Amillennialism: Rethinking and Critiquing My Eschatology After Five Years

Back in May 2007 I posted a little blurb on my silly little blog (Dunne’s Discourses) about how I had become an Amillennialist. The main person responsible for my...
lion-and-the-lamb

Back in May 2007 I posted a little blurb on my silly little blog (Dunne’s Discourses) about how I had become an Amillennialist. The main person responsible for my conversion was Pastor Kim Riddlebarger of Christ Reformed Church in Anaheim, CA. His book A Case for Amillennialism is one of the best at defending the position from a Reformed perspective. Since it is almost the fifth anniversary of my eschatological conversion from Dispensational Premillennialism to Reformed Amillennialism I thought I should take a look at this issue afresh. To be candid, my certainty regarding Amillennialism has waned since 2007. I still hold to it, but it is slipping away from me at a steady pace. The pragmatic problem that creates the biggest issue for me is thinking ahead to the time when I’ll be applying for jobs at Christian Universities and Seminaries. The problem is that I’m an evangelical mutt. I’m partly Reformed and partly Anabaptist. So on the one hand I’m not Reformed enough to teach at any Reformed or Presbyterian institution, and on the other hand I’m too Reformed to teach at most broadly evangelical schools. And the issue that makes me “too Reformed” is eschatology. So there is a pragmatic impetus for reconsidering my eschatology – I’ll be honest – but the original conviction that led me to Amillennialism in the first place was a deep concern to go where the Bible led me and nowhere else. So what I thought I’d do in this post is take a look at the arguments that were originally convincing to me back in 2007 and respond to them with my 2012 perspective. My original comments will be in block quotes:

Like most American evangelicals, I grew up attending a dispensational church. I also attended a Christian high school that taught basic Dispensationalism. This is usually enough to create any evangelical into a dispensationalist, but throw in reading the increasingly popular end-times series, Left Behind, and you have all the necessary pre-requisites to be a full blown pretribulational premillennial dispensationalist. Obviously, when you’re a dispensationalist nothing is more abhorred then Amillennialism. I too was there. I hated Amillennialism. I viewed it as liberal theology like most do (never mind the historical precedence), and I thought that it essentially threw away the book of revelation and simply turned it into a giant symbolic analogy of the present age in an arbitrary fashion. Amillennialism, I thought, was a horrible position to hold.

Regardless of where my eschatological journey takes me, it is certainly clear that Amillennialism will never be viewed as a liberal eschatological position in and of itself.

My own wanderings in eschatology over the past year have lead me towards an Amillennial conclusion, despite my prior assessments. The first problem came with pretribulationalism. After studying the “rapture” I realized that it is always in relation to Christ’s physical return. Despite the arguments about imminence, I realized that 1 Thess 4, and Mt 24 give us no understanding of a “secret” return. Without going into detail here, I quickly rejected the notion of a pretribulational rapture. I realized that the view of a pretribulational rapture is actually more tied to ecclesiology then it is to eschatology. This seemed highly problematic to me. The only reason the pretrib rapture exists in theological studies is because of a staunch dichotomy between Israel and the Church. Something that I have now rejected for a covenantal approach to their relationship (cf. Ro 2:29; Ro 9:6-8; Gal 3:15-29; Gal 6:16; Eph 2:11-22; Phil 3:3; 1 Peter 2:9-10; Heb 8:6-13).

As this paragraph shows, I was very eager to reject Dispensationalism. I imagine that in my eagerness to expel the Dispensational bathwater I may have rejected the baby of Premillennialism too quickly. I guess in my mind the concept of a Millennium felt too much like Dispensationalism since it was the only form of Premillennialism I had experienced (Though, of course, I knew full well that Historic Premillennialism existed and along with me repudiated Dispensationalism).

In accepting Covenant Theology, I became afraid about how this would affect my eschatology. I knew that Dispensational Premillenialism was out as an option, but Historic Premillenialism, Postmillennialism, and Amillennialism were still left to study. Initially Historic Premillenialism seemed good because it embraces a posttribulational rapture, and covenant theology. However, my problems further extended into areas of the resurrection, judgment and the end of the age. Historic Premillenialism gave insufficient answers to these questions. How can there be two resurrections? Two judgments? Or a thousand year transitional period before the age to come? Outside of Revelation, I found the NT writers teaching that the resurrection, judgment, and end of the age all happening at Christ’s return. This posed as an incredible problem for any form of Premillenialism. Because of these thoughts, I started to seriously doubt Historic Premillenialism.

At the moment this is still a major hang-up for me. In fact, it is the relationship between Revelation and the rest of the Bible that creates the problem. I am convinced – and I seriously doubt I’d ever change my view on this point – that outside of Revelation the rest of the Bible has a non-Millennial grid. So what’s that bit about the wolf and the lamb co-exisiting together all about? That’s not the Millennium, that’s the new earth! That is the reversal of the curse of creation. Is Paul premillennial? The answer is unequivocally NO. I don’t care what you think about the meaning of εἴτα in 1 Cor 15.24 because 1 Cor 15.25 is quite clear that Jesus is reigning now. At least Paul didn’t foresee a Millennium.

BUT!

As I’ve come to consider, a non-millennial grid in 65 books of the Bible cannot rule out the existence of a Millennium in 1, namely, Revelation. So if I became a Premillennialist – I said IF! – I’d be the kind of Premillennialist that says that the whole Bible anticipates a glorious new earth in which the curse is reversed but from the book of Revelation our knowledge of eschatology is expanded to show that there is an additional transition between the “present age” and the “age to come.”

So I decided to study Amillennialism. I knew that Amillennialism would have a lot of explaining to do for me to accept it… and to my surprise it exceeded all of my expectations. At the outset I determined that unless Amillennialism gave a sufficient answer to my problems then I would turn to Postmillennialism, or embrace a form of eschatological agnosticism. My initial problems with Amillennialism were threefold. How could this present age be the millennial reign of Christ? How could Satan possibly be bound in this age? And How Does the Amillennialist explain the first resurrection mentioned in Revelation 20:5?

Dispensationalists view Revelation 19-20 in a chronological fashion. However, there is good reason to believe that the two chapters describe the same event from different perspectives. The battle described in Rev 19 after the second coming of Christ is one in which Christ destroys the nations in his judgment. Following this incident is the millennial reign of Christ, according to dispensationalists, which is followed by yet another major battle. However, it makes more sense to view these battles as the same event. A few reasons suggest this. One: the battles of Rev 16, 19 and 20 use imagery from the same event described in Ezekiel 38-39. Demonstrating that these major battles are not sequential but recapitulated. Two: If Christ has already judged the nations and destroyed them in Rev 19, where do the nations come from to fight Christ once again in Rev 20 and why would Satan be bound so as to not decieve them? Especially since 19:18-21 describes the completeness of the battle in all-inclusive terms. Three: In revelation there are references to battles in general terms in chapters 9, 11, 12, and 13. Yet, in the last three times a battle is described (16, 19, and 20), a definite article is used in the Greek text. These chapters are the last three times a battle is described and the only time the word battle is used with a definite article in Revelation. Four: Since Rev 15 tells us that 7 bowls will be poured out for the completion of God’s wrath, and because Rev 19:11-21 marks the end of God’s wrath against the world, then Rev 20:7-10 must be recapitulated with the battle of Rev 19. All these reasons were very convincing to me.

