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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Amillenialism

A while back, Candy added a blog called Anna Matrix to her sidebar. She took it down pretty quickly, probably because Anna's language can be a bit spicy and that might not have been appreciated by Candy's general audience.

(Note: Anna does not really appreciate traffic or comments from non-regular readers. If you leave a comment, keep a record, as Elena says. It will probably not remain up for long.)

I've read Anna off and on since then. She's very unique. I've been reading her more lately to keep up with her timeline for the rapture, which is coming up in about 40 days now, according to her.

Anyway, today she had this little bit of information tucked into her post:

Catholics and several other groups are 'amillinialist'. They don't believe that there will be a Tribulation, that the world will face horrors untold, that there will be a judgment, etc. Instead they believe that things will gradually get better and better, that the church will succeed in bringing peace and harmony to the world, and we'll all live together in harmony.

While Catholics are amillenial, Anna does not have the correct definition. Amillenialism does not believe that Jesus will reign on earth for a literal 1000 years. Instead, He is reigning in Heaven for a period of time which is symbolized by 1000 years. At the end of that time, He will physically return to Earth, and there will be a judgement.

From Catholic Answers:

The amillennial view interprets Revelation 20 symbolically and sees the millennium not as an earthly golden age in which the world will be totally Christianized, but as the present period of Christ’s rule in heaven and on the earth through his Church. This was the view of the Protestant Reformers and is still the most common view among traditional Protestants, though not among most of the newer Evangelical and Fundamentalist groups.

Amillennialists also believe in the coexistence of good and evil on earth until the end. The tension that exists on earth between the righteous and the wicked will be resolved only by Christ’s return at the end of time. The golden age of the millennium is instead the heavenly reign of Christ with the saints, in which the Church on earth participates to some degree, though not in the glorious way it will at the Second Coming.

Amillennialists point out that the thrones of the saints who reign with Christ during the millennium appear to be set in heaven (Rev. 20:4; cf. 4:4, 11:16) and that the text nowhere states that Christ is on earth during this reign with the saints.

They explain that, although the world will never be fully Christianized until the Second Coming, the millennium does have effects on earth in that Satan is bound in such a way that he cannot deceive the nations by hindering the preaching of the gospel (Rev. 20:3). They point out that Jesus spoke of the necessity of "binding the strong man" (Satan) in order to plunder his house by rescuing people from his grip (Matt. 12:29). When the disciples returned from a tour of preaching the gospel, rejoicing at how demons were subject to them, Jesus declared, "I saw Satan fall like lightning" (Luke 10:18). Thus for the gospel to move forward at all in the world, it is necessary for Satan to be bound in one sense, even if he may still be active in attacking individuals (1 Pet. 5:8).

This section of the Catechism deals with "From thence He shall come again to judge the living and the dead":

IN BRIEF

680 Christ the Lord already reigns through the Church, but all the things of this world are not yet subjected to him. The triumph of Christ's kingdom will not come about without one last assault by the powers of evil.

681 On Judgment Day at the end of the world, Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history.

682 When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works, and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace.


We do not believe that things will get "better and better" until we have created Heaven on Earth.

675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.



You can read previous posts on this subject here and here.

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39 comments:

Jackie B said...

She's confusing Amillenialism with Post-millenialism. Although she doesn't quite have that right either.

Sue Bee said...

40 days until the rapture? I've got a dentist appointment about then. Maybe I should cancel...

Kelly said...

Don't cancel it, just reschedule for afterwards. That way, if the rapture does happen, then you can skip out. ;)

anymommy said...

Thank you so much for printing this. In my old IFB church, the rapture and anti-Catholicism were taught hand-in-hand. I got so sick of hearing about it--I think it was the straw that broke this camel's back. The Catholic Church's stance on these "issues" is so much more logical, and whether fundamentalists want to admit it or not, the Church trumps them on Biblical accurateness!

Jennie said...

Amillennialists point out that the thrones of the saints who reign with Christ during the millennium appear to be set in heaven (Rev. 20:4; cf. 4:4, 11:16) and that the text nowhere states that Christ is on earth during this reign with the saints.

2 Timothy 2:12
12 If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He also will deny us.

Rev. 5
“ You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”

Rev. 20
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished.

Rev. 20
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

The reign is on earth with Christ for 1000 years.

Jennie said...

Notice it says they reign 'on earth' and 'they reign with Christ for 1000 years' and that Christ has already returned to earth in Rev. 19 with all the resurrected saints and that the nations gather to 'make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army'. This is on earth.

Jennie said...

Don't cancel your dental appointment:)

Kelly said...

Jennie, I appreciate you chiming in with those scripture verses, but I'm afraid I don't know enough about it to have a good conversation about it with you.

