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PRE-MILLENNIALISM - what it is

Kingdom of God on earth!

                     THE TRUTH ABOUT PRE-MILLENNIALISM



     PREMILLENNIALISM is the eschatological view that Jesus
Christ will return literally to establish His kingdom on earth
for 1,000 years. This will occur after the Tribulation period and
before the establishment of the new heavens and new earth
(Revelation 20).

     Ryrie (p.450) notes: "All forms of premillennialism
understand that the Millennium follows the second coming of
Christ. Its duration will be 1,000 years; its location will he on
earth; its government will he theocratic with the personal
presence of Christ reigning as King."

     Within premillennialism in general exist a variety of views
regarding the rapture of the church. "These include
pretribulational, midtribulational, and posttribulational
premillennialism. In other words, premillennialists are divided
over their views of when the rapture will occur in relation to
the Tribulation and the millennium. 

(There is no need for variety. The Scriptures are clear that the
resurrection ["rapture" as some fundamentalists call it] of the
saints is at the return of Christ in power and glory - the ONE
visible return. There is NO "two phased" [one invisible and the
other visible] return of Christ taught in the Bible - Keith Hunt)


1000 YEARS

     Premillennialists believe the references to 1,000 years in
Revelation 20 are to be taken literally. Critics of
premillennialism argue that the number appears only in this one
passage, noting that the Old Testament gives no time frame for
the future Messianic kingdom. Others argue that Revelation is
filled with symbols and suggest the 1,000 years be interpreted
symbolically to refer to a long period of time. While it is true
that the mention of 1,000 years is found only in Revelation 20,
it should be noted that it is mentioned six different times in
this one passage. The point of such obvious repetition is to
reinforce its significance. Attempts to dismiss the number as
less than literal would lead one to dismiss all the numbers in
Revelation as being merely symbolic as well. This would render
the entire book a hopeless jumble of unintelligible symbols with
no correspondence to reality.

     The Old Testament clearly predicts a coming Messianic
kingdom in the future (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:6-9; 65:17-25). Such a
kingdom is necessary for several reasons:

1. It fulfills the promises of the Jewish covenants.
2. It fulfills the predictions of the Jewish prophets.
3. It brings the rule of God to earth.
4. It completes the perpetuity of the blessings of Christ.
5. It answers the disciples' question about the restoration of
the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6).

     The major contribution of Revelation 20 is that it makes
clear who the Messianic Ruler will be (Jesus Christ) and how long
He will rule (1,000 years).


A LITERAL KINGDOM ON EARTH 

     Premillennialists certainly acknowledge the spiritual
benefits of the kingdom of God but are also insistent on the
future literal aspects of Christ's rule on earth. We believe the
basic text of Revelation describes God's timetable for the
future:

1. the rapture of the church 
2. the Tribulation period 
3. the triumphal return
4. the defeat of the Antichrist 
5. the binding of Satan
6. the millennial reign

(There is no such teaching in the book of Revelation that the
"rapture" [resurrection] of the saints takes place BEFORE Jesus
returns. That incorrect teaching is expounded upon in various
studies on this Website - Keith Hunt)

 
     If these events are not supposed to be interpreted as
occurring sequentially and in order, why are they presented that
way in the book of Revelation? All attempts to explain away the
obvious order are inadequate at best and seriously distorted at
worst.

     These ten distinctive teachings summarize the primary tenets
of premillennialism:

l. God has promised a literal kingdom to a restored Israel
(Isaiah 11:9-t6; 60:18-zi).

2. God will give Abraham's descendants the land He promised to
them forever (Genesis 17:7-8; Psalm 105:8-11).

3. God's covenant with Israel has never been forfeited or
cancelled (Leviticus 26:40-44).

4. The nation of Israel will come back to inherit the land
forever (Ezekiel 37:1-14; Jeremiah 31:35-37).

5. The second coming of Christ will result in the establishment
of a literal kingdom on earth (Revelation 11:15).


6. The kingdom of Christ on earth will last 1,000 years
(Revelation 20:1-6).

7. The Temple of Ezekiel's vision will literally exist during the
millennial reign of Christ ( Ezekiel 40-48).

8. Redeemed Israel and the raptured (resurrected saints - Keith
Hunt) church will reign with Christ on earth (Revelation 1:6;
5:10; 20:4-5).

9). God's promises concerning Jerusalem will be fulfilled
literally (Psalm 132:1314; Isaiah 62:1-2; 65:17-25).

