Jesus Messiah Fellowship
Light To The Nations
Amillennialism Part III
Pastor G. Reckart
Some History on Amillennialism
If you can spiritualize the following in Revelation 20:1-10 concerning the first resurrection then you can spiritualize both the resurrection and the millennial:
The thrones in verse 4; those that sat upon them; souls that were beheaded; the beast, his image, and his mark; Christ; the first resurrection; death; and satan.
But, if you cannot spiritualize these, then leave the text alone. If the events leading up to the resurrection and the millennial are not spiritualized, then do not keep these literal and then try to spiritualize the resurrection and the millennial. If you can spiritualize the millennial then you can also spiritualize the resurrection. But if the resurrection is not to be spiritualized, then DO NOT spiritualize the millennial.
Arguments about whether there would be a resurrection and when, were first developed among the Sadducees and the Pharisees. The Sadducees believed there was no resurrection of the physical body. They believed in a spiritual resurrection in which the Israelites were made the people of God through birthrights of flesh and blood, circumcision, and observing the Law. After death, a person either ceased to exist or were automatically transferred over into a spiritual realm where they would be forever with God. As each died, they were transferred to paradise. Those who died without benefit of being of the chosen people, ceased to exist like other beasts and animals. From this came the doctrine that the Gentiles were beasts and did not have souls.
The Pharisees believed in both a spiritual and a physical resurrection. They believed that beginning with the ancient Patriarch Abraham, those whom God imputed righteousness were counted as the LIVING, that is, these possessed a special relationship with God that whether alive physically or dead physically, they were ETERNALLY LIVING in God. Upon natural death, the dead would enter Paradise and join Abraham and other worthies there in fellowship. The Pharisees believed that at the end of the world, all the dead would be raised to life and those in Paradise with Abraham and the other worthies would come with God to the great judgment. Hence, the Pharisees believed in a resurrection and transformation of the body of the living and the dead. The dead in this case were identified as those who were without the grace of God, to be counted among those to whom he imputed righteousness. Hence, it became a Jewish tradition that upon arrival in Paradise, all males must go through a circumcision check. After checking the males for circumcision, Father Abraham would permit them entry or damn them to eternal torment.
Both the Sadducees and the Pharisees looked for a coming new age when the nation of Israel would be restored and the Gentiles pushed out of the county by force. This new era which they called the Kingdom of God, was to be ruled over by the Messiah, the Prince of the People of Israel. He would remove from Israel all of their enemies and all nations would then flow into Jerusalem and worship the world ruler.
There were numerous arguments about the time period of seventy weeks as prophesied by Daniel. Some included the coming Messiah and some did not. Some looked for the end of the world at that time and the day of judgment. One thing they all seemed to have believed, was that the "LAST DAYS" referred to the time when the Law would end and the judgment came. The interpretations of prophecy were largely in error. It took the Apostles, to set the teaching of Christ in their eschatological perspective. Apostle Paul was the greatest of the Apostles who correctly interpreted Old Testament prophecy. This correct interpretation did not end the various controversies of the Jews or later, of those who departed from the Church to teach their own theories and false doctrines (Gnostics). The Apostles gave us more then enough warnings about those who departed from their fellowship and who started teaching doctrines contrary to that which the Apostles said they had received from Christ.
These "contrary doctrines" did not die out and have in fact been a nuisance and a tool to lead multitudes from the Apostolic Faith into mysticism, now called Catholicism and Protestantism through a method called spiritualizing or reinterpreting Scripture. Those who were deceived by these false teachers were cheated out of their salvation. They believed lies which eventually lead many to deny the Lord Jesus Christ as God manifest in the flesh. The doctrine of no millennial, now known as amillennialism, comes to us from wells of bitter waters. By bitter waters, I mean a profane sources. It did not come from the Apostles. It was invented by men who began to reinterpret the Word of God, thus bringing in damnable doctrines that ultimately denied other important New Testament teachings.
Most writers in favor of Amillennialism, give the credit to St. Augustine for setting the doctrine and its code of mysticism and spiritual reinterpretation into a theological order. The doctrine of Augustine then became the official doctrine of the Catholic Church. The questions which to date have not been answered are: 1.) Did Augustine get his doctrine from a historic source that was Apostolic? 2.) Did he create it himself out of his own thoughts? 3.) Or did he learn it from Origen or Clement, or from Mani and the Gnostics among whom Augustine became a convert and rose to a lofty position of authority as a debater, his region covering much of the Western Mediterranean area?
