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Premillennialism

Premillennialism (chiliasm) is the teaching that the personal, visible return of Christ will take place 1000 years before the end of the world. It teaches that apostasy and wickedness will increase and result in the final revelation of Antichrist. At that time a period of severe persecution (the great tribulation of Matt. 24:21) for the church will begin. This reign of Antichrist and period of persecution, which ends with the coming of Christ who will raise His saints, translate those who are still living, judge them, remove the curse from the earth, and establish an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem, which will last 1000 years.

That kingdom will be the result of a mass conversion of the Jews who will be restored to their own land. They, along with the Gentile Christians, will make up the kingdom of Christ, though the Jews will have the priority. That kingdom will be characterized by righteousness, peace and prosperity here on earth and will last exactly 1000 years. At the end of this period of Christ’s earthly rule, the rest of the dead will be raised and the last judgment and the creation of the new heavens and earth will follow.

Some of these views of premillennialism are very strange. For one thing, the citizens of the millennial kingdom will be a mixture of those who have been raised and glorified and those who have not, who will still be their earthly bodies (cf. I Cor. 15:50). For another thing, they believe that this kingdom will be on an earth from which the curse has been removed, but which is not yet delivered completely from sin, death and sickness. On that earth the resurrected saints will live along with those who are still subject to sin and death.

There are, however, more important objections to this teaching:

(1) Scripture contradicts the teaching that the coming of Christ precedes the end of the world by 1000 years. Rather Scripture teaches that Christ’s coming is simultaneous with the end of this present world (I Cor. 15:23-24); with the creation of the new heavens and earth (II Pet. 3:4-13); with the resurrection of all the dead (Rev. 20:12-15); and the last judgment (Jude 6-7, 14-15; Matt. 24:37-41; Lk. 17:28-37 – cf. also some of our earlier editions).

(2) Scripture does not teach more than one resurrection and judgment (Jn. 5:25-29) nor a resurrection and judgment that precede the end of the world by 1000 years (Jn. 6:39, 40, 44, 45; 11:24; I Cor. 15:51-52 – note the emphasis on “last” – cf. also earlier editions).

(3) Scripture teaches the very opposite of an earthly kingdom, i.e., that the kingdom is heavenly (Jn 18:36; Heb. 12:22-29, esp. vs. 22, 23, 28).

(4) Also, Scripture teaches that Christ’s kingdom is everlasting, not just 1000 years (Dan. 4:4, 34; 7:27; II Pet. 1:11 – cf. also earlier editions).

(5) Nor does Scripture teach that “Jew” only ever refers to the physical descendants of Abraham. Indeed, it makes clear that all believers, Jews and Gentiles alike, are Jews or Israel in God’s sight (Rom. 2:28-29; Gal. 3:29; Phil. 3:3 – cf. also earlier editions of this paper). Israel is the church (Acts 7:38) and the church is Israel (Heb. 12:22-23).

For these reasons especially we reject premillennial teaching.