Life in the eternal state will be spectacular, far beyond even our best experiences in this life. Randy Alcorn, in his book Heaven, does a superb job of expanding our imaginations regarding our future life on the new earth and in the New Jerusalem. We have much to look forward to when the words of Revelation 21-22 ring true throughout the universe at a time when death, suffering, sorrow, and pain no longer exist (Rev. 21:1-4) as we explore the new earth and dwell in the most glorious city imaginable, the New Jerusalem.
In the meantime, we live in a world submerged in chaos. The fear of COVID-19 has created a culture of fear unlike anything we have ever seen. Riots and violence continue as powerful and wicked forces seek to overthrow America and eliminate the freedoms we enjoy.
Is our fate a worldwide form of Marxist government from which we will never escape? Will God judge those who kill our police, destroy businesses, and spread lawlessness and murder on our streets? Will we see the end of the despair and panic prevalent all around us?
Only premillennialism provides biblical answers to these questions. It alone provides the basis to discern the signs of the last days in which we live. It alone offers hope for our day rather than a distant and vague end-of-the-age return of Jesus that offers little comfort for our most pressing concerns or the fear that swells up inside us as we hear reports of violence around us.
Our beliefs in in a literal tribulation and millennium are not matters of stuffy theology without relevance to our lives. Premillennialism enables us to base our hopes, even our survival, on the sure foundation of God’s Word. The Bible assures us of God’s sovereignty over history as well as His coming judgment of the wickedness and violence so prevalent in our world. These beliefs, grounded in Scripture, offer us hope in a chaotic world.
We know premillennialism is true because:
The Father Cannot Break His Promise to the Son
In Psalm 2:7-8, we read this promise of the Father to the Son, “. . . The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.'” The context clarifies this as a physical rule over the nations of the world in which Jesus rules with a “rod of iron” and dashes the nations “in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:9-10). This cannot be a spiritual realm nor can it refer to the church; this remains an unfulfilled prophecy.
The millennial rule of Jesus as described in Psalm 2 is a biblical necessity because it denotes a promise of the Father to the Son. If Jesus does not reign over the nations as passages such as Zechariah 14 and Revelation 20:1-10 describe, it would signify that the Father has reneged on a promise to his Son.
Only premillennialism preserves the Father’s promise to the Son and assures us of a future kingdom in which we will reign with Jesus.
It Must Be the Future Millennium
Psalm 2:9 describes Jesus’ future rule in this way, “You shall break them with a rod of iron / and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Some versions have the word “rule” rather than “break.” Either way, does this describe Jesus’ headship over the church today or something that Jesus fulfilled with His first coming? Certainly not! This cannot be a promise for the church age.
The presence of rebellion and harsh judgment during this reign of Jesus also differentiates it from the eternal state where sin and death will no longer exist (Rev. 21:4). No other time fits with the conditions described in Psalm 2; it must be the millennium where Scripture tells us sin and rebellion will occur (Zech. 14:16-19; Rev. 20:1-10).
Only premillennialism fits with the prophetic conditions of Psalm 2.
The Original Intent of the Prophets
One cannot deny the reality of a future millennium state and at the same time interpret the prophetic words of Scripture in the way the authors intended them when they wrote them, or in the way that their original audience would have understood them at the time. Only premillennialism maintains the original intent of biblical prophets.
Take the words of the prophet Zechariah, for example. He prophesied about a time after Jesus’ crucifixion when a great number of the Israelites would repent and recognize Jesus as their Messiah. Using words that cannot apply to anyone else but those of Jewish physical descent, the prophet pictures a time of much weeping as the Jewish people recognize the one “they have pierced” as the Messiah and weep signifying their great regret and repentance (Zech. 12:10-13:1).
Those who dismiss a future physical kingdom for Israel cannot take the words of Zechariah the way the prophet intended. Instead, they must retrofit an unrelated and foreign understanding to the text that is light years away from how the faithful in Israel would have understood it at the time, or for that matter, centuries later.
If Scripture can mean one thing when written and have an entirely different sense centuries later, we would no longer be able to trust it. The use of allegory erodes both the trustworthiness and objectivity of Scripture by allowing interpreters to impose their own viewpoint on the text, interpretations that have nothing to do with the text at the time God inspired it.
Only premillennialism protects the original intent of biblical prophecy.
The Prophetic Intent of the Book of Revelation
The book of Revelation begins with these words: “The revelation of Jesus Christ.” From beginning to end, the book contains Jesus’ revelation to us, His church. Unfortunately, many today treat the book as an allegory from which they can pick and choose what is symbolic and what is not, and then decide how they will interpret it.