Scholars have already determined that many doctrines, teachings, and philosophies, that Augustine brought to the Catholic Church when he switched from the Manichaeans sect over to Catholicism, were in fact teachings of Gnosticism. That Augustine was able to bring these teachings into the Catholic Church at a time when there was no protest, clearly shows that a time of laxity over the importance of original doctrine was in a wane. The Catholic Church now tries to justify Augustine-ism as there very own teachings and doctrines. Thus, any reference or connection to Mani is avoided and has been since the time of Augustine. Augustine certainly did not go about touting that his entire theology was that of Mani. In fact, Augustine did not give Mani credit for any of his doctrines and interpretations. So it is hard to determine where he came up with his theory of amillennialism.
Were there beliefs on the Millennial prior to Augustine that conflicted with his? Yes!
The following quotes are taken from the Ante-Nicene Fathers [before Nicaea in 325 AD]. Please bear in mind that the quotes from these writers do not serve to establish New Testament doctrine. They serve only to give testimony as to what was believed concerning the fulfillment of prophecy, particularly the 1,000 year millennial reign of Messiah. A point that weighs heavily here, is that in the quotes will be missing in there entirety, the amillennial doctrine of Augustine. This serves if nothing else, to prove that the Augustine-Mani interpretation of the millennial was not held by the Ante-Nicene Fathers at all. In fact, the ideas supposed by Augustine would have been considered heretical by them.
Taken from Volume 10, page 184, the index of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, under "MILLENNIUM:"
Millennium, the, I, 239; vii, 218,254, 359; of prophecies and types of, iii, 342,343; after first resurrection, iv, 211, 218; errors concerning, vi, 81; questionable traditions of, I, 153.
The last, which are certainly questionable, because of their absurdity, will be passed over and not given any consideration. The reader can check the reference and see that what is reported in Volume 1, page 153 is clearly not even remotely Apostolic.
Volume i, p 239:
This material comes from the writings of Justin Martyr in his dialogue with a Jew named Typho. Justin Martyr lived from 110-165 AD. It is said that he was born in Samaria near Jacob=s well. He was well educated in philosophy before his conversion. According to Justin, what Plato was feeling after, he [Justin,] found in Jesus Christ. He was one of the first in the Post-Apostolic age to confront the Jews and their false position against Christ. His teaching on the millennial to Typho was then to instruct him in what was then considered by Churches to be the Apostolic eschatology of the 1,000 year earthy reign of Christ. On page 239, Justin exposes to the mind of Typho, that there were many different opinions then circulating under the name of Christian. He cautions him that in spite of this condition, there were those belonging "to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians." He tells Typho that there were then existing certain "Christians" who were saying: there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven." Justin rebukes this departure from the Apostolic teachings, by saying: "do not imagine that they are Christians." To sum up what Justin received as the truth, he said the following: "But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare."
What is stated here in a nut-shell is that there will be a resurrection of the physical body of those who had died. Following this physical resurrection would be a time interval of 1,000 years.
Justin Martyr certainly did not believe the amillennialism of Augustine. In fact, in amillennialism, there is no physical resurrection of any dead, until the time of the great white throne of judgment. Most amillennialist believe that when a person dies, they go to heaven. Justin identified this doctrine as not being of the "true and pure" teachings of Christians. If there is no physical resurrection of any dead until the end of the world, then how can Christ come back before the end of the world, and raise the dead? This doctrine would teach that the coming of Christ in Matt. 24:29-30, 1Cor.15:52, and 1Thess. 4:17 would be the literal end and the great white throne of judgment would begin.
An obvious contradiction is the time of the last trump. The last trump has been identified as the seventh and last in the series of seven. The contradiction is seen, in that the amillennialist teach that all prophecy was fulfilled by the end of the year in 70 AD. If the seventh trumpet was sounded prior to and or at least concluded by 70 AD, then there is no trumpet remaining to be sounded to signal the resurrection of the dead [that is unless the resurrection is past and occurred in 70 AD] as many reprobates were then preaching throughout the world. What trumpet is sounded for the resurrection, if the last trumpet was sounded by years end in 70 AD? If the Resurrection of Rev. 20:1-10 is water baptism, is there a "spiritual" trumpet sounded each time there is a baptism, which would be the persons alleged "first resurrection?" Some say the sound of the trumpet is a preacher preaching: like in *lift up your voice like a trumpet.* This type of spiritualizing stretches error to its limit. Would not the very existence of a remaining physical resurrection and the still awaiting sound of the "last Trump," signify that all prophecy HAS NOT BEEN FULFILLED. Would this not prove that water baptism is NOT THE FIRST RESURRECTION?