10. The throne of David will be set up in Jerusalem with Jesus
Christ, the Messiah of Israel, the Son of David, literally ruling
upon it in His millennial kingdom (2 Samuel 7:12-t6; Luke
1:32-33).


THE IMPORTANCE OF THE KINGDOM

     The idea of the kingdom of God on earth is central to all
biblical teachings. The Old "Testament prophets predicted it.
Jesus announced it. And the New Testament apostles foretold it
again. The psalmist said, "God is my King" (Psalm 74:12 NKJV).
Jeremiah said of the Lord, "He is the living God and the
everlasting king" (Jeremiah 10:10). John the revelator refers to
Jesus Christ as "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Revelation
19:16).
     The concept of the kingdom is closely associated with that
of the King. Daniel wrote, "The Most High rules in the kingdom of
men" (Daniel 4:17). The psalmist adds, "His kingdom rules over
all" (Psalm 103:19). The primary meaning of the New Testament
word for kingdom, "basileia," is "reign" rather than "realm" or
"people." In the general linguistic usage, "basileia" designates
the character and the position of the King.

     A kingdom cannot exist without a king. God has always chosen
human representatives to mediate His kingdom on earth. The rule
of God through such mediators is called a "theocratic" kingdom.
Alva McClain (p.17) defines such a kingdom as "the rule of God
through a divinely chosen representative who speaks and acts for
God."
     The kingdom of God has always existed, and it will always
exist. It is the sovereign rule of God from eternity past to
eternity future. It has been mediated on earth through the
dominion of man over the creation and through the divine
institution of human government. In relation to the nation of
Israel, the kingdom of God was to be administered by divinely
appointed kings in the Davidic line (the line of the Messiah).
But only with the coming of the Messiah will the hopes and dreams
of a kingdom of God on earth be fully realized.

     The millennial kingdom on earth is the ultimate expression
of God's creative activity and His original plan for the planet.
Hindson (p.200) quotes William S.LaSor: "The triumph of God over
the satanic dominion of this planet is necessary for the glory of
God. If there were no Messianic age, if God simply picked up the
redeemed remnant and took them off to heaven, then we would have
to conclude that God was unable to complete what He began."
     The kingdom of God on earth reaches its apex during the
1,000-year reign of Christ.
     
     The term millennium comes from the Latin word "mine"
(thousand") and "annus" ("year"). Thus, it refers to the
1,000-year reign of Christ. The Greek word for millennium comes
from "chilias," meaning "a thousand." The Greek term is used six
times in the original text of Revelation 20 to define the
duration of Christ's kingdom on earth.


THE MESSIANIC AGE

     The Old Testament prophets foretold a golden era of peace
and prosperity and the Messiah's rule on earth. Isaiah wrote, "It
shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the
Lord's house shall be established...and all nations shall flow to
it.... For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of
the Lour from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations....
they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears
into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against
nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:2-4).
     God's promises to Israel include earthy and spiritual
blessings. This explains why the disciples asked Jesus, "Lord,
will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6).
This question was raised after the resurrection and before the
ascension. It reveals that the Jewish disciples were still
looking for the promised Messianic kingdom. Little did they
realize that Jesus was about to return to heaven and postpone [I
do not like the author saying it was "postponed" - the Father has
a plan He is working out here below, and the end of this age will
come as He directs - Keith Hunt) that phase of the kingdom until
the distant future.

"It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set
by his own authority," Jesus replied (Acts 1:7 NIV). Now, He did
not say there would be no future kingdom. Rather, He merely
indicated that it would come later. In the meantime, He
commissioned the disciples to go into all the world and preach
the gospel.

     During the church age, the kingdom of God does not come with
"observation" (Luke 17:20). We become citizens of that kingdom by
faith in Jesus Christ as our King. Thus, our citizenship is in
heaven (see Philippians 3:20). In the meantime, we are Christ's
ambassadors on earth, commissioned to proclaim the gospel to all
nations.


     As premillennialists, we look forward to the rapture
(resurrection and/or change - 1 Cor.15 and 1 Thes.4:13-18 - Keith
Hunt) of the church. We have no pretensions of being able to
bring in the kingdom on earth by our own efforts. If the church
must bring in the kingdom, we will be a long time awaiting its
arrival. In fact, by all current measures, we are desperately
falling behind.
     Beyond the rapture, (resurrection - Keith Hunt) we look
forward to the fulfillment of the messianic age. We believe the
kingdom of God will come on earth when the King comes back to
rule. In the meantime, we continue to declare Him as King and His
gospel as the means of salvation. Jesus Himself told us to do
this when He said, "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached
in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the
end will come" (Matthew 24:14 NIV).

