bible refs

Amillennialism

Amillennialism is a view that denies the fact that after the return of Jesus there will be a one thousand year reign of Christ on the earth. This thousand year reign of Christ on earth is also referred to as the millennium or the millennial reign of Christ. Amillenialism interprets the millennial period using an allegorical and spiritualizing method. This is the method used to maintain that the Church is now in the Millennium and has replaced Israel. When using this method of interpreting the Bible one can have a wide range of meaning which they can fit to almost any idea. When using the normal literal, grammatical, and historical method, used by premillennialism, one only has one meaning. Amillennialism views the one thousand years as a metaphorical reference to the present church age that will end in Christ's return, Revelation 20:1-6.

According to the amillennial view, the millennium began at the first coming of Christ in the first century, when He was born into the world, and that His kingdom was then established on earth and this is the only kingdom that will ever exist on earth. Jesus is currently reigning as king over his kingdom right now. He defeated Satan and therefore restrains Satan's power on earth. However, this disagrees with Revelation 20:1-3 which tells us Satan will be bound for one thousand years, shut up in a bottomless pit, and it isn't mentioned that Satan is restrained but it clearly states he will be unable to deceive the world. As a result of Jesus ruling over His kingdom now, it is claimed that the tribulation period is occuring today. Tribulation is taking place whenever Christians are persecuted so it is happening now and will continue until Jesus returns. At the return of Jesus, He will defeat the nations of the world, resurrect and judge the saved and the unsaved sending them to heaven or hell. Amillennialist then, have a difficult time saying the Lord's prayer and meaning it because it says "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.", Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2. Amillennialism also ignores the biblical time schedule of the judgments of God. These judgments are for different subjects, at different times, in different places and cannot be mixed together as one judgment.

The amillennial view that the Church has replaced Israel is called replacement theology or suppersessionism. Suppersessionism or replacement theology holds to the doctrinal views of “Preterism” and “Amillennialism”. These three doctrines are so tied together and connected if one of them conflicts with Scripture the other two fall with it.

The Seed of Abraham in the Abrahamic Covenant is not interpreted literally in amillennialism. An amillennial uses the allegorical and spiritualizing method and say the Seed of Abraham is in a spiritual sense only, Genesis 12:1-3. Amillennials say that the Seed of Abraham is the visible community of the members that stand in a relation to God because of the Abrahamic Covenant. This makes all people who are heirs of the Abrahamic covenant in any sense the Seed of Abraham. All of the promises of God were to the continuing covenanted community and there were no promises to the Jews as a race. The Abrahamic Covenant has no regard for the race or ancestry of any individual. As can be seen from the above, Israel as a nation or race has been thrown out and their promise of everlasting possession of the land is therefore thrown out. This makes the Abrahamic Covenant have it's fulfillment in the church and support replacement theology.

When one takes the Abrahamic Covenant in a literal, grammatical, historical meaning it becomes clear. We find the covenant in Genesis 12:1-3 confirming three items and see the covenant expanded in Genesis 13:14-17; Genesis 15:1-7; Genesis 17:1-18. There are three promises God gave to Abraham.

  • Abraham was to be the father of a great nation, this is the seed.
  • The promises to the seed are to the physical seed of Abraham. Not all of the physical descendants of Abraham are included because Ishamel was set aside. The line of the seed is through Isaac, not Ishamel, Genesis 17:18-19. Later when Jacob and Esau come along, the promise continued through Jacob and then his sons, who make up the twelve tribes of Israel. The promises were then continued through the twelve tribes of Israel.
  • God promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation, Genesis 12:2, and this was later expanded and compared to the dust of the earth and the stars of heaven in number, Genesis 13:16; Genesis 15:1-7; Genesis 17:1-18 and this also included kings and nations other than the seed, Genesis 17:6. God promised His special blessing on Abraham and promised that His name would be great and that Abraham himself would be a blessing. This has already had a literal fulfillment and continues to be fulfilled.
  • A nation needs a land and God promised the nation of Israel a land. In Genesis 13:14-17 we see God showing Abraham the land he was going to give to him and his descendants. Later, in Genesis 17:8, we see that the land was given to Abraham and his seed for an everlasting possession.
  • This nation would be a blessing to all families of the earth, Genesis 12:3. This is the blessing promised to the Gentiles, which is all nations and people other than Israel. This promise includes salvation. Listen to what Paul says about this in Galatians 3:8, "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed."

Origen and Clement of Alexandria taught the allegorical method of interpreting the Bible. It was in this second century that the church fathers wanted to break with anything related to the Jews. They made claims that God has cursed and rejected Israel, and now the church is the “true” or “new” Israel, and that the promises of blessing to Israel are now the exclusive property of the church. These statements were the source of, and were used as the justification of anti-Semitism by the church down through the centuries to the present day. The orthodoxy of Christianity was premillennialism through the first two centuries and part of the third century. Premillennialism declined only when the allegorical method of interpretation began to filter into the church and then with the establishment of the institutional church under Constantine.

Beginning in the second century Jews and Christians were in competition with one another for the attention of Rome. The Jews had legal status as a religion and didn't want the Christians associated with them. On the other hand, Christians also wanted to be recognized by Rome and not associated with the Jews. Then, in the fourth century, Christianity was finally established as the official religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine in the fourth century. It was Augustine who would adopt amillennialism and introduce it into the Roman Catholic Church. Prior to Augustine amillennialism was associated with heresies. Amillenialism is still the view of the Roman Catholic Church, many protestant churches, and the Orthodox Church .

The premillennial view, called "Chiliasm" in the first century, uses the literal, grammatical, and historical method of interpretation while amillenialism uses the allegorical spiritualizing method. Those using the allegorical method can change the literal meaning to make Scripture agree with there system of interpretation. This is one reason there are so many churches that use this method and it has resulted in many different views of the Bible. The amillennial view is one that has resulted in many false doctrines.

The one thing that dominates amillenialism, is it's denial of an earthly reign of Christ. It was the Alexandrian school of theology that followed the allegorical method for interpreting all Scripture, and was popular in the third century. They aroused opposition to premillennialism and other doctrines as well. Augustine's amillennialism was the one adopted by the Roman Catholic Church and was eventually adopted, with variations, by many of the churches coming out of the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation.

Augustine, in the fifth century, also introduced the idea that the kingdom of God is a present reality and is identified with the church. In the Reformation many of the reformers returned to the teaching that the kingdom of God is identical to the visible church. Thus, the kingdom of God is separated from Israel and amillenialism denies the promises God made to Israel and do away with Israel's hope of an earthly kingdom. The dispensational premillennial view says that there is a form of the kingdom of God on earth today but that the fulfillment of the promises of a kingdom that were given to Israel will be fulfilled after the second coming of Christ and it will be an earthly reign of Christ over the entire world.



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