It's too bad Joy over at Coffee With Candy has pretty much closed up shop. She and her husband had studied this extensively, and they were great at defending the Catholic view on this.

Moonshadow said...

When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works, and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace.

Yup. The Catechism is very good on this topic.

Rev. 5:10 in the KJV Jennie quoted is different than other English versions in that the four living creatures and the 24 elders sing about themselves ("made us / we shall reign"). The Rheims NT reads this way as well.

In other versions, they are singing about others: "made them / they shall reign." Interesting but not significant, really. We get the idea that the song is about the saints.

Jennie said...

1 Thessalonians 4:
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

This is the resurrection of the dead in Christ, followed immediately by those still alive in Christ. They are caught up to meet Him in the air. All believers will be resurrected immediately upon Christ's return, so there is no question that they are believers. They are not judged for salvation, but will be judged for reward and discipline.
See 1 Corinthians 3:
9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Barbara C. said...

When I went to see HP on Friday, there was a preview for the movie "2012". According to the preview, the apocalypse will we released on November 13, 2009. ;-) I couldn't help but think of this post.

Kelly said...

They are not judged for salvation, but will be judged for reward and discipline.

Discipline before heaven? I didn't realize that you believed in purgatory, too. That is one of the verses we cite in support of it.

Jennie said...

It isn't clear how long a period of time the 'testing by fire' encompasses. We tend to think it is not a long period of time, and don't equate it with ages like the purgatory doctrine does, I believe.

Kelly said...

Purgatory is simply a time of purification, because nothing unclean can enter heaven.

We do have a purgatory post with a full explanation. Just use the search box at the top of the blog.

Moonshadow said...

I've heard Pastor Steve Brown refer to 1 Cor. 3:15 as "the Protestants' Purgatory" years ago on the radio. Tongue-in-cheek, of course. Pastor Brown is almost always tongue-in-cheek. But there's no getting around it.

Jennie said...

Well, the passage is talking about whether our works are built of wood, hay, or stubble, or gold, silver, and precious stones. It doesn't seem to be speaking of sin, but of the things we have attempted to do for God. Some things are done in the flesh, in our own power, and will not survive the fire. The things we do in the Spirit, by His power and help as we abide in His word, will survive.

Saved Sinner said...

I find all this rapture business very confusing as it's not a thing over here at all. I just can't understand where they get it from. I do remember reading something recently about it orignating in Ireland some time in the 19th century.

Saved Sinner said...

Actually I once pointed out to a certain blogger that we do not know the day or the hour but she just said that it doesn't say we don't know the season.

Jennie said...

Saved Sinner,
the idea of the 'rapture' comes from the words 'caught up' in the passage I quoted above in 1 Thessalonians:
1 Thessalonians 4:
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Then chapter 5 teaches us about the Day of the Lord when the times of judgment will come on the earth before the Lord returns.
1 Thessalonians 5
1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.


And this passage speaks of how to recognize when the time is coming close; apostasy will be rampant and the 'man of sin' will be revealed:
2 Thessalonians 2
1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Saved Sinner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saved Sinner said...

So Jennie:
1 Thess 4 says that at the end of the world the dead will go to heaven before those who are still living.

1 Thess 5 says that the end of the world will come suddenly without warning. ("For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.")

2 Thess 2:3 - I won't quote Matthew Henry on who the son of perdition is (because I don't agree and even if I did it would be bad manners to do so here) but on the falling away he says, "And let us observe, that no sooner was Christianity planetd and rooted in the world, but there began to be a defection in the Christian church. It was so in the Old Testament church: presently after any considerable advance made in religion there followed a defection. [He then gives various examples such as Babel after the renewal of the covenant with Noah and the Israelites turning to Baal soon after they entered the Promised Land.] ... and therefore it is no strange thing that after the planting of Christianity there should come a falling away."

As far as the anti-Christ is concerned, there are many different things it could be referring to and even so it doesn't make us able to predict a pattern of events leading up to the end of the world. I don't see anything in my Bible to make me think there is a "seven year tribulation" and that we can predict when the end of the world will be.

Saved Sinner said...

I deleted and redid my comment because I missed the end quotation marks on my Matthew Henry quote which made it confusing.

Saved Sinner said...

For the benefit of Jennie in case she thinks I'm Catholic (as someone else famously thought), I'm a member of an English Reformed Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Moonshadow said...