As I argued here, Revelation presents a cyclical pattern of recapitulation rather than a chronological order of eschatological events. As I’ve realized, this view is not incompatible with Historic Premillennialism. The main question is whether Rev 20 reverts back to the beginning of the cycle again or if it is chronologically subsequent to Rev 19. This is the main issue actually. At the moment I’m still convinced that the battle of Rev 20.7-10 is the same end-time battle portrayed in Rev 12, 16, and 19. If this is true then the Millennium of Rev 20 refers to the present age (as I and other Amillennialists believe). Yet the major difficulty with this interpretation, as I’ve come to recognize over the years, is that there are other Jewish Apocalyptic texts like 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch that are roughly contemporary with the time that Revelation was written that contain references to a temporal messianic kingdom before the restoration of creation. The pattern parallels Revelation so much that it is difficult to argue that Revelation is actually doing something different in Rev 20, even with recapitulation. As I’ve become more of an aspiring scholar since 2007 my sensitivity to historical arguments like this has grown tremendously. This is not something to brush aside easily and may be the final nail in the coffin for me at some point.

In addition to this point, there are other aspects of my argumentation above that I don’t find compelling anymore. My second reason regarding the presence of nations in Rev 20 when they’ve already been destroyed in Rev 19 is hardly as convincing as it was originally. My third reason about the definite article in Greek is just silly. Lastly, my fourth reason is equally not as convincing. The bowls are symbolic, and this point shouldn’t be pressed so tightly for one’s eschatological system. If God wants to dispense more wrath why can’t he? So basically I’m agnostic about my first argument and find reasons 2, 3, and 4 unconvincing.

Therefore, if the battles of Rev 19 & 20 are recapitulated then the thousand-year reign of Christ is the present age. This would make sense because we are told multiple times that Christ is currently seated at the right hand of the throne of God, indicating that he is reigning, and because Rev 19 describes the judgment that Christ brings at his second coming. The implications of this would mean that Satan is currently bound. This idea isn’t as problematic as it initially sounds. Not only do the NT writers demonstrate this idea generally all throughout their writings with the great spiritual victory that Christ won against the forces of Satan, but also Christ himself had some interesting things to say.

The problem here is that I too quickly dismissed Historic Premillennialism by assuming that Jesus’ present reign could only work with a non-millennial grid. Of course, I knew Historic Premillennialism would say that Jesus reigned presently, but my comments show that I didn’t think the two ideas really fit together. I no longer think there is a difficulty there. And in regards to Satan being bound, I am convinced that the NT consistently portrays demonic forces as subdued, conquered, defeated, destroyed – and yes – even bound, at the present time (Mt 12:22-29; Luke 8:30-31; 10:18-20; 13:16; John 12:31-32; 16:8-11; 17:15; Acts 26.18; Rom 16:20; Col 2.14-15; Eph 4.8; 2 Thess 2.7; Heb 2.14-15; 1 Pet 3.19; 2 Pet 2.4; 1 John 2:13; 3:8; 4:3-5; 5:18; Jude 6; Rev 12.10). So if I ever became a Premillennialist, I’d be the kind that would never bring up Rev 20.3 and the binding of Satan as an argument against Amillennialism.

The last question that I needed answered was the idea of the first resurrection in Rev 20:5. According to Dispensationalists, the first resurrection occurs at the commencement of the millennial reign of Christ, in which believers are resurrected, and the second resurrection occurs at the end of the millennium, in which those who come to Christ during the millennium are resurrected along with the rest of the reprobates. Not only is the idea of two resurrections nowhere to be found in the bible outside of this passage, which ought to indicate something on its own, but there is contextual evidence which should not lead us to believe that the two resurrections are sequential, but of different kinds. Rev 20 contrasts the first resurrection with second death. The second death is not the second sequential death of man, but a different kind of death: a spiritual death. This would seem to make sense for the first resurrection as well, since those who participate in the first resurrection will not face the second death, as Rev 20:6 tells us. Therefore, the first resurrection is not the first set of bodily resurrections followed by another set of bodily resurrections, but is instead a different kind of resurrection. The first being spiritual, the second being bodily. This makes sense when you consider that the thrones mentioned in 20:4 are for those beheaded for their testimony of Christ. These thrones are not earthly, but heavenly. They are for the saints. With this in mind, and the multiple passages in the NT that tell us that the bodily resurrection occurs after Christ’s physical return, it further adds support to such a conclusion.

Again, on the issue of what the Bible teaches, outside of Revelation, there is certainly only one Resurrection (outside of Jesus as the first-fruits). However, if Revelation does teach two resurrections separated by the millennium then this would be an unanticipated expansion of our knowledge of eschatology, but the discontinuity doesn’t automatically nullify it. We believe in a God who has progressively revealed himself. This means that we shouldn’t rule out a priori that Revelation can teach us new things about eschatology (even if I legitimately affirm that the rest of the Bible does not teach those things).

The real difficulty with the argument I tried to make regarding the two kinds of death is the use of the verb ζάω (zao), meaning ‘to live’. The vision in Rev 20.4-6 is certainly of those who have died, but we must play fair with the concept of “coming to life” in Rev 20.4-5. What does John mean when he says “the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended” in Rev 20.5? The “coming to life” of the rest of the dead ought to be analogous to the “coming to life” for those who experience the first resurrection (thus, regeneration or spiritual disembodied existence are ruled out for the first use of ζάω). This seems to be a serious problem with the Amillennial position. On the face of it, a Premillennial interpretation can make better sense of this symbolic language.

Conclusion

In conclusion I should mention a few additional hang-ups:

1) I’ve started to wonder if it is at all possible to separate Amillennialism from the musings of 4th-5th century Augustine of Hippo in The City of God. From his vantage point the Church is no longer in a state of crisis and persecution from Rome, but instead Rome is the Church! I’m wondering if it’s really possible to interpret Revelation with an Amillennial grid before Constantine.

2) When I first became an Amillennialist I had disdain for Premillennialism in a such a way that sounded like Gnosticism. I contrasted the physical types and shadows of the OT with the heavenly/spiritual realities of the NT. Thus, the idea of Jesus reigning of Earth sounded so barbaric to me. However, I began to transform my Amillennialism into one that empasized the new earth more and more. This largely started with reading another great Amillennialist Anthony A. Hoekema (The Bible and The Future). Of course,  N.T. Wright’s famous Surprised By Hope also contributed greatly to my thinking. Both of these writings stem from an Amillennial perspective, but it had the affect of making me realize that I didn’t disdain the concept of an earthly Millennium any longer. Interestingly, back in the 3rd century, Irenaeus wrote his famous Against Heresies that rejected the Gnostic teachings. One of his main arguments against the Gnostics was a biblical theological appraisal of creation that culminated in the Millennium. This is quite interesting to consider. I’m definitely not a Gnostic Amillennialist, I place a lot of emphasis on the new earth. But now the door is wide open for another earthly phase in the process. At least, I have no objection on grounds of it being earthly or physical.