(Actually this is not so much the doing of "the church" as of an
ANGEL - see Revelation 14:6-7,14-20 with chaps.15,16,19 - Keith
Hunt)


THE BINDING OF SATAN

     Revelation 20 opens with an angel descending from heaven
with the key to the abyss ("the bottomless pit"). He is carrying
a "great chain" with which he bound Satan for "a thousand years"
(Revelation 2o:0. The angel cast Satan into the abyss and sealed
it shut for that time.
     Hindson (p.201) quotes Robert Mounce: "The purpose of the
confinement is not punishment. It is to prevent him from
deceiving the nations. The elaborate measures taken to ensure his
custody are most easily understood as implying the complete
cessation of his influence on earth, rather than a curbing of his
activities." This point is crucial to one's interpretation of the
binding of Satan for 1,000 years. Amillennial commentators try to
say this is descriptive of the present age. They hold that Satan
is currently "bound," and that his influence on earth is limited
by the power of the gospel. In order to think this, they must
view the 1,000 years as figurative of the entire church age.
John Walvoord (p.292) points out the problem with this viewpoint
when he writes, "Opposed to the amillennial and postmillennial
interpretation, however, is the uniform revelation of the New
Testament which shows Satan is a very active person. If anything,
he is more active than in preceding ages and is continuing an
unrelenting opposition to all that God purposes to do in the
present age."

     The epistles offer numerous examples of Satan's current
activity:

1. He is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4).
2. He blinds the minds of the lost (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
3. He is the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2).
4. He appears as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
5. He walks about like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8).

     These passages show that Satan is anything but bound during
the present age. All attempts to picture him otherwise seem
ludicrous. Therefore, the binding of Satan must be a future event
that has not yet occurred. Its relationship to the 1,000 years
indicates a literal, rather than symbolic, period of time,
followed by the release of Satan, the deception of the last
generation and, ultimately, Satan being cast into the lake of
fire (Revelation 20:7-10). If the 1,000 years are merely a
symbol, when will these subsequent events take place?
Nothing in the text of Revelation 20 indicates that the 1,000
years should be interpreted figuratively. Otherwise, all the
other time indicators in Revelation would be meaningless. Harold
Hoehner (pp.249-50) writes, "The denial of a literal 1,000 years
is not because of the exegesis of the text but a predisposition
brought to the text."

     Attempts to "spiritualize" the 1,000 years as symbolic often
go hand in hand with attempts to "spiritualize" the biblical
promises of a glorious future to the nation of Israel. McClain
(p.463) quotes T.F.Torrance of the University of Edinburgh,
Scotland, who says, "The historical particularity of Israel
covenanted with God persists through the Christian era. God has
not cast off His ancient people (Romans 11); for the covenant
with Israel as God's people remains in force, and cannot be
'spiritualized' and turned into some forth alien to the stubborn
historicity of its nature without calling into question the whole
historical foundation of God's revelation."


RULING WITH CHRIST ON EARTH

     Hindson (p.202) quotes Beasley-Murray: "The essential
element of the idea of the millennium is the appearing of the
Kingdom of the Messiah in history, prior to the revelation of the
Kingdom of God in the eternal and transcendent realm of the new
creation." In this regard, Revelation 19 provides a transition
from the fall of "Babylon" (city of man) to the arrival of the
New Jerusalem (city of God).

     There is no detailed description of the millennial reign
here. For that we must rely on the Old Testament prophets. John
focuses only on the fact that we will rule with Christ on earth -
a promise he introduced earlier in Revelation 5:10. There the
text says, "And hast made us ... kings and priests: and we shall
reign on the earth." Thus, the idea of a literal earthly kingdom
has already been introduced as a future prospect. Now it is
portrayed as a present reality.
     John foresees the Tribulation martyrs ruling with Christ in
the millennial kingdom. He also sees thrones and those seated on
them to whom judgment was given. The scene is similar to the one
described by Daniel (7:9-10,22). These may be the thrones of the
24 elders, but they are not specified as such (see Revelation
4:4; 5:8-10; 7:13; 11:15). Since Jesus promised the 12 apostles
they would sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel (see
Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30), it seems likely that would be in view
here during the earthly kingdom.

     The total picture is much greater. The bride (church) has
returned from heaven with Christ in chapter 19. 

