A Letter To An Amillennialist
Dear Brother in Christ:
In your last letter you state that you are convinced from Scripture that the “So-Called Coming Millennial Reign will never occur.” Permit me to say that I also am convinced from the Word of God that the Millennium will occur. Since most of the comments made by Amillennialists are open to discussion, one will make the following remarks I trust in kindness, love and humility, and not just for the sake of argument, even though in some quarters this subject is becoming a battleground amongst professing Christians. So it is, we trust, in the attitude of “kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering etc” (Col. 3:12, 13) that we make the following remarks.
I agree fully with my good friend and beloved brother in Christ, Mr. August Van Ryn, of Hialeah, Fla., the well known and highly esteemed teacher of the Word, and author of many excellent books on Scripture subjects, when he says, “The basic error with men like that (Amillennialists) is that they totally fail to see the difference between Israel and the Church.” Everything is spiritualized by them, the Church is merely a sort of glorified Israel. Don’t they ever read the Scriptures? Nothing is plainer than that Israel in the Bible is Israel, and NEVER anything else. There are simply hundreds of passages in the Old Testament and of course some in the New to teach that only Israel will be God’s people on the earth in the future, and many of such passages could not possibly be spiritualized. It is impossible to begin to cover this subject, but look at a few of them:
1. As to their being God’s people in the future: (Jer. 30:3, 32:38; Ezek. 34:30; Zech. 13:1, 9).
2. As to Christ being their King (Jer. 23:5-6, 33:23-26). Amillennialists are those who despise God’s people Israel (v 24: Ezek. 34:23-31). See specially v. 30 “The house of Is-real, My people.” (Ezek. 37:25) “The land wherein your fathers have dwelt, and they shall dwell therein.” Since when has the Church dwelt in any particular land?
3. As to Israel going back to their land, see Isaiah 11:11-12. Try to apply that to the Church if anyone can (Ezek. 36:28). Try to apply this to the Church.
4. Israel’s conversion in that day (Jer. 31:31-34; quoted in Heb. 8:8-11; Ezek. 32:37-39). Gather them out of all countries whither I have driven them. When have we ever been driven into all countries and have converted them when so gathered? (v. 19). These and hundreds more, with Romans 11:25-26 etc. all teach that Israel shall be gathered back to their land and that Christ will reign over them and the Gentile nations.
As to the Millennium, of course Revelation 20:1-6 is as clear as daylight. Six times it mentions the thousand years. If Satan, the pit, the angels, Heaven, the nation and resurrections are all Eternal, as no one would deny, then who dares to say the thousand years is symbolic and not literal? Their argument is that the Old Testament never mentions the Millennium, but that is absolutely untrue. It practically mentions nothing else but the millennial reign of Christ, with rare exceptions, for it speaks many times of Christ reigning in power, subduing His enemies, ruling with a rod of iron, etc. Are there enemies in the eternal state? Of course not, so here is a temporary condition. Yet it says He reigns, and He is not reigning now in power, so the reigning refers to the future and the fact that He subdues ‘enemies then shows there is still sin on earth. 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 is a strong and conclusive passage in that direction. Verses 25-26 say that He reigns till all enemies are destroyed and the last enemy is death. Since death is not destroyed till the great white throne judgment (see Rev. 20:14), it proves Christ reigns during the Millennium. And since there are enemies to reign over as verse 25 states, therefore the Millennial state is not the perfect eternal state. He reigns till all is subdued under Him for a thousand years; then delivers the Kingdom in its perfection to God the Father. Can anything be clearer than this?
To substantiate this, there are Scriptures to show there is sin during Christ’s reign on earth, as described in the Old Testament. For instance Jeremiah 31:30; everyone shall die for his own iniquity; Isaiah 65:20, shows there will be death and disobedience then; so Isaiah 66:24; Zepheniah 3:5. A very clear passage in that connection is Zechariah 14:16-19. The very fact that it says for instance in Isaiah 32:1, Psalms 96:10, and many other places that Christ will reign in righteousness proves there is still sin on earth and therefore not the eternal state, for there would be no need to emphasize righteousness unless there were sin. This is clearly intimated in Romans 5:21, where at present it says that “grace reigns” suggesting that sin is borne with; in the fact, that righteousness reigns, thus intimating sin will not be allowed. This is further stressed by the fact that in the “Day of God” righteousness is said to “dwell,” not reign. The very fact therefore of the multiple statement that Christ will reign intimates a temporary condition, with sin still present. The Book of Revelation furnishes the information that this temporary condition will last one thousand years. During that time creation itself will largely have the curse lifted. Romans 8:20-22 tells us this, as do passages like Isaiah 11:5-9, Isaiah 35, etc.
