesus was once offered, see event 12).
There are many divergent views held in connection with and under the canopy of doctrine known as Premillennialism (about 20 in all). For instance, there is Dispensational and Historic Premillennialism. There are also other varieties under Postmillennialism and Amillennialism. The trouble with these doctrines is that their concept of the reign of Christ is secular. You see, the reign of Christ is inherently built into each of these stances, "millennial." Jesus is not going to return to establish a governmental kingdom with the headquarters in Jerusalem (Jn. 18: 36). Regardless of the particular nuance of the foregoing, they pervert prophesy, Christ's mission, the Kingdom, the "rapture," "tribulation," the second coming of Christ, the resurrection, and the judgment. Most of these men invented doctrines also distort the teaching of the Bible relative to eternity. (See sermon outline on "Why Bring Jesus Back to Earth?")