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(Sept. 2005 Biblical Insights)
By Jim Ward

Jesus may come at anytime –
in this generation or in one many centuries later.

The words on the rotted, wooden sign were barely discernable. Both it and the freshly painted, metal replacement bore the message, “Jesus is coming soon.” I chuckled at the irony. That was 1968, and I suppose the metal sign is still standing, if it hasn’t rusted through or been replaced.

The warning on the signs was a premillennial message. This doctrine teaches that the second coming of Jesus will occur before (pre) he sets up a one thousand year (millennial) kingdom on the earth. That sounds harmless on the surface, but it isn’t. Brother Connie Adams wrote that premillennialism is “not a single error, but a vast maze of it” (tract: Premillennialism – True or False?) The gravity of this doctrine will become apparent as we take note of its major points and draw some conclusions from them.

# Because the Jews rejected Jesus, the kingdom prophecies were postponed and will be fulfilled at the second coming of Jesus.
#The church is not the kingdom which was prophesied in the Old Testament, but was set up as an interim measure until Jesus comes again.
# Before his coming the Jews will be restored to Palestine.
# We are in the “last days,” and Christ will probably come in our lifetime.
# Then he will raise all dead saints (resurrection number one), change the living ones, and rapture them both for seven years.
# On earth, concurrent with the rapture, the Antichrist, leader of the revived Roman Empire, will befriend the Jews, but after three and one-half years will turn again them in the Great Tribulation (Revelation 4-19 covers this).
# This tribulation will climax in the battle of Armageddon, as Chris and his saints descend to earth and destroy a great army led by the Antichrist.
# Jews then living will be converted by the mere sight of Jesus.
# Then comes the resurrection of Jewish saints who died in the tribulation (resurrection number two).
# The “Sheep and Goat Judgment” will decide which nations can enjoy the millennial kingdom, depending on how they treated the Jews in the tribulation (based on Matthew 25).
# Christ will then establish a world-wide kingdom with Jerusalem as capital; Jews will predominate, with Gentiles being subservient to them.
# The Jewish temple, priesthood, rituals, sacrifices, feasts, and fasts will be reinstated.
# Satan will be bound, and sin, though existing, will be held in check by the “rod of iron” rule of Christ.
# At the close of the millennium, Satan will be loosed, and a violent outbreak of wickedness will occur, but the wicked will be destroyed with fire from heaven.
# The wicked dead will be raised (resurrection number three), judged, and cast into the lake of fire with Satan and his angels.
# The redeemed will live eternally in heaven.

Logical Consequences

Clearly, this doctrine is far from innocent. Our brief sketch of it reveals a vast web of error which reflects on the very nature of God, his Son, the Holy Spirit, and their work.

Defamation of God: God promised that his kingdom would come during the time of the Roman Empire (Dan. 2), and in the “fullness of the time” he sent his Son (Gal. 4:4). If God couldn’t establish the kingdom because the Jews rejected Christ, we have three options. 1) If he didn’t foresee the Jewish rejection, he is not all knowing. 2) If he foresaw the Jewish rejection but didn’t have the power to override it, he is not all powerful. If he promised the kingdom, knowing that the Jews would reject Jesus and that he didn’t have the power to override them, then he lied. One final problem: if God couldn’t keep his promise to establish the kingdom at the first coming of Jesus, how do we know he can do it at the second?

Defamation of Jesus: Premillennialism dethrones Jesus and robs him of his kingdom (but consider Acts 2:33-36; Heb. 8:1; 1 Cor. 15:24-25; Col. 1:13). It nullifies his priesthood (but consider Zech. 6:12-13; Heb. 4:14; Heb. 7: 8:1). It makes his kingdom earthly (but consider John 18:36). Since Jesus taught that the time was fulfilled and the kingdom was at hand (Mark 1:14-15), he either erred in knowledge or he lied. Finally, his eternal priesthood and once-for-all sacrifice must give way to a reinstatement of the Aaronic priesthood and sacrifices.

Defamation of the Holy Spirit: If premillennialism is true, he came at the wrong time (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:16-17). He helped Jesus perform miracles at the wrong time, or Jesus erred about the miracles indicating that the kingdom had come (Matt. 12:28).

Defamation of the church: Premillennialism says the church was never prophesied and makes it an afterthought. What a denigration of the blood-bought body of Christ. But Paul said that it is part of God’s eternal plan (Eph. 3:10-11). Again, either God is not omniscient or he deceived us.

Because Jesus may come at any time (Matt. 25:13), he may indeed come soon, but such a coincidence would not vindicate the tangled errors of premillenialism.

Jim Ward

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