3) I don’t like Premillennialism. I’ll admit it, it sounds very odd when you describe it to people. In light of all of my reflections I’m convinced that the goal of creation is the new earth and not the Millennium. In my opinion, the whole Bible emphasizes the new earth and the new creation. Thus, even if Premillennialism is true, it shouldn’t be central to our eschatological position. Our eschatology should not be defined by our belief in a Millennium or not. The Bible doesn’t emphasize it, so why should we? Our emphasis ought to be the new earth. That is where eschatology is headed. So if I became a Premillennialist, I’d be a closet Premillennialist.

Well… I’m still an Amillennialist. But I’m nowhere near as convinced as I was in 2007. I would appreciate some interaction on this issue as I’m trying to address this question and settle it in my mind. Please leave a comment. I’d love to interact with you about this stuff!

Postscript: I have omitted a few paragraphs of my original 2007 post “How I Became An Amillennialist” along the way. If you’re interested in reading the full blog post, here it isFor those of you familiar with The Two Cities it is obvious that the present project was inspired by Bryan’s brilliant post: “Letter to Myself at 15.”

 

Share This:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone
Categories
Eschatology
John Anthony Dunne

John is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of St Andrews working under Prof. NT Wright.
48 Comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

*

*

  • Kevin C
    6 March 2012 at 12:17 pm

    1.) The way PreMill-Disp treats OT prophecies often baffles me; dicing up Isaiah to say “this part is the Milennium, this part is New Earth, etc.” makes the prophets sound spastic and nearly incoherent.

    2.) 4 Ezra is very intriguing for its continuity and discontinuity with Revelation. Thanks for bringing us along with you in your reflections.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
    Leave a Reply
    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      6 March 2012 at 2:42 pm

      Kevin thanks for your comment, and thanks for reading my dialogue with myself! I agree with you about the way the prophets are spliced. It seems like the overwhelming focus is on the new earth (the prophecies aren’t given in temporal categories). The most difficult for me as an Amillennialist is Isa 65 with the references to men dying at an old age. The best I can do is say that its poetic and reflective of a greater reality. Though Pre-mil peeps may have a better answer there. As for the second point, 4 Ezra is hard to throw away, even with the discontinuity.

      Where do you stand?

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      Leave a Reply
      • Kevin C
        7 March 2012 at 1:44 am

        For a long time (since Biola to this day) I’ve been an “eschatological Marcionite”–cutting out or ignoring eschatological issues to make my belief system more cozy and palatable. But, since last year in my study of the gospels and Acts I see that my eschatology has gotten more realized (I credit David Pao’s “Acts and the Isaianic New Exodus”). It would take a lot to move me to Amill, but I think it is far from nonsense and farther from heresy. I thank God that discussions like these show me how little I know and keep me humble.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
        Leave a Reply
        • John Anthony Dunne
          John Anthony Dunne
          7 March 2012 at 12:16 pm

          ha eschatological Marcionite! That’s fun. Yeah I like your point about “realized.” That’s definitely key. The Kingdom is far more present than most Christians would dare to think.

          VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
          Leave a Reply
          • Mark Mountjoy
            9 June 2013 at 12:17 am

            Dear brother, I used to be an Amillennialist. . .I started as a Premillennialist. Then God showed me how BOTH these views were right and wrong and how the New Testament Christians had some beliefs found in neither view. Please visit my website: Atavist Biblical Church.com and Atavist Bible Christian.com. I would love to correspond and share ideas. I have several articles on problems in Amillennialism, including statements by Riddlebarger and others. God bless.

            VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
            Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • roger
        13 January 2013 at 1:40 am

        I am a premillenialist. And i have to tell you, i have over the last ten years wrestled heavilly with scripture myself. I think though, at least for me, my main focus has never been the millenium. Nor has it been. Heaven. My focusis purely to be with.the one who died for me. The rest is simply the signs along the way.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
        Leave a Reply
      • Alan
        12 June 2013 at 11:17 pm

        Found your blog rather interesting. I haven’t delved too much into eschatology in the years of my faith, realizing that this area of doctrine is one of the foggiest with the greatest number of rabbit trails. I have recently found myself becoming a loose amillenialist because of some excellent teaching on the subject and the obvious teaching through out scripture. The thing that I find interesting at this present time is the vast increase in the Christian population world wide. (I believe that if the world became unusually Christianized, there would be some astounding changes in the entire globe. God has always promised and desires to bless all peoples who turn to Him. With the devil defeated at the cross and the kingdom in our midst should we not expect to see “great and mighty things never before seen? Would be interested in your thoughts on the current “signs of the times.”

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
        Leave a Reply
  • Cliff Kvidahl
    6 March 2012 at 6:05 pm

    John,

    You journey sounds a lot like mine. I was faced with the same sorts of questions. I have likewise come to the conviction that what we know as Amillennialism is the Biblical understanding of eschatology. The grid that I see through is the Already-not-Yet. The death and resurrection of Christ has brought the new creation into this old and fading one, Hence 2 Cor 5: The old passed away behold all is new. The invasion of eternity into time is where we are at, and a Premill understanding does not take into account this understanding. It sees things as two separate things, not as one.

    Cliff

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
    Leave a Reply
    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      6 March 2012 at 8:02 pm

      Cliff,

      Thanks for your comment. Thats interesting to hear that you also had a similar transition. I’d like to hear more about that (perhaps on the blog?). As you can tell, I’m in a state of transition. But the one thing that can be affirmed (apophatically) about me is that I am not a Dispensationalist! : )

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      Leave a Reply
  • Bryan Magana
    Bryan Magana
    7 March 2012 at 1:02 am

    John, it’s nice to see you revisit long-held beliefs with humility and grace. I think you’re wise to check your motives (e.g. Do I subscribe to amillennialism because I despise anything associated with dispensationalism, or because I believe it’s what the Bible teaches?). Also, good point on not discounting other interpretations based on being found only in Revelation. Can you think of other examples where a widespread Christian belief is found in only one book?

    I gravitated toward amillennialism because it fit so beautifully within the overarching story of the Bible. It left me with fewer questions and, for once, eschatology started to make sense. I never really understood a literal thousand-year reign, even as a child. Actually, I’ll go a step further and say I didn’t believe it. Even today I don’t see what purpose it serves, especially if you’re not a dispensationalist.

    I like your idea of keeping the focus on the new earth. I’ve never heard a premillennialist tell me how much they look forward to the millennium, but I’ve heard them yearn for heaven and the new earth. To me, that says something. Whether pre- or a- (or even post-) we all have the same hope.