I won't quote Matthew Henry on who the son of perdition is (because I don't agree and even if I did it would be bad manners to do so here)

Call me guilty of bad manners:

"[H]e is the son of perdition, because he himself is devoted to certain destruction, and is the instrument of destroying many others both in soul and body. These names may properly be applied, for these reasons, to the papal state; and thereto agree also,

2. The characters here given, v. 4. (1.) That he opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or is worshipped; and thus have the bishops of Rome not only opposed God's authority, and that of the civil magistrates, who are called gods, but have exalted themselves above God and earthly governors, in demanding greater regard to their commands than to the commands of God or the magistrate. (2.) As God, he sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. As God was in the temple of old, and worshipped there, and is in and with his church now, so the antichrist here mentioned is some usurper of God's authority in the Christian church, who claims divine honours; and to whom can this better apply than to the bishops of Rome, to whom the most blasphemous titles have been given, as Dominus Deus noster papa-Our Lord God the pope; Deus alter in terrĂ¢-Another God on earth; Idem est dominium Dei et papae ..."


This book is also pertinent, The Beast and His Image - Frederic Fysh. I can't figure out its publication year.

Jennie said...

Saved Sinner,
1 Thess 4 says that at the end of the world the dead will go to heaven before those who are still living.
Yes, the 'dead in Christ' and 'those who remain' alive that are in Christ. Only the saved will be caught up with Him when He returns.

1 Thess 5 says that the end of the world will come suddenly without warning. ("For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.")
Yes, but look at the rest:
4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
Those who are watching for the signs will not be overtaken by that Day like a thief. In Matthew, Jesus said, 'See, I have told you ahead of time.' So we would know what was coming and be comforted that He foresaw it and will be with us.

On the son of perdition, there have been many, and there will be more; and in Daniel and Revelation, and other places, the signs of the end are described for those who are watching. There will be a final government and false religion that will 'wear out' the saints of God at the end of the age before Jesus comes to take us to Himself.

Saved Sinner said...

Jennie:

I understand that the term "rapture" comes from "caught up" just like the quiverfull movement takes its name from a particular Psalm. It's the whole doctrine which I don't get.

I disagree with your interpretation of the rest of 1 Thess 5 and I do not see Daniel and Revelation as giving us a detailed description of what will happen in order to predict the second coming and the day of judgement. We as Christians are prepared for the second coming because we trust in Jesus for the remission of our sins - not because we can predict when it will be.

Jennie said...

Saved Sinner:
Jesus and the Apostles, and the prophets before them, gave prophecies and warnings of the future for a reason: so that we would know that God is with us through those times and be comforted, and so we would be careful to watch for the signs and deep ourselves clean from the world, knowing that judgment is coming for those who 'don't obey the Gospel of God.'

Jennie said...

Oops! I meant 'keep' not 'deep'

Moonshadow said...

It's the whole doctrine [rapture] which I don't get.

One doesn't have to believe in rapture in order to be raptured. One only has to believe in Jesus. True. :-)

Jennie, I've been told, maybe incorrectly, that rapture isn't taught in OT prophecy because it's only for the church age and there's a principle of "rightly dividing the word."

But, what about the principle given in Amos 3:7 that "surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."

Wouldn't that include a rapture event?

A question for you on Isaiah 13. In a Precepts study I attended, we were instructed to assign verses of the chapter either to the historical overthrow of Babylon by the Medes/Persians or the coming "day of the LORD." We agreed that verse 9 introduces a segment of future events. I read aloud verse 16, "Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes;" and asked whether children of a certain age aren't raptured. Nobody had an answer.

If verse 16 speaks of the eschaton, then these little ones are clearly denied salvation: they weren't raptured, no matter where one places the rapture in the tribulation.

Jennie said...

That passage is first speaking of the judgment on Babylon when the Medes and the Persians came in and overthrew the kingdom under Cyrus and Darius. The children of Babylon were killed and the women ravished as it said. Prophecies may have more than one fulfillment, and it may also speak of the future Babylon that we see rise up and then fall in Revelation. The children of the unsaved will not be raptured. In times of God's wrath, He has not spared the children of the unsaved, and when judgment falls all ages are killed; such as in Rev. 18 when Babylon the Great is judged. This doesn't mean everyone will be killed, because many will enter the Millennial kinddom alive.

Moonshadow said...

The children of the unsaved will not be raptured.

Thank you for clearing that up.

Jennie said...

Teresa,
To clarify, this is only my opinion based on what I know so far, and I don't know everything:)
I'm just going by the past judgments where God allowed all to be killed when His wrath fell.
The 'rapture' passage doesn't mention anyone but those 'in Christ' being 'caught up.' So that's what I go by. However, many will survive and enter the Millennial kingdom and will have a chance to be saved. Also,I believe all young children who die go to heaven.