Only believers will enter this millennium or millennial reign of Christ as Matthew 25:46 and 13:41 show. At the rapture, the Lord, takes all believers to Heaven; at His Coming all unbelievers He consigns to hell. Israel shall be a spiritually newborn people — (See Jer. 31 with Heb. 8:8-12). The Holy Spirit shall be poured out on all of them. Yet at the end Satan finds millions malcontented and will lead them in rebellion against God (Rev. 20). The Amillennial sneers at this. But why? Children are born during that period (Jer. 32:20) among the Jews (Ezek. 47: 22) and among the saved Gentile nations. As our children today, they are not saved any more than our children are at their birth. That day, as we have said already, is not the eternal day, but a temporary time of blessing for a special purpose; yea, many purposes. That it is not the eternal state or condition of things is clear from Matthew 19:28, where the Lord Jesus calls that time the “regeneration.” Regeneration is not the eternal condition of things. I am regenerated (born again) now and so are all believers but I thank God this is not my eternal condition, I can still sin, and so can those who live in the Millennium. Righteous judgment will keep sin under control. Many will give, as Psalm 18:44 says “feigned obedience” (margin). They submit because they have to; (Ps. 66:3 and 81:15).
But, argues the Amillennialist, “What is the purpose of this Millennium? Why not the eternal state right away at the coming of Christ?” The answer is that doubtless there are a number of purposes in God’s heart. Here are a few suggested:
1. It will be the Day of the Lord. He suffered from His enemies; now they are to prove His power so that He may be honored.
2. It will be Christ’s reward for His long patience — His endurance under the brutality of man.
3. It is His glory to give His earthly people their place so long promised to them.
4. God will be vindicated. God will indeed prove He is not dead, and every knee shall bow to Him.
5. The despised people of Israel will become the people saved and honored, and the Gentiles who have so long trodden them under foot will be forced to recognize them and come to worship in their city (Isa. 66).
6. All creation shall display its beauty and His glory in this sin-cursed earth.
7. The Millennium is the final trial of man.
This last fact is perhaps the most outstanding reason for a Millennium, when man can still set himself against God, or obey Him. Man likes to argue if you only improve his condition, eliminate poverty, give all equal rights, do away with slums, have abiding peace etc. etc., then he’d never complain any more; everything then would be just fine. Well, the Millennium is the chance God will give him. The most glorious chance man has ever had. And the outcome of the test? After one thousand years of perfect bliss, man follows (many millions) the devil and is removed from the earth to prove it is not his circumstances or his lack of privilege. No, it is man himself that is a no-good wicked sinner. You have a sample of it in 1 Kings 4:20. After forty years of unparalleled bliss the people came to Solomon’s son to complain that Solomon had made life too hard for them — 1 Kings 12:4.
Man is thus tested three times. First under law, which looks to the “flesh” for results; next under “grace,” these last nineteen centuries, and next, under “glory” as in the Millennium. The last test will prove that man is hopelessly lost, corrupt, when, after one thousand years of perfect bliss, he still turns away from God. That’s why there will be a Millennium! The testing of man would not be complete or perfectly convincing apart from the Millennium’s golden opportunity for man to justify himself. This threefold test is beautifully illustrated in the Old Testament. There were just three kings who reigned over the twelve tribes — Saul, David and Solomon and each of them for forty years, which is the Scriptural time for testing. Saul represents the man after the flesh; from Adam to Christ man was tried that way and failed. This was followed by the day of grace when Christ is the rejected King as was David. In this day therefore man is tested under the action of grace (Rom. 5:21), and needless to say man has proven a total failure. Solomon represents Christ reigning in power and glory, and this is seen in the Millennium.