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
    Leave a Reply
    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      7 March 2012 at 12:17 pm

      Bryan, you’re right! It does fit so well with the Biblical narrative! I completely agree. I’m just stuck on the interpretation of Rev 20 (again). We’ll see where my wanderings take me. But yes, the emphasis will always be the new earth because that it the bible’s emphasis!

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      Leave a Reply
  • JOSEPH
    8 March 2012 at 12:02 am

    John, you made an interesting observation that the whole Bible emphasizes the new earth and the new creation…and that it’s only the book of Revelation where a Millennium is introduced. I haven’t researched, but I wonder. Do you suppose the Millennium was not foreseen and revealed (not emphasized) until Israel’s national rejection of her Messiah? That the Millennium was then revealed as necessary for the national restoration of Israel to fulfill her calling as prescribed in the Tanakh and demonstrate the faithfulness of God to His covenantal promises…before the new earth and the new creation? I’m wondering if everything was heading towards the new earth until the stumbling of national Israel? But now that the stumbling has happened for our (Gentiles) sake (Rom. 11:11, 19, 25), the restoration of national Israel must come before we can move into the program of the new earth and the new creation? Perhaps that is why the Millennium was not emphasized before but is emphasized now, because this is the season of God’s program in which we find ourselves?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
    Leave a Reply
    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      8 March 2012 at 7:49 am

      Hey man, that is an interesting thought. I’ve never heard someone put it that way. But my response would be to say that if that really was the reason for the Millennium I’d wonder why Rev 20.1-10 doesn’t speak at all about Israel or the grafting in of the Gentiles. On its own it is striking for not referring to any biblical prophecies (though it alludes to the Gog and Magog battle of Ezek 38-39 in Rev 20.7-10). That is an interesting thought though. Let me know if you find that helpful for you.

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      Leave a Reply
  • Carrie Allen
    9 March 2012 at 1:30 am

    I love this post for so many reasons. One being that when I opened up my copy of “The Blessed Hope” a Target gift card came flying out. I love hiding things in books.

    Question: If you were to switch over to premillennialism, would you be a historic premillennialist?

    Thought: In response to your second point, I still have trouble with accepting an earthly Millennium. Why? WHY? Why would Jesus do that?

    Thought: In response to point three – YES! A new creation and new earth focus sound so right in comparison to the focus being on the Millennium.

    This is really all I have to contribute because every time I read Revelation 20 I am even more confused. I’m sure you have already done this, but I would be interested in knowing more about the historical movements of all these views in more detail. As most of us know, premillennialism only recently arrived to the scene while amillennialism has been around for thousands of years. The little I do know about the history, it seems that premillennialists put such a huge emphasis on evangelism… maybe taking it to an unhealthy extreme. By this I mean evangelism is their only focus. How does this fit in with reformed theology?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
    • Carolyn Thomas
      13 March 2012 at 12:44 pm

      Hey Carrie,

      The only kind of premillennialist I could be is the historic kind. No question about it.

      You’re right: I can’t answer why! And I can’t think of a good reason for the existence of the millennium!

      As for the point about Historic Premillennialism recently coming onto the scene, actually what is recent is Dispensationalism. There are examples of Premillennialism in the early church (e.g. Irenaeus) and the Reformers refer to the heresies of Chiliasm. So its always been around, and in fact, I think the growth of Amillennialism is directly related to the Church’s rise within the Roman Empire. It seems like millennialism fits the crisis of the first century and Amillennialism is the comfortable reading of Revelation in the Christian Empire. Just some thoughts.

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      Leave a Reply
    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      13 March 2012 at 12:46 pm

      Hey Carrie,

      The only kind of premillennialist I could be is the historic kind. No question about it.

      You’re right: I can’t answer why! And I can’t think of a good reason for the existence of the millennium!

      As for the point about Historic Premillennialism recently coming onto the scene, actually what is recent is Dispensationalism. There are examples of Premillennialism in the early church (e.g. Irenaeus) and the Reformers refer to the heresies of Chiliasm. So its always been around, and in fact, I think the growth of Amillennialism is directly related to the Church’s rise within the Roman Empire. It seems like millennialism fits the crisis of the first century and Amillennialism is the comfortable reading of Revelation in the Christian Empire. Just some thoughts.

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      Leave a Reply
      • Carrie Allen
        14 March 2012 at 4:09 am

        I am so confused about who is commenting me right now… 😉

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
        Leave a Reply
  • Carrie Allen
    14 March 2012 at 4:11 am

    I just some stuff on Acts about the theme of suffering throughout the book… suffering for Christians as the gospel goes out. I wonder where that fits into this conversation…

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
  • Amillenialism and Two Kingdoms: The Decay of History (Part 1) | The Two Cities
    24 March 2012 at 6:48 pm

    […] Amillennialism: Rethinking and Critiquing My Eschatology After Five Years […]

    Leave a Reply
  • MIchael
    6 April 2012 at 1:29 am

    As a disclaimer, I’m a historic premil. In my journey, one of the things I have learned is that most advocates of any position seem to have holes in their thinking (including me). By that I mean that not all amills agree with each other about a range of aspects, ditto for pre and post mil. In other words, just because one writer presents an arguement you disagree with, doesn’t mean that another who has a slightly different take, may make more sense. I liken it to the “once saved always saved arguements,” advocates for security of salvation aren’t always the best expositors of it.

    How clearly was the death and resurrection of the Messiah clearly seen before its advent? It seems to me that the Church only began to grasp this after the fact. I look at passages such as Zech 9:9&14 and conclude that there is a time gap even though it is not explicitly stated particularly when Zech 14 is considered. Likewise, I believe there are references to the millenium outside the NT and even within the NT excluding Revelation. I don’t believe that this is about magically inserting periods of time in, but if Revelation can hiterto make some things clearer that weren’t spelt out clearly before, is that not perfectly acceptable?

    For example, even though the destruction of the beast in Daniel 7 and allowing the rest of the beasts to live for a time, how does that agree with Revelation 19-20? Is it possible?

    A preterist could aruge that 1 Cor 15 with the resurrection of Jesus and resurrection of the believers aren’t really separated with a time period, but it seems clear to us now that there is a separation of quite some considerable time.

    After having considered amil for a long period of time, I cannot accept the wriggling and juggling one must do to make the theory fit. Jesus argued for the deity of the Messiah based on a single letter. He argued for the resurrention of the dead by a single word. In amil, I could only decide which was a physical return based on when it fit my theory and no other reason. Like you said, some people find the idea of an earthly reign repugnant and reject the idea of a literal 1000 years based on that ideology.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
    Leave a Reply
  • Jim Calvert
    11 May 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Could it be that if when we die, we are truly dead and in the grave? But the souls of those who were martyred during Nero’s reign were resurrected to heaven where they await Christ’s return to earth? In that sense, they are alive.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
  • Adelphos
    20 August 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Historic Amillennialism — work it out.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
  • Joel
    10 November 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Found your blog post at random on the net. You have raised good questions, and I think amillennial can’t really be read unless you arrive with some preconceived theological bias.