See Zechariah 14 which talks about the Day of the Lord. Verses 3-5 show Christ returning to earth with the saints. We assume they have returned with Him after being 'caught up' with Him in the air. This passage is also a counterpart to the Isaiah 13 passage and uses some of the same language.

Moonshadow said...

this is only my opinion

That's alright ... I have to resort to opinions that aren't mine. See below.

_____________________


That passage is ... speaking of the judgment on Babylon

Except it isn’t quite.

From the “Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible” (study notes lean Reformed/Calvinistic, in other words, amillennial):

"This section presents Isaiah’s prophecies concerning God’s actions toward ten specific nations who played important roles during the period of Assyrian judgment. After opening with a declaration of Assyria’s eventual defeat (13:1-14:27; see note on 13:1), the prophecies predict events that would soon take place in nine other nations in connection with Assyrian military campaigns ..."

Isaiah 15 is a prophecy against Moab. Chapter 17 is against Damascus. Isaiah 18 is a prophecy against Cush, etc.

"The prophet began with a proclamation of severe judgment to come on Babylon, or as the evidence actually suggests, on Assyria."

Note on 13:1 - "Several factors indicate that this passage (Isaiah 13:1) actually concerns the Assyrian kingdom rather than the Babylonian Empire. (1) From the time of Tiglath-Pileser III (c. 729 B.C.) Assyrian kings designated themselves 'king of Babylon' because Babylon was among their holdings and was such an important city in the ancient world (14:3). (2) The larger literary context of this passage is concerned with the period of Assyrian, not Babylonian, judgment. (3) Isaiah 14:24-27 explicitly names Assyria but is not separated by an introductory heading such as is given for the other nations in this context (cf. 13:1; 14:28; 15:1; 17:1; 19:1; 21:1, 11,13; 22:1; 23:1). For these reasons we may be confident that this prophecy predicts the defeat of the Assyrians by the Babylonians in c. 612 B.C."

Just doesn't have a satisfactory explanation for verse 17.

I don’t think this interpretation does anything to undermine your eschatology but it means Isaiah 13:16 isn’t about the eschaton, therefore those children were saved despite not being raptured and God does not “slay the righteous with the wicked so that the righteous fare as the wicked” (Gen. 18:25, RSV) after all.

If I had to find the Rapture in the OT, I would find it in the story of Lot’s rescue from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The stuff you said on Zech. 14 is ok with me.

Peace of Christ to you.

Jennie said...

I don't know why your source is saying that the Isaiah passage is about Assyria. I just went by the fact that it says Babylon and later mentions the Medes, who, along with the Persians, took over Babylon at the time of Cyrus. If there is another event that fits better, then I'd be interested to know about it; but to me it doesn't make sense to say it's talking about Assyria when it says 'Babylon.'

Going back to your 'rapture' questions:
But, what about the principle given in Amos 3:7 that "surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."

Wouldn't that include a rapture event?


Like I said before, I don't know for sure that it's not in the O.T. in some form, but even so, the New Testament writers were prophets, too, being inspired by the Holy Spirit, speaking and writing God's Word.

Also, about the passage where it says the children will be 'dashed to pieces', this doesn't have any bearing on whether the rapture has happened or not in this prophecy. It is not clear when the rapture will happen with regard to the end times, and a time called the 'tribulation' in some passages. The rapture may be after this judgment, or before; and like I said it doesn't say that all children will be raptured.

Jennie said...

If I had to find the Rapture in the OT, I would find it in the story of Lot’s rescue from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Yes, and some see it in Noah's escape on the Ark. and Enoch, and Elijah. There are probably others as well. I was trying to think of a purely prophetic passage; I'll have to check it out some more.

Moonshadow said...

I don't know why your source is saying that the Isaiah passage is about Assyria.

Forget I mentioned it.

Well, no, really, the alternatives are (1) Isaiah wrote it about Assyria or (2) Isaiah didn't write it.

Take your pick.

Now you see why the conservative study Bible I cited takes the view it does, to maintain Isaianic authorship.

A Continental Commentary - Isaiah 13-27, Fortress Press.

Peace of Christ to you.

Jennie said...

I guess I'm dense, but I don't see why a prophet couldn't have been writing about future events concerning Babylon even though the threat at the time of his writing was not Babylon, but Assyria. It sounds like that is what the book you linked to was saying at one point. He is a prophet after all.

Moonshadow said...

He is a prophet after all.

Right, and part of his mission is to comfort God's people.

So, talking about something 200 years hence wouldn't serve that purpose.

Actually, another option is that someone took Isaiah's prophecy about Assyria and reworked it to be applicable in the time of Babylon and that's what we have.

Let's forget about it ... I'm sorry I mentioned it.

Jennie said...

OK.