John’s choice of words negates the allegorical approach to the book of Revelation. The apostle uses the word “saw” 44 times by itself and 12 times with the word “looked.” He uses the word “heard” 30 times to indicate he was writing down words he heard. The apostle purposely used the words of someone communicating God’s message based on what he both saw and heard. Those writing allegory do not write as eyewitnesses to events. The apostle confirmed over and over again that he was recording future events as he saw them, writing down what he heard at a future time.
Yes, he employs symbolism and imagery in relating Jesus’ message about the future. His overriding intent, however, was to tell us specifically what he saw and heard concerning the future, especially during a time of tribulation that will come upon the world. Jesus Himself confirmed the words of the book as prophecy (Rev. 22:6).
Only premillennialism interprets the book of Revelation as future prophecy, which assures us of God’s coming judgment of the wickedness in our world.
The Allegorization of Scripture Opens the Door to Heresies
The allegorical method of interpreting Scripture, which forms the foundation of those who deny the millennial rule of Jesus, leads to a further erosion of biblical truth, and opens the door to heresy. It has done so in the past; it is happening now; it will certainly occur in the future.
In order to deny the restoration of a kingdom for Israel, one must relegate a multitude of Old Testament prophecies regarding the future of Israel to allegory. Such interpretations diminish the importance of words in the Bible and thereby open the door for other biblical texts to fall victim to allegory.
The church in the United Kingdom exemplifies how amillennialism morphs into further false beliefs and errors. I receive several e-mails from a great number of premillennialists who live there, and many there receive my newsletters. However, I also know that many leaders and pastors in the Church of England have long since rejected this teaching in favor of false viewpoints that deny the prophetic significance of Israel and her future restoration.
A pastor once used the church in the United Kingdom as proof that I should give up my premillennialism. He scoffed when I told him that amillennialism always leads to further false teaching.
During January of 2020, churches in Scotland and England disinvited Franklin Graham to speak because of his views on the LGBTQ agenda. Bryan Kerr, a Church of Scotland pastor in Lanark, said this, “Franklin Graham isn’t the voice of Christianity.” The path to such a misguided statement began with a denial of the restoration of Israel, AKA amillennialism, which led to such a great erosion of the integrity of Scripture.
Once a teacher or pastor treats future biblical prophecy as allegory, others eventually apply this methodology to other scriptural texts. This expansion of allegorical interpretations to other texts eroded the purity of the Gospel during the dark ages, and it’s happening again in our day.
Only premillennialism guards the integrity of all the words of Scripture.
The Dismissal of Biblical Prophecy Redirects the Focus of Believers to the Temporal
Those who deny what the Bible teaches about the millennium and tribulation believe the next prophetic event is Jesus’ return at the end of this age to wrap things up, judge humanity, and initiate the eternal state. They give lip service to the imminency of Jesus’ return, but neither they nor those listening to them really believe this could happen in their lifetime or during that of their grandchildren or great grandchildren.
As a result, they focus on the things of this world rather than on eternity. “Why watch for Jesus’ return if it’s still centuries away? Why adopt an eternal outlook on life if I expect to live a lengthy life and then go to be with the Lord after I die? I have plenty of time to think of eternity when I am old.”
In stark contrast to such a mindset, the biblical perspective conveys a message of imminency regarding Jesus’ appearing. New Testament saints waited for Jesus’ appearing with great eagerness (1 Cor. 1:7; Phil. 3:20-21). They watched for Him to come (1 Thess. 1:9-10) just as the Lord told his followers to do (Matt. 24:44, 25:13). The Apostle Paul believed Jesus could return for him in his lifetime (1 Thess. 4:17).
I know some amillennialists maintain the Apostle Paul’s two-world perspective of 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, but they are the exception rather than the norm.
Only premillennialism naturally leads to a biblical two-world perspective.
The words of Alva J. McClain in his wonderful work, The Greatness of the Kingdom, sum up the importance of a premillennial outlook on our world.
“The premillennial philosophy of history makes sense. It lays a biblical and rational basis for a truly optimistic view of human history. . . . It says that life here and now, in spite of the tragedy of sin, is nevertheless worth-while; and therefore all efforts to make it better are also worth-while. All the true values of human life will be preserved and carried over into the coming kingdom; nothing worth-while will be lost. Furthermore, we are encouraged in the midst of opposition and reverses by the assurance that help is on the way.” [i]
Only premillennialism offers hope for us in a world marked by violence and deception. It alone makes sense of our world today, encourages us to remain faithful when despair seems like our only option, and assures us of God’s sovereignty despite the chaos we see on our streets.
The Bible reveals the future formation of a totalitarian one-world government, but it also tells us that Jesus will destroy it at His second coming. The book of Revelation tells us that the Lord will severely judge the violence and evil of our day. As for us, we will be with Jesus before the Lord pours out His wrath on this Christ-hating world, only to return with Him and reign with Him in His glorious kingdom.
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[i] [i] Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom (Winona Lake: BMH Books, 1974), p. 531.