    There is a website called “Questioning Amillennialism” from a Christian believer in WELS (Wisconsin Synod Lutheran) which is confessionally amillennial, and yet she has somehow rejected the reaching and swum in the opposite direction from you. She wrote this website back in 2000, so it has been quite a while, and hopefully you will read this website with an open heart:

    “Questioning Amillennialism: One Lutheran Woman’s Search For Truth”

    http://www.geocities.ws/questioningamillennialism/index.htm

    ———————–

    In particular, on this page

    http://www.geocities.ws/questioningamillennialism/index-1.htm

    Part 1. The conversion of the Jews

    Of all the various aspects of amillennialism, the conversion of the Jews (or lack thereof) is the one that gets me the most. The Bible says there will be a conversion of the Jews. A good portion of the Old Testament is devoted to that subject. The entire book of Hosea is about it. And, if that’s not clear enough, Paul uses Romans 9, 10 & 11 to really drive the point home. To proclaim the exact opposite seems very odd to me.

    What I strongly recommend if you haven’t done it yet, is to just get out your Bible and read it. Yes, the whole thing – cover to cover. With no pastors or commentaries or ANYONE to tell you what it means except the Holy Spirit. Pray before you begin for understanding. Pray as you read. When you come to a section you don’t understand, pray diligently for God to explain it to you. Three chapters a day will get you through in less than a year. Some people have read it in six weeks. You will get discouraged and want to stop. Do you think Satan actually wants you to read the whole thing? Ask God to make him go away and leave you alone. And KEEP READING.

    Ignore the Bible version controversies on your first run through and just pick one that you will actually read. Then, you decide. Is God done with the Jews?

    “Qus: You are consistently using the Old Testament to interpret the New Testament.

    Ans: I don’t think I am. I’m showing that the Old Testament and the New Testament agree. I guess I don’t understand the idea of not looking at the Old Testament in the same way as we look at the New Testament. Ultimately, there is only one author. He doesn’t change, and He says things like, “Will I say a thing and not bring it to pass?”

    When the Bereans searched the Scriptures, what were they reading? The Old Testament. The Bible doesn’t say they were a bunch of scholars. Chances are, they were common people like me. If what Paul had to say REALLY changed the meaning of those Scriptures, were they such an easy sell? Is it possible that some of these things required little explanation because they DIDN’T change the meaning of the Old Testament Scriptures?

    Think about it. How much discussion is given in the New Testament to the proper understanding of the law? Quite a lot – and that doesn’t contradict anything in the Old Testament. Yet, our entire understanding of Old Testament prophecy is supposed to change based on a verse here and there. One verse in Romans changes the entire meaning of Hosea. A mention in Acts changes the understanding of Amos. Truly – were those first century, regular people, such an easy sell? Or, is it possible that the New Testament writers were not changing the understanding but simply reminding people of what they already knew?”

    ——————————–

    And more here:

    http://www.geocities.ws/questioningamillennialism/index-2.htm

    Part 2 – The restoration of Israel and earthly reign of Messiah

    …It is certainly true that by the time that Jesus was born, the Jewish rabbinical writings were filled with apocalyptic & millennial (literally 1000 years) expectations. That’s not remotely scripture, of course. I’m just saying that that was the mood and expectation of the people of the time. Even that WELS book, Eschatological Prophecies and Current Misinterpretations mentions that that was the case.

    Now, consider this. If the people of the time expected Messiah to come and literally reign for 1,000 years – the Sabbath rest – the seventh day – the “last” day, and along comes John and says that believers are going to reign with Christ for 1,000 years – WHY would/should those same people interpret that symbolically? And, for today’s people, why would a regular person reading and simply believing the Bible, come to an allegorical (different) understanding of what seems to be some very plain words? If there wasn’t someone else around saying “this really means THIS” and all that person had was the Bible itself to go on, why would that person think anything different than what it actually SAYS?

    Rev 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
    Rev 20:2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
    Rev 20:3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
    Rev 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
    Rev 20:5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.
    Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

    If the expectation that Messiah would reign from Jerusalem for 1,000 years was incorrect, why would God, through John, have written something that reinforced that belief? And, why would God expect me, a regular person, to understand that He really meant something other than what He said?

    That leads me to ask a another question. I keep hearing that the only place in the whole Bible that even begins to talk about a millennial reign is Revelation 20. Since the Jews had no access to Revelation (it hadn’t been written yet) and wouldn’t have read it even if they had, how did they come up with the idea of a thousand year reign of the Messiah?

    Perhaps the Sabbath is one place they got the idea. The Bible speaks of the Sabbath being a shadow of things to come. With that in mind, I find the combination of these verses interesting:

    Hbr 4:9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

    2Peter 3:8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

    You’ll remember that the Epistle of Barnabus said something similar.

    When the Bible says things like “on earth” and “reign for a thousand years,” I’m ready to nod my head and say, OK. You’ll see more of how things fit together (in my mind) as you read the remaining sections. I’m going to end this by letting the Lutheran theologians have the last word. I won’t interrupt it unless I can’t stand it. As you read it, please remember one thing, though. You can take a verse here and there and make almost any argument sound really good. This is not to say that they are wrong, but for example, one short quote of Hosea in the Book of Romans is supposed to show that all of Hosea has been fulfilled. In order for the following argument to be completely true, I believe that nearly 25% of the Bible needs to mean something other than the plain words. I’m definitely not saying that there isn’t truth in the following. But do they really have it all figured out? You’ve read a little of the OT prophecies here, maybe enough to grasp that they all fit together. At some point, you need to read it all. Please, somehow, make time to read the whole Bible for yourself. Not a verse here and there – the whole thing.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
    • Jack Harper
      14 November 2013 at 10:15 am

      Hello Joel, found your post interesting. You are surely passionate about the millennium. You stated that we should read the whole bible on the subject of Eschatology: which is a good practice,viz., let scripture interpret scripture. However, Eschatology is only one part of the whole and it doesn’t matter if some first century people expected the Messiah to rain for a literal thousand years, history has shown that they were wrong in their understanding as I suspect you are. That said, I appreciate the complexity of this subject and wrestle with the same things as our host. The only for sure thing we can agree on is that Jesus will come again, but until then we will agree to disagree, agreeably.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
      Leave a Reply
  • Doug A
    21 January 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I am a premilinist posttribber my understanding is the battle of Armageddon is not the ending of all nations not the final battle
    It will be the largest one ever seen before
    For Christians the devil was bound at calvery he can’t touch us he can try but God is greater
    For non Christians he has full reign over
    The milinial kingdom when the devil is physically bound from affecting all humans and Jesus rules over the world at the end of that the devil is loosed and again convinces people to turn against Christ those people have no chance of salvation
    Just my opinion on reading revelation