If the last trump of Paul is the seventh trumpet of the Revelation, and if the seventh trumpet signals the end of the present Church age and the resurrection of the dead in Christ, it would follow that if the book of Revelation was fulfilled by 70AD, that the Church age would have ended and the resurrection of the dead in Christ would have taken place prior to 70AD.
Amillennialism is a heresy simple and plain. If there be any Scriptures that seem to appear to contradict the Millennial truth, it is our understanding, not that the Millennial is false.
The Kingdom of God began on the day of Pentecost and spans the time until the end of the Millennial. For this reason, both the present Church age and the Millennial to come may be called the Kingdom of God. Some attempt to teach the falsehood that the gospel of the Kingdom is not the gospel to the present world. They teach the heresy that the Kingdom did not come on the day of Pentecost. They teach Peter was given the keys to the Kingdom in Matthew 16:19 but was never allowed to use them because the Kingdom was postponed due to the political system in control of the Temple rejecting it. These teach the heresy that the gospel of Grace was slipped in by God the Father so God the Son could get a Gentile bride. Then God the Father would begin anew the gospel of the Kingdom to the Jews at the beginning of Daniel=s 70th week, which is called the seven years of the great tribulation or time of Jacob's trouble. These heresies are proven wrong by many Scriptures, especially Matthew 16:18-19. In the Matthew text, the Church of verse 18 is the Kingdom of verse 19. And why, if Jesus knew the Kingdom would be postponed, would he specifically tell Peter that he would be given the keys to the Kingdom? Why do Apostolics teach that Acts 2:38 contains the three keys to the Kingdom? Why would Jesus in Acts 1:2 teach the Apostles for forty days of things pertaining to the Kingdom if it was postponed? The truth is, the Kingdom began on the Day of Pentecost:
The Kingdom was to come with POWER (Mark 9:1).
The power was to come with the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:8).
The Holy Ghost came on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4)
THEREFORE THE KINGDOM CAME ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST!
The Kingdom is here now!
The Kingdom was placed into the hands of servants until our Lord should return from a far journey and then he shall return and reward his servants and sit upon his throne:
MAR 13:34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house (Church or Kingdom), and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
MAR 13:35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.
MAR 13:36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
MAR 13:37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
MAT 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.
According to Revelation 20:1-10, the millennial when Christ shall sit upon the throne of his glory is still future. The text of Matthew 25:31 proves beyond any question that there is one coming of Messiah with his angels. The following events prove this to be true:
1.) The devil has not been bound a thousand years yet.
2.) The Apostles sitting on twelve thrones judging Israel has not happened yet.
3.) The beast has not arisen yet to cut off the heads of the saints.
4.) The beast has not arisen yet to cause anyone to worship him or take his mark.
5.) These have not died and been resurrected to live on earth a thousand years.
6.) The first resurrection of the dead (physical dead) in Christ has not taken place yet.
7.) Those who have *part* that did not die as martyrs but died in Christ, have not been resurrected yet.
8.) The glorification of bodies so that the second death has no power over them has not taken place yet.
9.) The reign of Christ for one thousand years with these resurrected saints has not taken place yet.
10.) For this reign of Christ to take place he must return. He has not returned yet, therefore the Millennial has not taken place yet.
The proofs of the future millennial are to numerous for anyone to run to the Catholic Church and embrace her doctrine of amillennialism.
The millennial is the day of the Lord--One day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The beginning of the Millennial is the beginning of the day of the Lord. The whole thousand years is the day of the Lord, and the end is the concluding of the day of the Lord.
While there remains to be cleared up such things as Ezekiel's Temple which many see in the Millennial and I do not. If Ezekiel's temple was not fulfilled before Calvary it will never be fulfilled! Animal sacrifices; levitical priesthood; Jesus as the *Prince* offering sacrifices; Jesus as the *Prince* being married and having sons; Jesus as the *Prince* that comes through a shut eastern gate; and also the idea of children being born, raises questions; but these are not sufficient to deny the earthly reign, but challenge us even the more to get false doctrine out of our minds until we see clearly and the dark glass of amillennialism of the papacy and the horrible errors of dispensationalism have been removed. And, just possibly, as was in the days of the Apostles, our imaginations and out beliefs have become so colored with false teachings, we may never *fully* understand the millennial truth until Jesus comes and ushers us into that glorious event. And to this, I acquiesce and say even so, COME LORD JESUS. Amen
By his grace and not my race,
Email Pastor Reckart