(Nothing in Revelation or any other book of the Bible teaches any
such idea as the saints going off to heaven, either at death, or
in some "secret invisible rapture" prior to the one and only
visible return of Christ. The saints are with Christ in the
clouds, because they have just been resurrected or changed, from
mortal to immortal. They will be with Christ as He descends from
the coulds to the Mount of Olives. All fully explained in my
various studies on this Website - Keith Hunt)

 
Now the Tribulation saints (believers) are resurrected to rule
with them. 

(No, it says no such thing. The author here strays away and puts
ideas into your mind, that are nowhere taught in the book of
Revelation or any other book of the Bible. All saints dead or
alive will either be resurrected or changed at the one and only
visible return of Christ [1 Cor.15; 1 Thes.4:13-18; Zech 14;
Mat.24:29-31] - Keith Hunt)


This is called the "first resurrection" (Revelation 20:5) to
distinguish it from the second resurrection, in which the dead
arc brought to judgment after the 1,000 years (Revelation
20:11-15).

     The martyrs arc those who were beheaded for the witness of
Jesus and for the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast
or his image nor received his mark (Revelation 20:4). The unsaved
dead remain dead for the entire 1,000 years. But the martyrs are
resurrected to rule with Christ during the millennial kingdom.

(Interesting, this fundamenatlist author says the unsaved dead
remain dead for the entire 1,000 years. Hummmmm.....I thought
they were in an ever-burning hell fire, according to the
"immortal soul" teaching. Weeelll ..... maybe the author believes
in some kind of "pergatory" for them, where they are kinda dead.
The corners some fundamentalists get themselves into - Keith
Hunt)


     This privilege is the reward for their faithfulness to
Christ in the face of unprecedented persecution. During this
time, the damage of the 'tribulation period' will be reversed and
the earth will prosper under the personal reign of Christ on the
throne of David (see Zechariah 12:10; Isaiah 9:(,-7). Without
such a rule, the return of Christ would be only a "walk among the
ruins" after the battle of Armageddon.

     In one of the great surprises of the apocalyptic drama,
Satan is loosed from the abyss after the millennium. John the
revelator provides no specific details as to who accomplishes
this, how, or why. He merely records, "When the thousand years
are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out
to deceive the nations" (Revelation 20:7-8 NIV). Several facts
arc apparent in this account:

l. Some nations survive the Tribulation period and continue on
into the millennium.

2. Children continue to be born to the people of earth during the
millennium.

3. Christ rules during the millennium with a rod of iron.

4. Mankind rebels against Christ despite the blessing of the
millennium.

5. Ultimately, the millennial kingdom is replaced by the eternal
city-the New Jerusalem.

     The final revolt is the ultimate proof of human depravity.
Unredeemed minds will tolerate Christ's rule, but they will not
bow their hearts to Him. As soon as Satan is loosed, they rebel
against the rule of God. Even though Edenic conditions have been
restored to earth, mankind once again falls prey to the deceiver.

     While some are surprised--even shockedby this revolt, we
must remember two things have not changed: unrepentant Satan and
unregenerate mankind. The devil is still the deceiver, the
"father of lies." He will not cease from his destructive ways. He
has not repented after 1,000 years in the abyss. Therefore, God's
only possible act of mercy to the rest of the world is to cast
him into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).

     The millennium will be a time of unparalleled peace and
prosperity, but it is not heaven. It is earthly existence at its
best until the deceiver is loosed upon it. Thus, biblical
prophecy points us ahead to the eternal state where deception,
sin, and death will not exist in the eternal city - the New
Jerusalem.

ED HINDSON AND DAVID HOCKING

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Couch, Mal, ed. "Dictionary of Premellemmial Theology" Grand
Rapids. Kregel, 1996.

Hindson, Ed. "The Book of Revelation" Chattanooga: AMG
Publishers, 2002.

Hoehner, Harold. "Evidence from Revelation" In "A Case for
Premillennialism," Eds. D Campbell and J. Townsend. Chicago:
Moody Press, 1992.

McClain, Alva J. "The Greatness of the Kingdom." Chicago' Moody
Press, 1959.

Ryrie, Charles. "Basic Theology" Wheaton, IL. Victor Books, 1986.

Walvoord, John F. "The Millennial Kingdom." Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 1965.

                          ......................

NOTE:

THE FULL IN-DEPTH DETAILS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH IS
PRODUCED FOR YOU IN MY STUDY "THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON AND THE
NEW AGE" AND ALL THE STUDIES ON THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS, ON
THIS WEBSITE.

Keith Hunt 

Entered on this Website, April 2009


 
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