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
  • Christopher Heidt
    29 January 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I have been travelling the road that you did 5 years ago. I’ve been becoming convinced of Reformed theology as I’ve seen my dispensational ideas not holding up under biblical scrutiny. Because of that, I have seriously been researching amillenialism, as I’ve realized that pretrib dispensationalism is mainly caused by the belief that God has 2 peoples: Israel and the Church. Anywho, I’ve been listening to Kim Riddlebarger’s lectures on amillenialism (that come from the book by him that you read, the web address is http://christreformedinfo.org/mp3s-and-real-audio-of-academy/), and am becoming more and more convinced of the truth of it. It has been difficult to be honest enough to admit that I don’t know it all (perfectionist that I am!), and that I have much to learn that will definitely fill my lifetime, but I also have found buried within me that old hunger for God’s truth that I don’t remember having since I was regenerated! All this to say, that you have a brother walking down the same path with you. Thank you for your thoughts :)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
    Leave a Reply
    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      29 January 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Cheers Christopher! You might actually hear me on one or two of those podcasts from Riddlebarger since I sat in on many of those and asked questions during the Q&A : )

      All I can say is that I’m glad you’re leaving your dispensationalism behind. It has so many associated problems – such as a quasi-Gnosticism – that it really needs to be curbed. Be careful though, that you don’t fall into a Reformed version of Gnosticism. I found this happening in myself. And ironically enough, it was an Amillennial book – A. Hoekema’s The Bible and the Future – that planted the seeds of New Earth eschatology that would ultimately lead me to question Amillennialism as I’ve outlined here. Keep studying and blessings on the journey!

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      Leave a Reply
  • Yvonne
    27 February 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I am historic premillennial at the moment, though I do believe there is yet a particular aspect of eschatology regarding Israel which is yet to be fulfilled. Israel was promised the inheritance of actual land which has never been possessed as yet.
    Have you considered Isaiah 24: 21-23 in relation to Revelation 20?

    In that day the Lord will punish
    the powers in the heavens above
    and the kings on the earth below.
    22 They will be herded together
    like prisoners bound in a dungeon;
    they will be shut up in prison
    and be punished[a] after many days.
    23 The moon will be dismayed,
    the sun ashamed;
    for the Lord Almighty will reign
    on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
    and before its elders—with great glory.

    The text seems to refer to powers in the heavens above being shut up (reminds me of the binding of Satan) and then being released after ‘many days’ which comports with the statements in Revelation 20 that Satan will be released after the millennium. Obscure, I know, but the Isaiah text is right after a description of what seems to be the day of the Lord.

    God bless!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
    Leave a Reply
    • Matthew Abate
      4 July 2013 at 11:55 am

      @Yvonne — Like you, I adhere to historic premillennialism, and I’m glad that you shared the verse out Isaiah 24:21-23. Robert Duncan Culver makes mention of this Old Testament passage in his commentary on Revelation. Culver says that the premillennial view is the only one that makes sense out of Isaiah’s obscure passage. By the way, the great 18th Century Baptist preacher, John Gill, interprets the Isaiah passage in light of Revelation 20 in his commentary on the whole bible.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      Leave a Reply
  • Mark Hutzler
    7 March 2013 at 2:30 am

    Hi. Very interesting and well communicated thoughts. I am not sure how to categorize myself, but I am sure I am not an amil. I have been working for years on a comprehensive historical timeline of bible history. Now, faced with capping it with an ending, I feel I should display several considerations. This present link will be modified to display Pre-Mil, Post-Mil and Amil. I am looking for some intelligent feedback on this chart. Would you consider looking at a PDF I could send which displays the final section that needs some council?

    This current version will be updated to show all three theories.
    http://prezi.com/wn2bxiwq4tsn/the-reckoning-of-time/

    I can email the PDF for your closer look at how I have displayed the three primary considerations if you would like to contact me.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
  • Mark Hutzler
    7 March 2013 at 2:30 am

    Hi. Very interesting and well communicated thoughts. I am not sure how to categorize myself, but I am sure I am not an amil. I have been working for years on a comprehensive historical timeline of bible history. Now, faced with capping it with an ending, I feel I should display several considerations. This present link will be modified to display Pre-Mil, Post-Mil and Amil. I am looking for some intelligent feedback on this chart.

    This current version will be updated to show all three theories.
    http://prezi.com/wn2bxiwq4tsn/the-reckoning-of-time/

    I can email the PDF for your closer look at how I have displayed the three primary considerations if you would like to contact me.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
    • Ron S
      14 March 2013 at 11:57 am

      I found this site while searching about amil and am enjoying the discussions. Just got G K Beale’s Revelation book – more for the OT references than anything else. I suppose I’m in the post-trib premillennial group (and don’t we all have a story…) but I’m more interested in engaging the text than arguing a position.

      I have a question and hope someone here could answer: does the text in Rev 20:10 emphasize that Satan is thrown… where the beast and the false prophet HAD BEEN THROWN (note the verb tense). The NIV seems to point this out more than some versions. Would this indicate that a previous judgement had already been completed on these two and that this is an additional judgement? Wouldn’t all three be judged at the same time? I can see many of the amil arguments but this Greek verb is bothering me.

      And someone posted about why God would want this Millennium anyway. I can go on living without there being such a thing but I often think that God will finally have worked through most every possible human living condition and humanity will still reject Him. God with innocent humanity in the Garden, Under Law, Under Grace and finally (in the Mill) God and both glorified and unglorified humanity. And STILL people will reject Him. Rom 11:32. Just a thought.

      Rev 20:10 (NIV)
      And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      Leave a Reply
      • John Anthony Dunne
        John Anthony Dunne
        14 March 2013 at 1:27 pm

        Ron S, thanks for reading and commenting. As for the verse, the key verb “had been thrown” is not present. The Greek omits the verb and woodenly the verse would be rendered: “where also the beast and the false prophet,” without a verb. So it is probably implied that “had been thrown” should be there, but it is not conclusive. Without looking at the secondary literature or the english translations, my guess is that most interpreters would favor the narratival flow of the passage and insert a perfect passive form of βάλλω (ballo, ‘to throw’).

        VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
        Leave a Reply
  • Frances
    15 March 2013 at 8:49 am

    I came to a point in a whacko small fellowship we were in of making a decision about amill, pre mill or post mill. I decided to let God alone speak through his word. I started reading the New Testament to see what it had to say. Guess what? There’s only one resurrection and it looks pretty clear we are in the kingdom now with a perfect one to come in which no sin, death, sea sun or moon will exist.God and the lamb are the light thereof. End of story. So now I’m an Amillenialist and continue to study Gods word on this letting clear scriptures interpret the unclear. Also applying Gods fulfilled promises to the Church/New Israel makes all the sense in the world. We literally fulfill every promise to Israel there is and when I say Israel I mean all the Christian nations of the world. By the way Western Christendom and its sister nations are redeemed Israel ( the dispersion was throughout the entire Greek speaking world.)Amill rules! Praise the Lord!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
  • Matthew Abate
    27 April 2013 at 12:45 am

    This blogpost is very refreshing. I feel set free to share my own journey. I no longer embrace dispensational premillennialism, but I haven’t abandoned premillennialism. In some ways, I could’ve walked away entirely from the premil camp had I not stumbled upon the writings of Charles Spurgeon, S.P. Tregelles, B.W. Newton, & J.C. Ryle.

    Eighteen months ago, I seriously considered the amill stream. This system appeared to handle certain biblical texts and the overall arch much more organically than dispensationalism. One of the things that kept gnawing at me about the amill position is it seemed too tidy, too neat. Dispensationalism has that problem, too, but then it doesnt know when to quit as it attempts to answer or catalogue every mystery of prophecy. When all is said and done, the mystery is gone.

    My discovery of the historic premill stream has been very recent. I’d say over the last year. Historic premill seems to be relegated to select seminaries and specific scholars and pastors. This leads to this view being unknown or remaining on the fringes of theological discussion. I find historic premillennialism energizing my study time, and I no longer view the amill and postmill camps in the same way.

    Lastly, I think Romans 11 makes a good case for premillennialism. Paul writes that the the glory of the tree with the wild branches (church age) is something to behold, yet he says that the glory will be even greater once the natural branches have been grafted back into the tree (millennial splendor prior to the eternal state?). All in all, I’m seeing the importance of holding loosely my views on eschatology.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      28 April 2013 at 2:43 am

      Thanks for your comments Matthew

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      Leave a Reply
  • Daniel Keck
    29 January 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Over the past few years I must admit that I have given too much attention to the varying viewpoints of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. To my conclusion, Satan has been having his way with this debate for way too long, ALL to his credit. For God is not the author of confusion, so says the scriptures. Even so, our separated community of churches are defined largely in due part to their accepted doctrine in which they boldly pronounce and hold to their views on eschatology. I still have yet to find how this debate will ever unite God’s people, and I certainly don’t believe such was written as to divide or determine the saints. To no discredit of God’s holy word, no where in the bible do I find that a Christian’s duty be in discovering all of God’s plan in it’s entirety. Yet in order to draw conclusions to such, it seems that this Godly knowledge would be a requirement. If a man called by God with a heavenly ordination to preach the gospel can no longer set foot behind the pulpit of certain places because he does not meet all the criteria of their doctrine, to whom is the loss? The only peace that I can find in all this is knowing that our adversary cannot divide us brothers and sisters in Christ anymore beyond this world. My prayer is that we stop allowing the devil this temporary divide in our time while here on this earth. Let us set our eyes upon the Lord as he so desires, and nothing more. In that alone I believe we can all be fully satisfied.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)
    Leave a Reply
    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      29 January 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Daniel, you are assuming that there is only a divisive way to discuss these issues. That would be a false assumption. And what if we applied your comments to other issues that can be divisive? Do we just give up? Or can we have meaningful and fruitful discussions? And can we disagree as siblings in Christ? Surely. You will never find another Christian that agrees with you on every single thing. Are you Calvinist or Arminian? Are you Charismatic or Cessationist? Are you a Young Earth or Old Earth Creationist, or a Theistic Evolutionist? Are you a Paedobaptist or a Credobaptist? Are you a Pacifist or do you believe in Just War? The point is that you cannot pick on eschatology, nor can you suggest that we should avoid the tensions altogether. We want to affirm a Christian unity and charity, but if we never came to decisions on these tough issues, we would have a very mushy Christianity. To run away from those who you disagree with is wrong, but to run away from disagreement itself is worse.

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
      Leave a Reply
      • Daniel Keck
        29 January 2014 at 6:56 pm

        John, I may be wrong but it is through my understanding and experience that dealing with, discussing, and deciding on these issues doesn’t happen without establishing or overcoming STRONG personal convictions. So strong that many Christians have become so overwhelmed with their convictions that they see anyone else other than those who share the same opinion as themselves as false teachers. More often times than not, these convictions are rooted in what was taught us,and not derived from a heart desiring, soul seeking search for God’s truth. To me, the division lies therein; the ability for one to discern the difference between God’s truth and one’s personal conviction. God is all knowing, all mighty, all just, and all sovereign. In order for me to truly believe that, I must come to acceptance with the fact that only God’s infinite wisdom can know all things without error. Certainly there are aspects to any viewpoint that may not be accurate. I think we all can agree to that. But if we know that, does that leave us with enough confidence to continue teaching or adopting them in their entirety? Certainly Jesus will return. Certainly Jesus saves. Certainly Satan has been defeated. I will not move from that. I believe that to be God’s truth and therefore am convicted by it. I find my walk with the Lord much more satisfying when I carry these convictions alone. There’s nothing mushy to me at all in those things by themselves. With all due respect, I am not trying to knock anyone. That in itself would be divisive. I just think that some rocks are better left unturned. What I do know is very little. As for the things I’m unsure of, I try to hide them under the shadow of the one that does. Until God gives me the knowledge to know otherwise, I will leave those things to him.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
        Leave a Reply
  • From Premillennialism to Amillennialism And Back: An Eschatological Change of Mind | The Two Cities
    11 February 2014 at 7:28 am

    […] two years ago I wrote a post entitled, “Amillennialism: Rethinking and Critiquing my Eschatology After Five Years.” In that post I analyzed an earlier blog post I wrote back in 2007 called, “How I […]

    Leave a Reply
  • Charles E. Miller, BA, MAR
    15 February 2014 at 11:41 pm

    I am a former Southern Baptist Deacon and currently belong to the United Methodist Church. I was a pretribulational premillennialist; however, I no longer hold Darby’s view. I would say that I am an non-millennialist in the tradition of RVG Tasker, MA, BD, DD. Dr. Tasker was an editor of the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. I also agree with Southern Baptist Dr. Ray Summers, who was an amillennialist. In my opinion, the millennium is symbolic of the Church Age. It began with the resurrection of Jesus and will end when he returns. When will the Lord return, only the Father knows.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
  • steve griff
    21 February 2014 at 5:26 pm

    This site/blog is very useful (to me at least). For over 20 years I was a pre-millenialist, pre-tribber without really knowing it! It was on one particular evening while reading and discussing Revelation that I for some reason became alarmed/alerted to aspects of Christ’s return, 7 so called years, 1000 years etc. I then came across a debate involving Sam Storm and two other guys (John Piper was the chair – taking a neutral stance for the purpose of his role); I subsequently purchased Sam Storm’s book ‘Kingdom Come’ – I’m still reading this but have been increasingly persuaded with his ‘arguments’/exegesis e.g. re his references to Daniel and the Kingdoms – which in turn support the argument that there was never a promise for an eternal ‘special’ place for the land of Israel (this simple summary comment of mine seriously sells Sam Storm’s commentary very short).

    So, have any of you guys read Sam Storm’s arguments/teachings?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      22 February 2014 at 6:22 pm

      Steve,

      So glad to hear that our blog has been helpful for you. Thanks for your comment. I haven’t read Storm’s book but I am familiar with it (and I watched most of the debate you referenced). I’m sure he provides an excellent defense of the Amillennial position.

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      Leave a Reply
  • Charles E. Miller, BA, MAR
    24 February 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I am an amillennial Methodist and a former premillennial Southern Baptist deacon. In my opinion, the premillennialists are too predictive about the future and disappoint many who are trying to understand God’s Holy Word. The millennium began at the first coming of our Lord and will end when he returns to establish the messianic kingdom in the form of a new heaven and new earth. As Galatians 6:16 states that the New Israel of God is the Church. This does not mean that Christians should mistreat Jews. Christianity was once part of the Jewish faith. We should be kind to them and pray that they will accept Messiah Jesus one day. Dr. Ray Summers of the Southern Baptist Convention and RVG Tasker, DD of London University are my favorite theologians. In my opinion, Domitian, emperor of Rome, was the Anti-Christ. He did call himself Dominus et Deus, which means Lord and God in English. May all be blessed by the study of God’s Word.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
  • Steve Bartholomew
    2 June 2014 at 2:46 pm

    John Dunne … I believe that amillennialism is definitely wrong, and I believe that I can present a very strong defense of this claim. If you are interested in seeing it, I will send it to you. I can send it as an attached email file.

    I didn’t read every post on this blog, but I read enough to suspect that some important points were overlooked.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
  • Muzi
    9 October 2014 at 10:11 am

    Here’s a further challenge:

    I would like to find out from you if you have considered a proposition that there are two separate fires on judgement day. Firstly, there is a fire that destroys (kills) the ungodly who are alive at Christ’s return (2 Thes 1:5-8; Heb 10:26-31; 2 Pet 3:7; Mal 4:1-5; Zeph 1:14-18, 3:8; Isa 66:15-16, 2:12-21; Jud 7, 14-16; Rev 14:9-11, 19:11-21, 20:7-9; Matt 13:41-42, 47-50, 3:12; etc). All the ungodly are killed at Christ’s return; only the godly remain alive (2 Thes 1:7) to be transformed into resurrection/spiritual bodies (1 Cor 15:52, 1 Thes 4:16-17).

    Secondly, there is a lake of fire into which unbelievers are thrown after the resurrection and the judgement of all the dead (Rev 20:12-15; Matt 25:41, 46; Dan 12:2), including those killed by the first fire. The first fire is Gehenna (hell). Gehenna is never used to refer to the lake of fire, the second fire. I find your observation that, regarding the destruction (killing) of the ungodly, neither “forever”, “unquenchable” or “eternal” mean “unending” quite helpful. They are subsequently killed. Where it speaks of varying degrees of suffering on judgment day, apparently based on the extent of wickedness, the judged are brought to Hades (Matt 11:20-24), not to the lake of fire; they are killed (Hades, the place of the dead, is not to be confused with Gehenna (hell) as is common). These are things that happen to the ungodly who are alive at the time of Christ’s return. Both Christ (Matt 24:42-51, 25:1-13; Luk 12:35-48, 21:28-31, 34-36) and the apostles (Jas 5:7-8; Heb 10:26, 37-38; 1 Thes 5:1-11; Rom 13:11-13; Rev 3:2-3, 16:15; 2 Pet 3:10-11) addressed their audiences as though they’d still be alive at Christ’s return… they had to be awake/watchful for the return (applies whether one is pre-/mid-/post-trib). The judgment events are probably longer than one day, factoring in

    There is one resurrection of dead, for both believers and unbelievers (Acts 24:15; Joh 5:28-29). The involvement of the Book of Life at final judgement points to the presence of believers among resurrected, with those whose names are not found in the Book of Life (unbelievers) being thrown into the lake of fire. None of the eschatological passages indicate whether the transformation is before or after the judgment, but it is certainly after the resurrection (1 Cor 15:52, 1 Thes 4:16-17).

    “Weeping and gnashing of teeth” in Matt 13:41-42, 49-50 indicate that the phrase refers to severe suffering as the ungodly in the fiery furnace (hell).

    Blessings

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
  • Muzi
    9 October 2014 at 10:23 am

    Here’s a further challenge:

    I would like to find out from you if you have considered a proposition that there are two separate fires on judgement day. Firstly, there is a fire that destroys (kills) the ungodly who are alive at Christ’s return (2 Thes 1:5-8; Heb 10:26-31; 2 Pet 3:7; Mal 4:1-5; Zeph 1:14-18, 3:8; Isa 66:15-16, 2:12-21; Jud 7, 14-16; Rev 14:9-11, 19:11-21, 20:7-9; Matt 13:41-42, 47-50, 3:12; etc). All the ungodly are killed at Christ’s return (Rev 19:21); only the godly remain alive (2 Thes 1:7) to be transformed into resurrection/spiritual bodies (1 Cor 15:52, 1 Thes 4:16-17).

    Secondly, there is a lake of fire into which unbelievers are thrown after the resurrection and the judgement of all the dead (Rev 20:12-15; Matt 25:41, 46; Dan 12:2), including those killed by the first fire. The first fire is Gehenna (hell). Gehenna is never used to refer to the lake of fire, the second fire. Evangelical annihilationists have correctly that, regarding the destruction (killing) of the ungodly (first fire), neither “forever”, “unquenchable” or “eternal” mean “unending” (However, I don’t agree with their annihilationism). The ungodly subsequently killed by the first fire after suffering to various degrees. Where it speaks of varying degrees of suffering on judgment day, apparently based on the extent of wickedness, the judged are brought to Hades (Matt 11:20-24), not to the lake of fire (which comes after ressurection and judgment); they are killed (Hades, the place of the dead, is not to be confused with Gehenna (hell) as is common). These are things that happen to the ungodly who are alive at the time of Christ’s return. Both Christ (Matt 24:42-51, 25:1-13; Luk 12:35-48, 21:28-31, 34-36) and the apostles (Jas 5:7-8; Heb 10:26, 37-38; 1 Thes 5:1-11; Rom 13:11-13; Rev 3:2-3, 16:15; 2 Pet 3:10-11) addressed their audiences as though they’d still be alive at Christ’s return… they had to be awake/watchful for the return (applies whether one is pre-/mid-/post-trib).

    There is one resurrection of the dead, for both believers and unbelievers (Acts 24:15; Joh 5:28-29). The involvement of the Book of Life at final judgement points to the presence of believers among resurrected, with those whose names are not found in the Book of Life (unbelievers) being thrown into the lake of fire. None of the eschatological passages indicate whether the transformation is before or after the judgment, but it is certainly after the resurrection (1 Cor 15:52, 1 Thes 4:16-17).

    “Weeping and gnashing of teeth” in Matt 13:41-42, 49-50 indicate that the phrase refers to severe suffering as the ungodly in the fiery furnace (hell).

    Blessings

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
  • Peggy Marshall
    26 May 2015 at 6:07 pm

    I wonder how Satan could be “bound” at this time as evil and the spirit of antichrist seem to be gaining influence in our world as we near the end of the church age.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    Leave a Reply
  • Related Posts